Commercial Solar Energy FAQs 2018-01-19T17:20:47+00:00

Common Questions About Commercial Solar Energy

Learn More About Solar Energy for Your Business

Businesses throughout Southern California are choosing commercial solar energy to save money, reduce demand charges, and show their commitment to a cleaner environment. We’re here to help you through the confusion. Common questions include which equipment to use, product and workmanship warranties, and which financing option is best for your business. If you have a question we haven’t addressed below, give us a call at 619-743-9193 or click button below.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Why install solar energy for my business?

Commercial solar installations are helping San Diego businesses save thousands in electricity costs every year. As utility rates continue to rise, business owners are taking advantage of the variety of available financing options to achieve better pricing for their power needs.

On average, businesses see about a 75% reduction in energy costs by choosing to install a commercial solar energy system. Incentives are still available to reduce the cost of solar even further, such as the 30% Investment Tax Credit. The Net Energy Metering benefit will also continue to give the best economics for energy exchange with the utility.

Is solar energy a smart decision for my business?

All types of businesses throughout San Diego County are going solar. There are few better decisions a business owner can make to reduce operating costs and secure a solid return on investment, than to invest in a solar energy system.

Available incentives, such as the 30% Investment Tax Credit and accelerated depreciation, paired with the value of Net Metering and a variety of financing options, make this a fantastic time to go solar. You’ll be able to lock-in low energy rates for the next 20-25 years. You’ll also have the opportunity to show your customers that you are committed to a better future with clean energy.

What is net metering?

Net Energy Metering is an arrangement that compensates a business with grid-connected solar for energy exchanged with the utility. Instead of disconnecting from the utility, most businesses remain a customer of the utility and install enough solar panels to offset all or most of the electricity they consume. Some of this power is consumed immediately on-site, but the rest is sent to the utility to generate energy credits at close to retail rates to be used later at night when the solar panels aren’t producing electricity.

You’ll be able to reduce your electricity costs significantly, and utilize the grid as a virtual battery or energy savings bank. You’ll also be grandfathered for 20 years, ensuring the value of a solar energy system investment. Click here for a detailed explanation of NEM 2.0 (the current Net Metering agreement).

Questions About Commercial Solar Financing

Should I buy or should I lease solar energy?

While owning a solar energy system tends to be the trend for the residential market right now, many businesses choose to go solar through a lease or power-purchase-agreement (PPA). Though the best ROI is seen with a cash purchase or financed-to-own solar panel system, many businesses don’t have or don’t want to dedicate the resources necessary.

Leases and PPAs will significantly reduce utility costs (typically saving 40% or more of your current costs). Request a free consultation and let our expert solar analysts help you decide what’s best for your business.

What finance-to-own options are available?

Loans for commercial solar panel systems are limited, usually due to the project size required by most businesses. Small businesses requiring systems less than 30kW have a few more options than larger energy consumers. One of the most innovative financing options, available for most of San Diego County, is YGRENE (a Property-Assessed Clean Energy program).

Like other PACE programs, this type of financing allows you to utilize the buildings property taxes to fund the project. The big advantage is that you’ll be able to take the 30% tax credit and take accelerated depreciation on the solar energy system, giving you a better bottom line.

What is a PPA?

Power-Purchase-Agreements (PPAs) allow you to enter into a long-term contract (typically 15-20 years) to reduce your energy costs. Instead of purchasing traditional power from the utility, you’re agreeing to purchase all the electricity produced by a third-party-owned (TPO) solar energy system.

The size of system installed is based on your consumption, and you’ll still be grid-tied which allows you to take advantage of Net Metering and use the utility as a virtual battery. Most businesses find that this option will save 20%-40% on their current electricity rates with no up-front costs.

Questions Regarding Commercial Solar Equipment

Which solar panels should I install?

There are as many manufacturers of solar equipment as there are solar installers in San Diego County — over 400! There are several factors that can make the decision easier when choosing solar panels for your business. Solar panel pricing, wattage, product warranty, and company stability are great measures to help you make the right decision.

Ultimately, installing a solar energy system for your business is about saving money on your electricity costs. If roof space is not an issue, you can usually find a better price on lower wattage panels, such as Canadian or SolarWorld solar panels. If you have limitations on roof space or want the premium products, choosing a premium all-in-one solution like the SunPower Helix system may be the right decision for your commercial solar needs.

At SolarTech, we offer several solar panel options to achieve your solar goal, whether it’s getting the most cost savings or owning a best-in-class solar energy system.

Should my business install central or micro inverters?

Most commercial solar installations utilize central inverters instead of mircoinverters. Microinverters, which are often used to mitigate shade impact or varied performance of several arrays, are not typically issues experienced when installing a solar energy system on a flat/open roof space of a business. Central inverters cost less and minimize point-of-failure concerns by drastically reducing equipment used.

Should I install Solar + Energy Storage?

Commercial energy needs are a great application for energy storage solutions, however, the cost of battery technology and the current Net Metering benefits make it a less attractive option. The greatest advantage to installing solar with energy storage for your business now would be to minimize peak demand and the associated charges from the utility. Every commercial solar project SolarTech installs is storage-ready, so when the cost of batteries come down enough to make it an economically viable option, you’ll be able to add this to your energy system and save even more.

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