Commercial vs. Residential Solar: A Comparison

April 8, 2016

Individual homeowners and industrial businesses both need solar power. Their power bills may vary, but the common thread shared by them is their interest in keeping their costs low while operating in a sustainable, safe physical structure. For many businesses, there is also the consideration of having an important ecological impact that weighs favorably on their professional reputation. So how different are the solar systems that power businesses versus the ones installed on residential homes, and are they commissioned differently?

Considering the sheer size of a business versus a home, the most obvious difference would probably be the scope of the overall system. A single-family home might house four people, whereas a sprawling business complex could contain hundreds. Therefore, the PV panels specified for homes are generally smaller, and they produce less overall power. This is because space on the roof of a of house is substantially smaller than what an installer has available on a typical roof on a business. This translates into solar panel specifications that yield about 72 cells per panel for residential and 96 cells per panel for a commercial application.

Not Much Room for Grey Area 

Solar panels used for commercial systems tend to be white in color. While this isn’t a universal rule, it does turn out to be the case more often than not. On the residential side however, the consumer generally gets an option of black or white. This isn’t always the case with every solar system provider – contact us to find out what options are available for your home.

Contrary to what you may think, residential and commercial solar panels don’t vary much where price is concerned. The cost of a solar panel is in accordance with the amount of power produced by the panel, not its size or weight. So, a 4-kilowatt system deployed for a residential customer will cost roughly the same as a 4-kilowatt system deployed for a commercial customer. .

Because of the surface area on commercial panels is larger than those on residential ones, commercial panels tend to be more efficient. Commericla panels can carry an efficiency rating of 17-18%, making them 1-2% more efficient.

Straightforward Installation

Both residential and commercial solar panels are installed using a bolted racking system. However, because the roof of a business is probably going to be flatter than that of a typical home, installation systems that affix to ballasts that do not penetrate the roof can be used, making the overall installation project much easier. Even though this means commercial projects can be less complicated panel-for-panel, commercial systems can take much longer on account of their panels numbering in the hundreds.

Remember that if you’re a homeowner and not a business, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you cannot take advantage of highly-efficient panels and commercial-grade mounting systems. Whatever your situation is, contact us to learn more about how your home or business can benefit from solar, and be sure to ask about our complimentary energy assessment.