Abstract

On February 6th, 2014, the Board of Directors of Crumbs Bakery requested the head of the Procurement and Budgeting Board to conduct a feasibility study about alternative sources of energy that would help the company to reduce its costs. I was chosen as the best qualified applicant to prepare a proposal for the mentioned task which commenced on 20th February, 2014. I found out that the company was spending unnecessary amounts of money to pay electricity bills and this reduced its profit. I observed that most employees did not turn off their computers after work and light bulbs were left on during most nights. The electricity consumption was at its peak during lunch hours and weekends when most employees used water heaters and microwaves to warm water and food respectively. In addition, misuse of electricity was rampart when senior managers were on official duties outside the company. I embarked on a literature review to understand how companies have used solar panels to supplement or substitute electricity and what they achieved. In addition, I noticed that the employees were happy to realize that they would be shifting their attention from electric to solar energy.

I recommend that the company considers installing the solar panels to reduce energy consumption from $7,000 to about $3000- $4000 per month.

Executive Summary

On February 6th, 2014, the Board of Directors of Crumbs Bakery invited the Procurement and Budgeting Department to conduct a feasibility study about the importance of using other sources of energy in the company to supplement or replace electricity. The study was aimed at establishing the difference between alternative sources and electricity to supply energy for the company. On 7th February, 2014, the department accepted my application to conduct a feasibility study. It presented its recommendation to the Board of Directors and I am waiting for it to approve my request and allow me to start the feasibility study as soon as possible.

Currently, Crumbs Bakery uses electricity as a source of energy for its operations. The monthly average expenses on electricity have escalated from $ 5,500 in 2006 to $ 7,000 in 2014 (January). This trend seems to be gaining speed and there are fears that the company may be spending unnecessary amounts of its hard earned profits on electricity bills. Therefore, there is the need for Crumbs Bakery to start exploring other sources of energy that are cheap, reliable and environment friendly. The decision to invite its workers to conduct feasibility studies on various sources of energy is a right step towards reducing unnecessary expenses in the company. The company wants to reduce energy expenses and I proposed the installation of solar panels to substitute or supplement electricity supply (Hurley 61).

I conducted research on companies like McDonalds’ and McGraw-Hill Publishers on how they have managed to use solar energy and its impacts on their productivity and profit generation. In addition, I conducted interviews to collect information from experts like Mr. Jackson Willis, Lawrence Hopkins and Steven Howard that have experience, skills and knowledge of solar energy. This enabled me to understand the components of solar panels and how they are used to produce energy.

Staff attitude towards a new source of energy was important in determining its success. Therefore, I discovered that staffs will likely be very receptive to this feasibility study and offer their support to ensure it succeeds. Moreover, I found that if Crumbs Bakery installs and uses solar energy workers will be positive about it, provided the company uses equipment that will supply adequate power of not less than 3,000 megawatts. The interviews and questionnaire feedback showed that 89% of employees supported the idea and recommended the use of other environment–friendly interventions in the company. The company requires energy to run its grinding mills, freezers, ovens, computers and other activities that require electricity. Therefore, the ten solar panels will provide adequate energy to the company.

My feasibility study showed that there is no difference between solar and electricity accessories and this means that the existing ones will continue to serve their purposes. There will be no need to install new electric accessories and this means that there will be no costs in this section. The cables used to supply electricity will not be replaced.

Therefore, these conclusions show that the project of installing and using solar panels will be a productive activity and though it will cost the company a lot of money it will reduce energy expenses and conserve the environment. I recommend that the Board of Directors of Crumbs Bakery proceeds with its feasibility study on the appropriate time to install and start using solar panels to supply energy to the company.

Introduction

The Board of Directors of Crumbs Bakery invited the Procurement and Budgeting Department on February 6th, 2014, to conduct a feasibility study about the importance of using other sources of energy in the company to supplement or replace electricity. The study was aimed at establishing the difference between alternative sources and electricity to supply energy for the company. On 7th February, 2014, the department accepted my application to conduct a feasibility study. It presented its recommendation to the Board of Directors and I am waiting for it to approve my request and allow me to start the feasibility study as soon as possible.

