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Nowadays, rows of gleaming solar panels on the rooftops of houses, offices and warehouses are a common sight, which may prompt you to think about installing solar to power your own business.

Common sense implies that commercial solar panels will be larger than residential set-ups. After all, these systems will need to supply electricity to machinery, equipment, and hundreds of employees. However, there are other subtle differences between commercial and residential solar panels, such as the installation process and cost, which you’ll need to factor into your decision-making process.

Are Commercial Solar Panels Bigger than Residential Solar Panels?

In a nutshell, no.

Typically the panels used in commercial applications are exactly the same as those used in residential installations.  The main difference is that cosmetics are likely to be a more important part of the selection. Black frames and black backsheets tend to be a favourite on homes versus the lower cost silver frames and white backsheets on commercial installations.  There are larger panels in the marketplace that are used on some commercial installations.  These panels are slightly longer with an extra row of solar ‘cells’ (72 versus 60) and can be a lower cost option in some circumstances.

Today, a larger panel doesn’t necessarily equate to a more efficient solar PV system, as technology has improved drastically. Various solar panel sizes with different peak outputs e.g. 420W are available on the market to suit different roof sizes and setups.

Do Commercial and Residential Solar Panels have the Same Installation Process?

Whether your solar panels are destined for a suburban rooftop or a strip of farmland, the installation process is similar. Both commercial and residential solar panels are installed using a bolted racking system.

That said, commercial installations tend to be a little quicker and easier as warehouse and factory rooftops are commonly much lower in pitch than residential roofs.

Differences between Residential and Commercial Solar Panels

There are a few other differences between residential and commercial solar panels that are worth considering.

Planning

Given the scale of a commercial solar PV system, the planning phase for an installation can be more complex than a residential setup.

First, your solar PV installer will need to design the system so that it meets your objectives for the business, as well as consider the benefits of storage batteries. Beyond the system design, however, you’ll need to factor in the potential impact on your neighbours, and planning permission or permit requirements. An experienced, MCS-certified solar panel installer can guide you through the entire planning process.

Colour

Increasingly solar panels are becoming available in a wider variety of colours to suit different environments. However, a white backsheet is a common for commercial panels, while panels destined for home use typically come in black or white.

Many businesses opt for black panels against a white or aluminium frame. In part, this ensures the panels are more visible to customers, helping to support the business’ green image. However, there may also be a performance advantage as a white backing can better reflect heat and light.

Do Commercial and Residential Solar Panels have the Same Lifespan?

Commercial solar panels generally come with a performance warranty of 25 years. Similarly, residential panels have an expected lifespan of 25+ years. This is usually ample time for you to break even on the cost of your system vs. savings on your electricity costs.

Solar panel lifespans are not a hard limit – you can think of it like a “best before” date rather than an “expiration” date. Panel manufacturers typically performance warranty their panels for 25 years against a level that degrades slightly year on year.  At the 25 year point the higher quality panel manufacturers are typically warrantying that their panels will produce approximately 85% of what they would have produced in Year 1.

Explore the Solar Panel Options that Mypower Offer

The Mypower team has years of experience in delivering high-quality solar panel installations across all British industries, so we understand that the energy needs of commercial buildings can be vastly different to those of industrial manufacturing and logistics businesses.

Our team professionally assesses, designs and implements systems to suit your business’s needs, whether an agricultural business looking to make the best use of its land or a distribution centre seeking to take advantage of its unused roof space. Get in touch to discuss your individual circumstances. Work with a trusted solar panel company today.

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