Many people don’t realize the countless benefits that big data has provided for the solar energy sector. A growing number of solar energy companies are using new advances in data analytics and machine learning to increase the value of their products.
A little over a year ago, Entrepreneur.com published an article on this topic titled Big Data and Solar Energy Are a Match Made in Heaven.
“This is where big data comes in. Through an amazing mix of weather data, satellite feeds, predictive analytics and machine learning, we’re entering a future where renewable power can reach the grid on a reliable and much more consistent basis. In fact, the latest forecasting technology may be the missing puzzle piece in the widespread adoption of solar energy,” the authors write.
We made a similar post about the benefits of big data for renewable energy. We wanted to talk more specifically about solar energy, though.
New data-driven solutions in solar energy will become more necessary in the near future. Utility prices are constantly rising. They represent a major part of a business’s monthly expenses. For this reason, many business owners have opted to install solar power systems. They see solar power as a sustainable energy alternative that is also cost effective.
Small and medium-sized businesses are just understanding the financial benefits of using solar power. However, many of the Fortune 500 companies have already switched to solar power and are reaping the financial and PR benefits. IBM, in particular, has talked about using big data for solar energy production.
What Is Solar Energy and How Does Big Data Assist with Its Development?
Solar energy is abundant on planet Earth. There are several ways to capture solar energy and use it as a renewable energy source. Solar energy is clean and inexpensive. This is why it is so powerful.
Solar energy, as the name implies, comes from the sun. The sun is a huge nuclear reactor that creates massive amounts of energy that radiate from the sun into space.
Solar power is captured and converted into energy via photovoltaics, a solar panel, or solar thermal collectors. Currently, solar power only accounts for a fraction of the energy used on the planet today. However, as solar power becomes more affordable, more businesses are opting to use it. It is believed that solar energy will play an increasingly large role in global energy consumption.
Big data can help squeeze more value out of solar energy solutions. Companies can use big data to determine the ideal conditions for generating solar power. They can place solar panels in areas where their analytics models show they will realize the best energy dividends.
Data technology can also be useful for creating new solar technology. Solar technology manufacturers can use machine learning to fine-tune their designs to be most productive. This is one of the benefits that DataFloq addressed in their post on the five biggest ways big data impacts solar energy.
How Can a Business Save Money with Data-Driven Solar Energy Production?
The energy savings from solar panels can be quite large. Reports suggest that businesses can reduce their energy costs by around 75 percent by using solar panels. According to Unbound Solar, “…commercial property owners pay on average $1,950 each month for energy.” After installing solar panels, they pay on average $500 a month.
These benefits can be even more significant if big data is used to capitalize off solar energy. There are several government programs that allow businesses to enjoy the power of solar energy without making a sizable investment. There are still some tax breaks and tax credits for businesses in certain areas that use solar panels.
Most businesses can pay off their solar panels with the savings they get in energy costs in as little as three to seven years. From that point on, a business can enjoy virtually free energy for between 25 and 35 years. This is the average lifespan of a solar system. They may pay these costs off sooner by using superior data-driven solar energy solutions.
Solar panels are built to last. Many of them have guarantees for 25 years or more. This makes solar energy a reliable source of energy.
How Much Does It Cost to Install Solar Panels?
Most of the cost of installing solar panels comes from the installation and the purchase of the panels. Most systems require little maintenance and can produce a steady stream of energy for decades. On average, a commercial solar installation will cost $50,211 for a 25-kW system to $502,113 for a 200-kW system before tax credits and incentives.
The nice thing is that the cost of installing a commercial panel system has dropped drastically. As more businesses goal solar, the cost will probably plummet even further. Solar panels save money by serving as a hedge against electricity price volatility and inflation. They are a wise investment that produce an enormous return on investment.
Big Data is Ideal for Getting More Value Out of Solar Energy
There are a lot of great benefits of big data for the energy market. You should use big data to get more value out of solar energy.