Among all the clean energy resources available, solar energy is the most preferred by many. Solar energy systems are ideal for both businesses and residential properties, making them highly efficient. With its continuous rising popularity, a lot has started shifting and people are now considering doing so.
If you’re wondering how exactly we can utilise solar energy, the answer is through the use of solar panels. Solar panels are photovoltaic cells that are designed to harness the light emitted by the sun. First, the light will reach the panels. Second, they will then convert the light into a current that is suitable for energy use.
Solar energy in the last decade
Some of the well-known companies that utilise solar energy are big brands like Apple, IKEA, and Walmart. Over the past years, a lot of solar panel companies and manufacturers have been established along with solar energy demand. In the U.S. and Australia, the government is supportive of solar panel users by giving them tax rebates for their off-grid energy use.
You’re probably wondering if solar energy is that great, then why don’t all cities just start shifting now? If only it’s easy, a lot of cities around the world surely would’ve shifted already. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. A lot of factors need to be redesigned, considered, and implemented for a city to be solarised.
To understand what some of those are, here are 4 key factors that determine whether a city is solar-ready.
1st: A city’s infrastructure must meet solar panels’ guidelines.
First and foremost, let’s start with a city’s infrastructure design. If you take a look at the placement of buildings, roads, mass transit, and power generation, they’re not designed for a solar dependent world. These were built for the energy grid that we’re all utilising.
If a city with this type of infrastructure design were to shift to solar energy, it means that they would have to go back to the start. A city must redesign everything and start from scratch. Mass transit systems, buildings, and roads play a vital role in solar energy.
Solar panels need sunlight to produce energy. If you place a solar panel on a property with a tall building next to it, likely, your panels won’t have any use. Yes, solar panels work even during winter. Even if it’s snowing, your panels can do their work. As long as there is daylight that reaches the panels, there is energy to be produced. But, if a property blocks sunlight, your panels are useless.
Before any property decides on any solar panel installation, its surroundings should be clear. The infrastructure design of urban cities simply shows how incompatible solar panels are for installation. With that, if a city were to plan to go solar, they would have to abandon everything and start from the very beginning.
2nd: Properties’ roof design
Aside from the importance of having no surrounding obstruction, solar panel manufacturers recommend a specific roof design and place for a more effective panel performance. Ideally, the panels should be tilted in a 5 to 10-degree position for it to collect light better.
If a city with skyscrapers pushes to have solar panels installed in some of its residential and business properties, roof design will play an important role. This placement will ensure that the panels will be able to produce the expected energy needed by a certain property.
If a property’s roof is not inclined, platforms can be used to elevate the positioning of the panels to the desired angle. Just make sure that the property’s roof condition is good. If it’s not, the roof might not be able to stand the weight of the platform and the solar panels.
That’s why a property’s roof design is an important factor to look into before proceeding with any solar panel installation.
3rd: People’s openness to solar energy
The thought of living in a world where we all utilise clean energy is great. Sadly, not everyone is open yet to the thought of shifting to better energy resources. A lot of people are advocating for the environment. Yet, people aren’t driven or confident enough to start converting.
Even though solar panel users and manufacturers have already proven how reliable, efficient, and simple home solar panel systems are, a lot of people are still in doubt. A lot of people are doubtful of its efficiency and the facts that seem too good to be true.
How do you prepare if opinions are divided? Surely, only 5 to 10% of the population is willing to do so. The rest might continue to use fossil-fueled energy even though solar energy is available.
With that, it’s important to educate people about solar energy and solar panels before pursuing them for use. People should be able to digest and understand easily how it works for them to prepare and familiarise themselves.
4th: The government and private sectors should both agree to adjust their plans and make them solar-ready.
Last but not least, both the government and private businesses must agree to adjust and redesign their plans for a solar-ready future. Here’s the thing. Businesses don’t finish plans overnight. They formulate plans years before any implementation.
With that, if a city were to shift to solar panel use, both the government and all private sectors should agree to do so. To revise and create a new plan is not easy. Finished transactions and agreements are even harder.
Both the government and private sectors should agree and make amendments that benefit both sides for a solar-ready future.
These are just some of the factors. There’s a lot more to consider.
The 4 factors I discussed are just some that would help complete the answer to whether a city is solar-ready. Surely, the points I shared aren’t even the start of a city’s design analysis. But, these 4 are vital to helping map out the right way towards a city that is possible to become solar-ready.
About the author:
Bianca Banda is a writer for Penrith Solar Centre, an Australian solar company that advocates better energy resources to improve the quality of life on Earth.