Currently, Crumbs Bakery uses electricity as a source of energy for its operations. The monthly average expenses on electricity have escalated from $ 5,500 in 2006 to $ 7,000 in 2014 (January). This trend seems to be gaining speed and there are fears that the company may be spending unnecessary amounts of its hard earned profits on electricity bills (Pouts 46). Therefore, there is the need for Crumbs Bakery to start exploring other sources of energy that are cheap, reliable and environment friendly. Therefore, the decision to invite its workers to conduct feasibility studies on various sources of energy is a right step towards reducing unnecessary expenses in the company. The company wants to reduce energy expenses and I proposed the installation of solar panels to substitute or supplement electricity supply.

The Board of Directors asked me to conduct research that would answer the following questions and identify ways of exploring alternative sources of energy apart from electricity.

Research Questions

Will the installation of solar panels reduce the energy expenses of the company?

Crumb Bakery relies on electricity for almost 905 of its processes and this means that there is no way it can operate if there is a shortage of this energy. Therefore, its expenses on electricity bills are unavoidable unless the company is not in operation. The need to reduce the company’s expenses on electricity usually meets resistance from employees after the introduction and establishment of policies that ensured employees were accountable for how they used this energy (Boxwell 43). Therefore, it was necessary for the Board of Directors to identify other alternatives of minimizing energy costs. My research endeavored to identify ways solar panels can be used to supply energy and substitute or supplement electricity. This means that it focused on the differences of expenses involved in acquiring electricity and solar panels and identifying which is the best alternative (Hurley 76). The answers to this question will help the Board of directors to visualize the economic gains that will be made when the company starts using solar energy. The management and Board of Directors would need to know the differences in expenses between using electricity and solar energy.

Will the solar panel infrastructure be compatible with that of electricity?

I discovered that electrical accessories perform similar roles depending on their specifications. The quality of the accessories used to supply electrical energy was determined by the amount of power required to run various operations. For instance, the cable used to connect the main transformer to the company’s power house was larger than all other cables. The sockets, switches and cables were similar and of small sizes since they did not carry a lot of power (Pouts 54). Therefore, these accessories will be used to supply solar power because they have high resistance and can supply solar energy just like electricity without complications. Therefore, the Board of Directors and managers should not worry about any additional expenses to acquire cables and electrical accessories because the existing ones will not be replaced.

Will workers switch from electricity to solar energy given the speed of connectivity and efficiency of the former?

I found out that Crumbs Bakery workers likely will be very receptive to a feasibility study. Moreover, if Crumbs Bakery installs and uses solar energy employees will have a positive attitude towards it because they will not have unnecessary restrictions regarding the use of microwaves, water heaters and fans in their offices (Miller 72). The fact that more than 80% of employees responded positively to my questionnaires shows that they are ready to embrace and start using the new source of energy in the company. It is important to explain that workers appreciate the speed and efficiency of electricity, but they also wanted to work in a clean environment (Brown 26). This motivated them to develop positive attitudes towards the projects of installing solar panels in the company.

What impacts will the new source of energy have on the quality and quantity of products and services offered by the company?

I discovered that Crumbs bakery has four major production processes that include wheat drying, milling, baking and refrigeration. These processes require different amounts of electricity depending on the intensity of energy required. The processes of grinding wheat and baking flour consume a lot of energy compared to other processes. Each process consumes about 6 megawatts of electricity per day while other processes require less energy. The ten solar panels will generate adequate energy to ensure all the operations of Crumbs Bakery are not affected by inadequate power. In addition, the energy produced will accommodate other machines when the company expands. Solar energy eliminates unexpected power blackouts and this means that the company will have seamless production and maintain the supply of its products (Boxwell 75).

Research Methods

Acquire a basic understanding of how solar panels produce and supply energy

Mr. Jackson Willis pointed me to several working illustrations about the use of solar energy. In addition, I conducted literature review that fell into the following categories. First, the general introduction to alternative sources of power in periodicals and science and technology magazines. In addition, scholarly articles on energy sources and their future offered a platform to know the society’s trend regarding clean sources of energy. Moreover, manufacturers’ websites offered invaluable information about types of solar panels and their specifications. This helped me to realize that ten solar panels, each producing 300 megawatts would be appropriate for our company.

