No Good Argument: The Business side of Solar Power

If one were to type into Google to define the word greed, they would find the definition: “intense and selfish desire for something, especially wealth, power, or food.” I don’t think anyone would argue this definition. I also don’t think anyone would argue using this word to define someone willing to deteriorate the health and lives of others for their own financial gain. When it comes to the topic of climate change, the biggest defense business owners have is that it’s too expensive to switch to one of the many forms of renewable energy (geothermal, tidal, wind, hydro power, etc). For this short example, I will test this argument using possibly the most well known renewable energy source: solar power.

Now first, how much will this solar power cost? Well, take a walk to a local Home depot and you can find a 400- Watt off- grid solar panel kit for 1,099.99 dollars. Okay, now that we have how much one of these panels will cost, how much energy do we need? On average, manufacturing facilities use 95.1 kilowatts of electricity in the US annually. What does this mean? Well, let’s do the math:

1,000 watts equals 1 kilowatts and so 400 watts equals 0.4 kilowatts.

95.1 kilowatts (the amount of energy needed for the average factory divided by 0.4 watts (the amount of energy made by one panel) will equal 237.75 or 238 solar panels needed to make sure the factory stays running.

238 (solar panels needed) multiplied by 1,099.99 (amount per solar panel at Home Depot) equals 261,797.62 dollars.

Now of course, this is a lot of money. However, now it is time to look at how much the average factory in the US pays for traditional electricity:


If you were to copy and paste the link above, you would find a PDF form of 2015's average monthly bill for factories across the US and divided by states. For this example, I’ve chosen to look at the average for the entire US being 6,798.62 per month for the average factory. Multiply this number by 12, and you get 81,583.44 dollars per year spent on electricity.

261,797.62 % 81,583.44 = 3.21

Now, as you can see above, buying the solar panels would be approximately the same as three years of paying for traditional electricity. After a little more than three years (after the panels are paid for) this company can now take in the old electricity bill as profits. A wise business owner would look at these profits and invest in a surplus of panels so that if weather does get in the way, the extra panels would be able to store extra energy to help forward production on a cloudy day.

The final piece of the argument a business owner may produce is imitatively a genuine concern: maintenance. However, solar panels do not have any moving parts and so don’t require much to take care of them. The main concern would be to keep them clean, but this could be done by using the same sponge and hose one would use for their windows.

Approximately 31% of energy consumption in the US comes from factories alone. It wouldn’t take much for these factory owners to switch to more eco-friendly energy options, however they still choose to use the same old argument.

For more information on the topic above:

Rinkesh. “40 Facts About Solar Energy.” Conserve Energy Future, 24 Dec. 2016, Accessed 19 Feb. 2017.

“Managing Energy Costs in Manufacturing Facilities.” Managing Energy Costs in Manufacturing Facilities | Business Energy Advisor, E Source, Accessed 19 Feb. 2017.

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