Solar power is a big business. Globally, executives are turning more and more to solar. In the United States, solar system installations have increased by a factor of seventeen, from 1.2 gigawatts (GW) in 2008 to approximately 30 GW in 2020. This is sufficient power for about 5.7 million typical U.S. residences. Electricity costs for companies are also substantial, and businesses all over the United States are switching to solar to save on their electric bills.
Deciding if Solar Is Right for Your Company
A number of factors should be considered before you invest in a solar program. You may be a good candidate for solar if your business:
- Is located in a state like California, where the cost of energy is high
- Maintains a number of locations that feature sizable, high-quality roofs, or have sufficient land or big parking facilities near the buildings
- Wants to make lowering local energy use a priority
- Wants clients to be able to view their solar program, as a way of helping to promote the business
- Intends to adopt sustainable practices
- Needs a significant energy load to operate
Benefits of Switching to Solar
- Savings on electricity costs: The greatest benefit of installing solar for companies is the reduction in electricity charges. In places that offer net metering, you may even be able to make money by selling your extra power to local utility companies. For instance, companies that use old-fashioned power such as natural gas or coal may pay seven to 30 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh). A change in solar can result in lowering costs to two to 12 cents per kWh.
- Resilience: Besides lowered costs from a solar program, there are other incentives for companies to change to solar. For companies that use power around the clock, solar allows them to form a microgrid that makes your building into its own power station, unconnected to utility companies. A microgrid eliminates worries about loss of power and protects your business from hackers interfering with local utilities.
- Sustainability and competitive edge: These days, sustainable practices and having an advantage over competitors are strongly connected, particularly as people become more concerned about their impact on the environment. A solar program can make your company a leader in sustainability and corporate responsibility. Other businesses seeking green partnerships will take notice.
- The amount of electricity your business uses: You can choose solar panels big enough just to provide energy for the near future, or you can opt for panels big enough to supply power for years into the future. Find out if a nearby electric utility will purchase your excess energy. Alternatively, consider whether the better cost-benefit would come from storing excess energy for periods of low sunlight.
- Paying for solar panels: Some companies opt for buying solar systems with cash on hand or funds from business loans. Cash transactions open up business tax incentives and credits. An alternative is a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA), which allows a business to join forces with a solar energy provider to install and use solar on the business’s property, and to buy electricity at a set price that is less than the cost of commercial fees.
- Eligibility for tax credits and solar grants: As much as half of the costs of solar could be covered by tax credits. Your state or municipality may also provide incentives for using solar. Certain businesses, such as agribusinesses, may qualify for special grants and tax credits.
Going solar is a major decision for your company, and you’ll need all the information you can get to make the right choice. If you’re interested in learning more about how solar can benefit your business, call our experienced team today.