Also known as the Industrial Revolution, the technology and manufacturing boom of the late 19th century was a game changer for the American economy. Unfortunately, all that boom was a bust in terms of causing some pretty serious environmental consequences.
And although manufacturing has come a long way to improve its sustainability, there’s always room for improvement. But that’s where the power of renewable energy applications comes into play.
Renewable energy sources, such as solar, have the potential to completely revolutionize the manufacturing industry as a whole. In fact, they already have. As more and more businesses make the switch to renewables – such as megacorporations like Apple, Ikea, Target, Walmart, and more – clean energy is slowly but surely becoming the standard for corporate sustainability and responsibility.
Here are three exciting ways that the manufacturing industry is using renewables to power its future:
Solar Thermal Systems
Although there are several different sub-sectors within the greater manufacturing industry, nearly all of them require heating of some kind. Heating is an energy-intensive process that is used for a variety of purposes, including sterilizing, drying, cooking, process heating, and much more. Heating alone can account for a significant portion of a factory or manufacturing facility’s energy use, which in turn can increase the overall cost of doing business.
The vast size and scale of industrial heating provides a number of both promising and practical opportunities for the use of renewable energy sources, such as solar. Solar thermal technology harnesses the power of the sun to generate clean, cost-effective thermal energy with minimal environmental impact. This energy can then be used to heat water or other fluids, and can even be used to power cooling systems. And just like their electricity-generating counterparts, solar thermal systems drive business value by reducing utility costs and improving sustainability.
Diversifying energy sources
It’s often been said that variety is the spice of life, and this notion is a great way to describe the ways in which manufacturers are using more than one renewable energy source to power their facilities. In an effort to reduce costs, increase production, and meet environmental guidelines, manufacturing plants are taking advantage of multiple renewable energy sources in order power their operations sustainably.
A great example of this is Method Soap, who operates a LEED-certified platinum manufacturing facility powered by onsite renewable energy sources, including solar panels and a 23-story wind turbine.
As a whole, the manufacturing industry and all of its unique sub-sectors use a great deal of electricity. And as production efforts increase in order to meet customer need, the demand for electricity continues to steadily increase.
Therefore, it’s no secret that the decarbonization of the manufacturing industry is a must, especially as the devastating effects of climate change continue to wreak havoc on the environment. Renewable energy sources, such as solar, are helping manufacturers meet their power needs while dramatically reducing their carbon footprint.
Whether they’re onsite or offsite, commercial solar energy systems are helping manufacturers save big in a number of ways. Not only does solar improve energy efficiency, but it also helps manufacturing facilities and plants increase their energy independence. In many cases, solar can even help manufacturers become completely self-sustaining and meet 100% of their electric load if not more.
In today’s economy, solar and other renewable energy sources are helping manufacturers stay relevant in a number of ways. In addition to the obvious financial and environmental benefits of clean energy, solar allows manufacturers to outshine their competitors while meeting the needs of their customers in a more sustainable way. Eco-conscious consumers are eager to support companies that engage in ethical business practices, and making the switch to renewable energy sources can help companies improve their public image.
To learn more about how solar can power your business, drop us a line and find out exactly how much you stand to save. In the meantime, check out our commercial case studies to see how local businesses are saving big with solar.