Photo-voltaic (PV) solar power generation can be applied independently onsite to generate renewable power and reduce energy costs, or PV can be applied along with battery energy storage systems (BESS). With BESS, the PV system can operate in grid-independent (islanding) mode and can also provide backup power during electric utility failures. With BESS, some of the midday peak power generated from PV gets shifted to late afternoon/evening peak demand, offsetting utility peak demand surcharges.
Rooftop PV is generally the most cost-effective application, taking advantage of the existing structure for support and otherwise unused space, also providing some shading to the building. Ground-mounted PV systems generally cost more but can provide covered parking and shading to parked cars. Covered parking PV systems are often coupled with EV chargers, where a portion of the sun’s energy gets sent directly into cars parked below the solar panels.
Touchstone has experience with single and dual axis PV tracking systems, which produce the same energy with only 60% of PV panels since they track the sun from morning to evening. Standard fixed-mounted PV panels produce almost all their energy around midday. Tracking systems begin producing near-full power in the morning and continue producing near-full power in the late afternoon when power usage demand is at peak.