Which Industries Are Better off With Solar?
Solar is a booming industry; however, it isn’t the only beneficiary. Other players also benefit from the increase in photovoltaics.
There are a wide range of industries that profit from solar. It impacts everything from raw materials to recycling.
Let’s take a look at these industries and how solar is impacting them.
Solar Panel Manufacturing: Some Industries Involved
Most focus on the result of a product, but the production of the item can create just as many jobs. Solar is one of those industries that has a larger impact on society, and it starts with the manufacturing process.
To manufacture a solar panel, a lot of different raw materials are needed. Then machinery to refine and put these materials into place is required.
All of these industries are positively impacted by the solar industry. A few of the major contributors to this process are inorganic chemicals and circuits.
Inorganic Chemicals and Solar Panel Manufacturing
Inorganic chemicals are commonly used throughout the manufacturing process of solar panels. Some of the inorganic chemicals used include silicon, cadmium and hydrochloric acid.
Although this isn’t a completely clean process, it is better than other energy sources. Because solar is a form of renewable energy, it encourages inorganic chemical companies to improve.
Encouraged improvements include everything from manufacturing processes to the extraction of the raw materials. As a result, these industries will continue to become cleaner.
Circuits and Photovoltaics
Solar panels convert photons from the sun into an electric current. However, wiring is required for this electricity to be routed. Solar panels are first wired to an inverter.
The inverter then changes the current from DC to AC so it can power a home. The wiring for solar arrays is a big boost to electrical wiring providers.
Industries That Benefit From Having Solar
After solar panels are produced, they impact several industries that use them. The spectrum of industry use for solar arrays is very large.
Solar is spread through residential solar, commercial solar, community solar, and solar farms. Each of these implementations of solar technology positively impacts society in different ways.
Three ways solar is making a difference are in commercial, residential, and agricultural uses. These lead to growth within companies, real estate, and farming.
Solar Savings for Large Companies
One of the ways in which solar is benefiting businesses is cost saving. Solar saves companies thousands of dollars on utility bills over an array’s life.
When combined with certain incentives solar can save even more money. One of the incentives specific to commercial solar is MACRS. MACRS allows solar to count as a tax deduction for businesses.
Increased Home Value and Profits for Realtors
Another industry that has benefited from solar is real estate. Homeowners that purchase solar instead of leasing it increase their home value. These homes also sell faster.
Zillow did a study that found that homes with purchased solar sold, on average, for 4.1 percent more. Energy efficiency is becoming a hot commodity in real estate. Over 80 percent of buyers have said they prefer energy-efficient features.
Powering the Agriculture Sector With Solar
Another sector that has seen some positive changes from solar is agriculture. Duel-use farming has proven to be an asset to the farming community.
It allows farmers to continue using their fields while decreasing their electric bills. There are several different ways in which dual-use farming has been put into practice. One of the most interesting is beekeeping.
Native plants get planted under solar panels, promoting pollinator health. Honey bees then pollinate the nearby fields and provide honey for the community.
Photovoltaic End-of-Life Industries
Solar panels don’t only have a positive impact on their life. They also are changing the recycling industry.
Because mass solar panel use has only started to blossom, there aren’t many solar panel recycling programs/facilities in place. However, this is starting to change, which is one of the pros of solar.
The solar industry is booming, but this also means it is under scrutiny. Solar manufacturers and installers, as a result, are choosing solar panel recycling partners with care. This encourages solar recycling vendors to not cut corners.
The Recycling Industry and Solar
Recycling has been a vital industry for quite some time. There are many things that we use every day that are recycled for further use. This industry helps increase environmentally conscious waste management.
Solar panels have incorrectly been deemed general waste. This, however, is changing. This process is becoming more refined as solar recycling is becoming more prevalent.
Currently, there are two main programs. The first is the global PV CYCLE network — a recycling program for European manufacturers.
The second is the SEIA National PV Recycling Program. This program finds qualified PV recyclers for solar PV manufacturers in America.
Raw Materials and End-of-Life Management
Solar end-of-life management helps decrease the need for raw material extraction. This, in turn, reduces air pollutants and produces a multibillion-dollar profit. Raw materials extracted from PV modules are projected to generate over $15 billion by 2050.
In a nutshell, solar is creating a cycle of increased sustainability among a multitude of industries. In a world that desperately needs more green businesses, this is great news.