Solar Power in the Workplace.
We are already beginning to see a number of implementations of Solar energy creep their way into everyday applications, and as this positive trend continues, what does the future hold for the workplace?
Commercial buildings accounted for 11% of all energy use in the US in 2011, which equates to a 72% increase since the 1980’s. Of course, there is no dispute that energy demands are constantly rising as the result of new technology, but currently providing this amount of energy is not sustainable. While comparably, energy costs for business in the US are certainly not as high as in some countries, such as Germany and the UK, the introduction and conversion to not only more efficient and sustainable practice, but green energy such as solar power is becoming more and more attractive and relevant. As it stands solar power use in the US is growing at a rapid rate, with the main barrier to even more widespread use the associated costs with permits, installation, and so on. With these barriers being addressed, the market is set to blow wide open, and we are likely to see a huge increase in innovation and implementation across a number of sectors, the workplace in particular.
Future Possibilities and Markets
Currently, many businesses are reliant on the competition among energy companies
for their supply and costs, and this is even more pronounce in countries with higher costs, such as the UK. However, once associated prices linked to solar installation are driven down, we may see a shift in the dynamics here. It is likely to be entirely possible that many businesses, especially the larger sites, will invest in their own solar panels on site if possible, which could create an interesting shift in focus – the demand will then be on suppliers and installers of panels themselves, and this is something that many energy companies are keen to get ahead on if they can. Also, we are already seeing a number of applications for solar power on a much smaller scale, that could have some real and positive effects on the energy consumption of the workplace, and it’s energy demands. There are already public solar powered cell phone chargers for example, that could be easily implemented in the workplace if needed. The powering of individual office lamps by solar energy is already possible, and this market in particular could grow exponentially to incorporate forms of workstation charging. As the technology develops, even corporate gifts could have dual roles in an office environment. Small scale power hubs could for example, be incorporated into various office necessities and desk items once the technology is there to support it. As efficiency is increased, we are likely to see a number of these kind of applications which in turn makes solar power even more viable for businesses as a whole. If the majority of smaller devices are able to be powered by local, office based solar chargers, energy demands will also drop. It may ultimately be the small handheld chargers that change our energy use.
Limitless Energy for Business?
While we are certainly not at a stage where we can enjoy limitless energy, modern developments are certainly pointing us toward a much cleaner and sustainable future. Of course, as technology rapidly develops, so do its energy demands – The real question will be how well, and how quickly solar energy can keep up with rising demands. The next generation of computers, for example, are likely to require much larger amounts of power. The real key for future renewable energy such as solar power lies in developing solar solutions in tandem with new technology, and the US lies in a favorable position to do just that, being the 4th largest producer of solar power in the world, along with the ongoing construction of the largest solar power project the world has ever seen. Overall then, this favorable climate could see the US become a world leader in innovation and advancement in the solar market, with all the economic advantages that brings for entrepreneur, business and investor.