2 people on the roof of a manufacturing site looking at their solar PV

Traditionally characterised by substantial energy demands and considerable contributions to global carbon emissions, the manufacturing industry is increasingly compelled to transition towards more sustainable operations.

This arises from regulatory mandates and a strategic necessity to align with the shifting priorities of stakeholders who now place a high priority on environmental stewardship. Solar PV offers a pathway for manufacturers to reduce their dependence on conventional fossil fuels, thereby lowering energy expenditures and reducing their carbon footprint.

 

Perceived Barriers to Adoption

One of the perceived barriers has been the necessity for additional land acquisitions to accommodate solar installations. However, this perspective overlooks opportunities available for installing systems without the need for extensive, new land use. For instance, many manufacturing sites have a large amount of square footage of unused rooftops, which completely mitigates the issue of needing to acquire new land altogether.

Once in place, solar PV systems offer manufacturers a significant advantage by enabling them to offset some of their energy costs through the generation of their own electricity. With energy being one of the key expenses in the manufacturing industry, this capability to produce power on-site directly impacts the operational costs associated with product production. The ability to generate electricity locally provides a buffer against the volatility of energy prices, ensuring a degree of financial stability and predictability in energy expenditure.

Historically, a major deterrent for organisations considering the adoption of solar PV solutions has been the long payback periods associated with these systems. This initial price, coupled with the time taken to realise savings on energy costs, has been a significant barrier to entry. However, rising energy costs, paired with a reduction in the costs associated with solar PV systems, have contributed to a decrease in payback periods and making the option of solar energy more economically viable than before.

To further mitigate the challenge of long payback periods, manufacturers can explore various financing models and incentives designed to support renewable energy investments. Options such as power purchase agreements (PPAs), solar leasing and government grants can alleviate the upfront financial burden, making solar PV solutions accessible to a broader range of organisations.

 

Successfully Implementing Solar PV Solutions

The first step in implementing solar PV solutions involves conducting a comprehensive energy audit of the manufacturing facility to assess current energy usage patterns. This is done to identify areas for efficiency improvements and determines the optimal size and configuration of the solar PV system to meet the facility’s energy needs. By tailoring the solar PV solution to the specific requirements of the manufacturing site, organisations can ensure that their investment is both efficient and effective.

The next phase focuses on the design and planning of the solar PV system, requiring careful consideration of several factors. During installation it is important to position the solar panels correctly to maximise sunlight exposure as well as making sure to integrate the system with any existing infrastructure. Engaging with experienced energy and sustainability consultants at this stage can provide valuable insights and expertise, ensuring that the solar PV system is designed for optimal performance.

Post-installation, effective management and maintenance of the solar PV system are essential to sustain its performance over time. Regular monitoring and maintenance can detect and address any issues promptly, ensuring that the system operates at peak efficiency. Utilising data analytics and performance monitoring tools can provide insights into energy production and consumption patterns, enabling further optimisation of energy use within the manufacturing facility.

There is also the potential for surplus energy generation, where manufacturers with excess solar energy can explore opportunities to feed this back into the grid, creating an additional revenue stream or offsetting energy costs further through net metering schemes.

 

How We Can Help

At McGrady Clarke our decarbonisation specialists have supported an array of clients to successfully implement solar PV solutions. We will support you in your solar PV transition by providing industry expertise and guidance on solar PV throughout your implementation journey.

By carrying out on-site audits, our consultants will identify and recommend the solar PV sources that are best suited to your site.

Contact us today to understand how McGrady Clarke can support your organisation with your Solar PV requirements.