Few things can disrupt business at a restaurant more than power outages. Inclement weather, accidents, or equipment breakdowns can all cause outages that affect thousands of restaurants each year in a significant way. Losing power to refrigeration and freezer units for even an hour can cause food products to spoil. And the amount of money lost annually to food waste in the restaurant industry is already billions of dollars. So, how do you combat this expensive problem and ensure a steady flow of power to your restaurant? The answer is solar power.
How Does Solar Power Help Restaurants?
Imagine a restaurant that can keep freezers, refrigerators, ice machines, and electrically operated food displays running when there is a grid power outage. Now you can shorten the periods of outages, if not eliminate them. With solar panel rooftops, restaurant owners and operators can not only create their electricity, but they can also store it for emergencies. This eliminates the concern of refrigeration going down and facing the prospect of increased food waste, which has a significantly positive effect on a restaurant’s bottom line.
Here’s how solar power works. Solar panels installed on rooftops absorb sunlight and convert it into electrical energy through photovoltaic (PV) panels or mirrors that concentrate solar radiation. You can then use the power to generate electricity, store it in batteries or thermal storage, and even sell it. Of course, the amount of energy generated by solar technologies is dependent on several factors. Still, some adjustments can be made for the variations, such as:
- Paying close attention to weather forecasts to allow for more accurate predictions of when solar generation might decline.
- Shifting electricity supply and storing excess energy for later use.
- Shifting electricity demand by encouraging the use of power when it is more readily available.
What Restaurant Owners Should Know About Solar Panels
Solar power has benefits for many styles of restaurants. Whether it’s fine dining or casual cuisine, the ability to generate and store your energy is highly invaluable. And the installation of solar panels is a more straightforward process than many business owners realize. You can easily add solar panels to rooftops of all shapes & sizes without disrupting your business. The installation is very similar to laying new roof tiles or shingles.
When it comes to fine dining establishments, the design of these restaurants is often considered as important as the food itself. As a result, there is a concern that solar panels will distract from the distinct look and feel that these restaurants are presenting to their customers. The solution to this issue is to turn your rooftop into an opportunity to share your commitment to sustainability with the community and perhaps inspire other businesses to do the same.
Finally, installing solar panels will also help give restaurant owners a slight reprieve from taxes. There is a 26 percent federal tax credit available for eligible businesses reporting their solar project construction expenses on a system that will be in place before 2026. This credit is available for 26 percent until 2023 when the percentage will be lowered to 23 percent. After that year, the percentage will be reduced even further to 10 percent.
As far as monthly expenses on electric bills are concerned, how much you save will depend on how many solar panels are installed and their placement based on the building position. But during long days with a significant amount of sunlight, your restaurant will generate an excess that you can potentially sell back to the grid for another credit. Once your solar financing is completely paid off, all the energy you produce will be free.
Power outages always have a significant impact on a restaurant’s bottom line. Combined with energy costs, food waste can eat away at your restaurant’s profits quickly. Solar power creates solutions for these problems while also allowing for potential savings. So, don’t wait. Instead, convert your restaurant’s energy source to solar power and live energy independent.