Research staff attitudes towards alternative sources of energy

I prepared questionnaires to collect information from workers regarding the installation of solar energy. The feedback I received from them showed that they supported the project and were looking forward to when it would begin. Online sources were important in helping me to evaluate the attitude of workers to new sources of energy (Miller 87). I sent emails to workers and some stakeholders to field-test the questionnaire. The feedback showed a general approval of the project.

Research infrastructural compatibility

I invited Mr. Jackson Willis, Lawrence Hopkins and Steven Howard to examine the current electricity infrastructure of the company and determine whether it can support solar energy. They approved the existing cables, switches, sockets and other accessories as suitable to supply and control solar energy. In addition, I invited the company’s electrician, Mr. Jackson Morris, who confirmed that the cables and other accessories used will not be replaced after the installation of solar energy.

Financial impacts

I compared the bills paid by this company with those from other similar companies that use alternative sources of energy. In addition, I contacted energy specialists like David Johns and Robert Elvis who confirmed that solar energy is cheaper than electricity. Therefore, there are high prospects that the company will save on its energy costs.

Data analysis and presentation of report

I prepared a draft report and asked my colleagues who also presented their bids to work on this project for their approval. I asked them to offer their suggestions to help improve the quality of this document before drafting the final copy.

Results

Structure and functions of Solar Panels

Solar panels are flat glass, fiber and wire structures manufacture to trap energy from the sun. They are usually placed on raised grounds and exposed to the sun to ensure they trap sun’s rays. The components of these structures are made to convert solar energy into electricity, which is then transmitted to main power houses. The power is then distributed to various sections depending on their requirements. Solar energy is suitable in this organization because of its location in a moderately dry region (Maeda 59).

Staff Attitudes

The response I received from workers proved that they are ready to start using solar energy. The management appreciated the need to use alternative sources of energy to reduce electricity bills. Therefore, the staff of Crumbs Bakery has a positive attitude towards this project.

Infrastructural compatibility

Electricians and solar experts confirmed that the existing electrical accessories will not be replaced because they will be used to supply and control solar energy. Therefore, there will be no need of purchasing new electric accessories.

Financial impacts

The proposed installation of the solar panels will reduce the energy expenses from the current $ 7,000 to about $ 4,500. In addition, there will be no recurrent and fixed energy charges that are common in electricity bills. Therefore, the company will save energy and reduce its electricity expenses (Brown 41).

Conclusions

The installation and use of solar panels will reduce the energy expenses of Crumbs Bakery because it is cheap and affordable. Its supply is guaranteed and there are no limits to its use. The solar panel infrastructure will be compatible with that of electricity and this will save the company unnecessary expenses and wastage of time. Workers have a positive attitude towards this project and they are ready to switch from electricity to solar energy. The quality and quantity of the products of Crumbs bakery will not be affected because there will be no difference between the voltage of energy supplied by solar panels and electricity.

Recommendation

I recommend that Crumbs Bakery proceed with its feasibility study of the possibility of using solar panels when the company expands. The existing energy supply infrastructure does not need to be changed; however, there is the need to conduct research and identify the existence or otherwise of solar specific accessories (Maeda 64). It is necessary to consider conducting feasibility studies to identify ways of improving the quality of products of this company and using supportive sources of energy like steam to supplement solar power.

Works Cited

Boxwell, Michael. Solar Electricity Handbook – 2013 Edition: A Simple Practical Guide to Solar Energy – Designing and Installing Photovoltaic Solar Electric Systems. Melbourne: Greenstream Publishing, 2012. Print.

Brown, Dwayne. The Beginner’s Guide to Solar Power: How to Save A LOT of Money the Easy Way. New York: Wiley, 2012. Print.

Hurley, Phillip. Build Your Own Solar Panel: Generate Electricity from the Sun. New York: Good Ideas Creative Services, 2012. Print.

Maeda, Martha. How to Solar Power Your Home Everything You Need to Know Explained Simply (Back-To-Basics Conserving). New York: Atlantic Publishing Group, 2011. Print.

Miller, Steven. A Guide to Understanding Basic Solar Component. New Jersey: Prentice Hall, 2010. Print.

Pouts, Michael. An Introduction to the Challenges Facing Modern Sources of Energy. New York: Wiley, 2011. Print.

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