Solar technology is rapidly advancing in the industry and can potentially transform the construction landscape as we know it. The use of solar energy in managing construction is gaining popularity as the world progresses towards an eco-friendly and more sustainable future.
The construction industry has a good opportunity to benefit from this solar growth. As the demand grows, new opportunities and benefits of solar technology for construction firms have emerged. Specifically, contractors can help by providing solar panels for their customers regardless of the type of infrastructure.
The installation cost of solar technology is becoming lower as the cost of panels also declines. As some states in the United States require solar systems on new buildings, more installation work must be done. Construction firms equipped to perform solar installations are called to fulfill this demand.
What are Some Solar Power Construction Materials Available in the Market?
The use of solar energy in construction materials is gaining attention as people are starting to be aware of the growing pollution the industry brings. Here are some of the solar power materials that are being substituted in construction projects:
- Solar Roof Tiles: One of the types of building-integrated photovoltaic (BIPV) systems, solar roof tiles function as a roofing material and solar panels in one, generating electricity from the sun’s rays. These roof tiles can be installed on residential and commercial buildings and offer a more aesthetically pleasing look and seamless installation than traditional solar panels that we used to know.
- Solar Bricks: A newer solar technology, these bricks are composed of solar cells that are integrated into traditional building bricks. These solar bricks can be used for walls, driveways, or even walkways to generate electricity from the sun during the daytime. They are also solid material and can withstand harsh weather conditions no matter the season.
- Solar Windows: Solar windows are a type of BIPV system that can generate electricity from the sun’s rays while allowing natural light to enter the building. These solar windows are composed of special solar cells that are clear and can be integrated into the design of your building. These windows are particularly useful in high-rise infrastructures where space for solar panels may be limited.
- Solar Shingles: Solar shingles are a roofing material type that looks like conventional asphalt shingles but are made up of solar cells within them. They are more aesthetically looking than traditional solar panels and can be incorporated into residential buildings.
- Solar Pavement: Solar pavement is a pavement that has solar cells embedded within it. This pavement can be used on sidewalks, parking lots, or even roads to generate power and electricity from the sun. It’s particularly practical in urban areas where space for traditional solar panels may be restricted.
What are Solar Panel Building Codes that Contractors Should Know?
The solar panel installation is complicated, as electrical and fire city codes are liable to these systems. Since solar panels are a new technology in construction, city codes may need to be revised to ensure that inhabitants remain safe. Codes are essential for workers who install solar panels due to the following issues:
- Restrictive language and few translations limit how solar panels can be installed;
- Codes usually vary between counties, states, and cities;
- New solar technology is not matched with outdated building codes and
- Policies can be inappropriate or inconsistent.
Building codes that affect solar panel installation systems are adopted only at the local level in most states. State-level rules and regulations can provide more consistency, but some states leave it up to respective jurisdictions to make their stand regarding solar installation. On the other hand, state-level codes can make it difficult for contractors to gain the authority to adopt their strategies for managing construction.
Contractors should familiarize themselves with the architectural and electrical codes in all locations where they operate their business and where their projects are based. With proper construction crew management, managers can educate workers and subcontractors on local and state regulations to plan installation processes smoothly and efficiently.
What are the Financial Incentives for Adapting Solar Technology in Construction?
Adapting solar technology in construction offers financial incentives from state and federal agencies. Note that these economic benefits are reserved for those who own the solar equipment. If an individual leases the equipment from the contractor, they are not entitled to these benefits. Rather, the contractors who lease the equipment are subject to these financial incentives. In fact, contractors can improve their bottom line by renting solar equipment to their customers.
The following financial incentives are offered to the individual who owns solar panels:
- Solar Energy Credits: Credits from renewable energy can help solar owners reap the fruits of their investments. Some states allow contractors to get a portion of this credit, while others give the full credit to the solar owner alone. Homeowners can also sell their credits with the help of third-party financial companies, which consolidate and sell credits to the local utility company.
- Excess Energy: Solar panels will not quit generating energy when your consumption stops. If your solar system has stored too much power, it is sent back to the local electrical grid, and the local utility company must compensate you accordingly for the watts. Some individuals sell their solar energy and use the money to pay their monthly electrical bills. Solar owners can even store and use this excess power when their solar system does not produce as much energy.
- Tax Exemptions: Some state governments may reduce the state tax liability to anyone installing a solar system. Solar panels usually increase the value of a building by up to $20,000. You may get sales or property tax exemptions based on the solar system’s retail amount and the value it entails to your property. Confirm with your local government, as different states have different governing tax rules.
- Federal Investment Tax Credit: This credit is available to any company or solar owner who purchased a solar system within 2020. The tax credit is a major incentive and can pay for a considerable portion of the system. This credit is expected to be canceled over the next few years, so this is your sign to take advantage of this incentive while you still can.
- Cash Rebates: Some states offer contractors or owners who purchase solar panel systems tax rebates. This tax rebate amount varies depending on the state purchased, but this financial incentive, combined with federal incentives, can offset a big portion of the system price.
- Performance-Based Rebates: Some utility companies offer performance-based monetary incentives to solar panel owners. These incentives pay owners a certain number of credits based on the watts their solar system produces. The utility may pay you in cash, which is equal to the number of credits earned over a set period.
What are the Benefits of Incorporating Solar in Construction?
Good for the Environment
Solar panels generate renewable energy that is more beneficial for the environment than any traditional energy source. Not only do alternative energy sources benefit the environment globally, but solar energy can also help individuals and communities reduce high carbon footprints.
The majority of energy sources in the U.S. are generated from conventional sources such as natural gas and coal. These two energy sources are expensive, not sustainable, and can pollute the environment. On the other hand, solar energy costs nothing, is renewable, and comes from natural sources. It does not damage the environment and is a perfect alternative to fossil fuels. By investing in solar energy, contractors and homeowners are relying on the sun ways, one of the most consistent and persistent elements on Earth.
Expand Construction Market
Many clients, particularly younger consumers, are moved by businesses aligned with their values. These clients value environmentally friendly products and are often open to paying a premium to contribute to reducing harmful emissions.
Solar energy is the top choice energy source for many young clients. These consumers are looking for ways to help the environment and are often willing to pay a higher price for a building equipped with solar panels. Many clients want to avoid installing the panels themselves but are willing to pay contractors for a building that is already equipped with this solar feature.
Additionally, managing construction projects that are good for the environment can boost the morale of your workers, knowing that it’s making less dent in the high carbon footprint of the industry.
A Step Towards the Future of Construction
The demand for solar energy is only expected to grow in the future. Even though some administrations do not promote solar energy, this new alternative energy is not going anywhere- it’s here to stay. Many political officials, construction firms, and corporations are encouraging more people to adopt solar energy now and in the future.
Contractors should embrace this technology fully to take advantage of the benefits of solar power. With the help of construction scheduling software, integrating solar materials into your established building processes and timelines can be made easier. Invest in the right tools and technology; your business will not be left behind.
Schedule your next team meeting to discuss solar technology with Pro Crew Schedule.
The future starts today.