Commercial Solar Power: At What Point Is It Worth It?
You’ve probably noticed the growing popularity of rooftop solar panel systems, but did you know that many companies are also installing solar panels? It’s true! In fact, commercial solar installations are often significantly more effective at generating vast amounts of renewable energy thanks to their wide, flat roofs. Read on to learn more about commercial solar power and at what point it’s worth it.
How Commercial Solar Differs From Residential
The largest difference between commercial and residential solar panel systems is the scope. Since a single home requires far less energy than a commercial building, homeowners can get away with smaller systems.
Additionally, while most residential solar panel owners keep their systems on the roof, commercial systems don’t share the same limitation. While the roof is usually the first place that installers think to put solar panels, commercial buildings often have carports or lots with excess space for solar panels.
Depending on your operation, you may even use a “power tower,” which is an array of mirrors designed to focus rays onto your solar panels for better energy production.
The angle of the roof also restricts residential solar owners. While it’s ideal to set up your solar panels so that they face south, you can’t do anything to change your home’s orientation. Commercial buildings typically have flat roofs, which means installers can easily orient solar panels to be in an optimal position.
Finally, a commercial solar installation typically allows you to opt for the most efficient solar panels. Residential installations are often curtailed by the high cost of the initial investment, while commercial installations generally seek to find the quickest return on investment.
More efficient panels allow you to make back your money quickly, since you need less space, fewer materials, and less planning. On top of that, the most efficient systems also tend to last the longest.
Commercial Solar Costs
Since commercial applications require far more solar panels to create a viable renewable energy source, the initial investment cost is also higher. While no two businesses are the same, you can expect a commercial system for a small organization to cost around $50,000. If you have a large industrial facility, your system may end up costing closer to $1 million.
While that number may seem high, remember that the speed of recouping your investment goes up as the scale of your system increases.
Additionally, remember that tax credits, rebates, and government incentives exist for businesses just as they do for residential systems. For example, the federal solar tax credit allows you to deduct 26 percent of the cost of the system.
Benefits of Commercial Solar
If you’re familiar with the benefits of solar panels for residential settings, you also know how incredible solar power can be for commercial applications. The only difference is that the scale of the benefits is much larger.
Average residential energy production with solar panels is between five and 10 kW, while many commercial solar panel systems can easily produce 50kW—your business may produce 10 times more energy than a residential system!
If your business is committed to sustainability, installing solar panels is an effective way of showing it. Conventional energy generation emits hundreds (and sometimes thousands, depending on the size of your business) of metric tons of carbon dioxide. The 50-kW system we mentioned before can produce about 65,000 kWh of clean energy every year.
Consumers consistently choose to support companies that communicate eco-friendliness as one of their core tenets, so solar energy gives you the opportunity to present a concrete way that your business is helping fight climate change.
You know better than most that energy costs are among the most expensive aspects of running a business. Energy Star estimates that America’s small businesses spend over $60 billion on electricity every year, and those costs are not projected to go down in time.
Solar panel systems give you the opportunity to offset your energy costs predictably with fixed rates. Since most solar panels last around 25 years, you can reliably budget energy costs for the next few decades. After a few years of savings, you’ll pay off the initial investment and you can reinvest all that money into your organization.
Frequently Asked Questions
Before you pull the trigger and call us about commercial solar installation, check out these frequently asked questions to put your mind at ease.
What Value Do Solar Panels Give?
Solar panels are an invaluable asset for any business. They can help you offset huge chunks (if not all) of your energy costs while fostering an image of sustainability for your company. With all the governmental incentives to get into solar power, there’s no better time than now to make the investment for your company.
How Many Panels Will You Need?
Your solar panel needs will vary greatly from other businesses. There are a few ways to calculate the number of solar panels you will need. You may need to maximize space with fewer high-efficiency panels, or you may have all the space in the world and want to opt for less expensive options. Usually, businesses purchase only the panels they need to offset their energy costs—to determine this magic number, you should reach out to a local solar installer and get a proposal.
Can You Use Them in Industrial and Commercial Applications?
Of course! Most of the time, commercial and industrial applications are more valuable than residential panels. As the scale of your system increases, the price-per-watt decreases, which means you get more bang for your buck. Since commercial and industrial applications don’t preclude you from net metering, solar tax credits, and other deductions, it’s a great investment.
How Long Is the Installation Process?
The installation process is typically longer for commercial applications than residential systems. Depending on the size you’re hoping for, installation can take weeks or months to complete. The easiest way to learn how long your installation will take is to contact an installer and get a quote.
Now that you know more about commercial solar power and when it’s worth it, reach out to us to get a solar quote today. You’ll never believe how much money you can save with this incredible process!