How much does solar power save compared to traditional power generation?

Date: 16/08/21

How much does solar power save compared to traditional power generation?

An incredible 173,000 TW of energy reaches the Earth from the sun at any one time. 173,000 TW of energy that is completely free of charge and constantly renewable. This free energy doesn’t produce any CO2 and doesn’t deplete our future fuel supplies.

Yet remarkably, the world only uses a tiny fraction of the free energy on offer. Although we consume around 15TW of power worldwide, our global solar energy capacity is just 480GW – a tiny fraction of the power we need, and a miniscule amount of the potential power available. So why are we missing out on all this free energy, and what can we do to harness the savings of solar power for our homes and our businesses?

Domestic solar power

Domestic solar power has been growing in importance in the UK in recent years, with government subsidies available for both solar panel installation and the buy-back of excess electricity. Although many of these subsidies have now ended, solar power can still produce significant savings for the average home.

It is estimated that solar panels in the South of England can save between £100 and £270 per year on energy bills, with systems in the North producing slightly less. The only problem is the high initial cost of installing a solar generator system. Even with the savings and government help, it can take between 15 and 25 years to recoup the installation cost. However, once you have done that, all your electricity is free.

Site-based solar power

When it comes to using solar power on construction sites, the calculations are somewhat different. Instead of paying a high cost for the permanent installation of solar panels, companies are able to hire a solar generator from Think Hire. Hiring solar generators, such as the Solartainer, may cost a little more than a standard fossil fuel generator, but most of the power it generates comes completely free.

One example, quoted on the Considerate Constructors Scheme Best Practice Hub, reports energy savings of 27% when using a Solartainer compared to a 50kW generator, with the added bonus of an 87% reduction in CO2.

Costain at Cholsey Treatment Works

When Costain wanted to save on fuel and reduce carbon emissions at their Thames Water works, they turned to the Solartainer to power their site. The site had five offices, a canteen and welfare facilities, and all were powered using the hybrid solar generator.

Between August and December 2017, they worked for a total of 2,856 hours and made estimated savings of over £5,000. Their three Solartainers cost £690 per week to hire, compared to a 100KvA generator at £282, but cost just £32 per week to run, compared to £756 for the generator fuel. This resulted in a site saving of £298 per week.

Savings at any scale

As the Costain example illustrates, solar power can deliver significant savings even on smaller sites. Scale this up to a larger housing development site and add in the power demands of electric vehicles and other plant, and it’s easy to see how the Solartainer can substantially cut costs as well as cutting the carbon footprint of your project.

Better still, because the solar generators are hired from Think Hire, rather than purchased, you do not have to factor in the cost of installing the system, as you would with domestic solar power. With fixed, affordable rental prices, and immediate savings on generator fuel, the Solartainer solar generator covers its hire cost around halfway through the week, giving you the rest of your energy free of charge.

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