Having solar panels on your rooftop enables you to generate power in a distributed manner, right from your residential of factory premises!
With the world seeing a significant acceleration in the use of rooftop solar panels for captive power generation, a question arises: How much of a building’s energy requirement can rooftop solar panels supply?
The answer depends on how large the rooftop is relative to the total power consumption.
If it is a building with a large rooftop area but with low consumption (typical of large villas, for instance), the rooftop panels might be able to supply most or even all the electricity requirements – use of battery will be required to store power for use at night.
But if you are working in a high rise building that has 50 floors, it is obvious that the rooftop area, and consequently the amount of electricity that can be generated from solar panels, is very small compared to the total power consumption of all occupants in the building. Under these circumstances, rooftop solar panels could end up supplying less than 5% – and in some cases as low as 1% – of the total electricity requirements of the building.
That is, the lower the energy consumption per unit area of a building, the higher can be the contribution from rooftop solar panels.
Thus, while rooftop is an excellent distributed, renewable power source, it might not provide significant benefits to all types of residences or industries/offices.
In fact, as part of my work, I have seen such significant variations in this context. For one of my clients, a software firm with about 300 employees, solar panels on the company rooftop provides about 30% of their total power requirements. For another firm, a premium hotel, it provides just 7%. Both these firms are in the same city and use similar panels and inverters.