In working with Sunbridge Solar, we’ve built Portland’s premier Zero-Net-Energy Dentist Office! Over 85 solar panels generate enough solar power to offset 100% of our energy use. Each year, it will prevent over 100,000 pounds of CO2 emissions from entering our atmosphere.
Belmont Family Dentistry’s Commitment To Sustainability
At Belmont Family Dentistry we are committed to sustainability and have chosen solar energy as a means to operate our business responsibly–something that clearly represents our values, our culture, and our practice’s brand.
In having a solar-powered dental practice, we have not only changed the way we do business, but we’re also helping the environment and we’re doing what we can to give back to our community.
What Does It Mean To Be A Zero-Net-Energy Dentist Office?
Zero-net-energy (ZNE) or Net-Zero-Energy (NZE) are terms used interchangeably to refer to a building, like Belmont Family Dentistry, that has zero-net-energy consumption, meaning the total amount of energy used by the building on an annual basis is equal to the amount of renewable energy created on the site.
The solar panels help us to achieve our goals to reduce carbon emissions and reduce our dependence on fossil fuels.
How Does It Work?
The solar panels absorb sunlight to generate electricity. The panels generate direct current (DC) energy, and a device called an inverter then converts the DC energy into alternating current (AC) power. Essentially, the sun supplies the power for the office, powering everything from the office lights to the equipment used for dental procedures. What power the sun doesn’t provide, the electric company will. For the days we don’t work, Saturdays and Sundays, we’re not using as much electricity and the solar panels are still collecting energy, so we’re able to sell back the excess.
Is Solar Energy A Clean Energy Source?
According to the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), solar energy is the cleanest renewable energy source currently available. Although hydropower may currently be the cheapest renewable energy source in the U.S., hydropower has more negative environmental impacts than solar. The environmental impacts of hydropower include:
- Damming of rivers and streams (which affect animal, fish, and plant habitats and can cause geological damage that leads to earthquakes)
- Flooding of large areas of land, which can destroy habitat and force human and animal relocation
- Building dams alter the natural water table level and can negatively affect wildlife such as salmon.
How Efficient Are Solar Panels?
At Belmont Family Dentistry, our solar panels were installed by Sunbridge Solar located in Washougal, Washington. They use only American-made solar panels which are known for their higher quality and power production compared to their international counterparts.
Does Solar Work In The Cloudy Pacific Northwest?
Though we don’t get as much sun as Arizona or Southern California, our cooler climate and long summer days make solar an excellent option. Like any technology, the hotter it gets the less efficient it becomes and in turn the less power the panel will produce. Our lovely Pacific Northwest rain is actually a benefit to solar. Our solar panels will be cleaned each time it rains enabling it to produce power at its fullest potential.