Mako Steel Blog

Self Storage Facility Solar Panels

Posted by Caesar Wright on Mon, Aug 20, 2012 @ 09:50 AM

Generate Additional Income by Installing Solar Panels on Your Self Storage Facility

Self-storage facilities reduce overhead costs and generate additional income by installing solar panels that generate excess energy, which can be sold back to energy utilities.  
Every self-storage facility has unique characteristics that need to be considered when installing solar panels. 
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Make sure to maximize your investment by considering all of the factors that contribute to a successful solar panel installation. Below are some of the things you will need to consider when installing solar panels on your self-storage facility.

  1. Energy Savings - How much energy does your self-storage facility currently use? How many units are climate controlled? Do you need to provide energy for a live-in manager? How is energy usage impacted by seasonal climate changes? Since most self-storage facilities are accessed at night, self-storage facilities using solar energy make no demand on the power grid during peak usage times. The storage building's current energy use directly drives the size of the solar panel system you will need to install to offset your current energy costs and achieve excess to sell back to your utility company.

  2. Potential Earnings – Many self-storage operators make significant income by selling excess energy back to their utility company. Check with your local provider to determine if there are any caps on how much electricity the utility will buy back to determine how much income your self-storage facility can earn.

  3. How to Offset Initial Costs - Government incentives, rebates and tax credits may be available to offset your initial costs. 

  4. Physical Requirements - Where do you want to install the solar panels? Solar panels need unobstructed access to sunlight during as much of the day as possible. Most self-storage operations place solar panels on the roof, but you can decide to place them elsewhere on your property. Solar panels can also be mounted on poles if rooftop installation is not feasible at your facility. You will want to avoid trees, buildings or other obstructions that shade the panels, thereby limiting the amount of energy the solar panels will produce.

  5. Size of Solar Panel Installation – Determine the number of modules needed in the string to achieve your goals, as well as the size and number of inverters required. Ask about Mako Steel’s Design and Engineering Services to help you determine how many solar panels you will need, the type of installation required, as well as projected costs.

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  6. Tilt and Angle of the Modules - What type of roof does your self-storage building have? Is it a metal, rolled composition, PVC membrane or a standing seam roof? Do you have a pitched or flat roof? If it is pitched, which direction does it face? Ideally, you will want your solar panels to be mounted at an angle that faces the equator – south, if you are in the northern hemisphere and north, if you are in the southern hemisphere. The installation should be designed for optimum orientation to maximize the amount of energy that can be generated.

  7. Other Building Requirements - Does your self storage building have a parafet wall? You will need to provide enough offset from the perimeter of the building to avoid too much shade early or late in the day.  

  8. Installation – Installing solar panels on your self-storage facility requires expertise in solar panel installation and self storage construction. Contact Mako Steel to discuss installing solar panels on your existing self-storage facility or including solar panel installation in new self storage construction and engineering plans.

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Tags: self storage construction, solar panels