Adding a commercial solar panel system doesn’t just help your company go green: it’s also a great long-term investment.
The payoff for commercial solar panel installation takes as little as three years, and can be even shorter when you factor in tax breaks and financial programs for your commercial property. Plus, savings on utility bills can be huge!
What does a solar panel installation involve, and how practical is it for your business? Let’s take a deeper dive into the system installation process and how the solar experts at TEMA can help your business realize some major energy savings!
Table of Contents
- See How Commercial Solar Panel Installation Results In a Positive ROI
- How Does Commercial Solar Installation Provide Power?
- Why Consider Solar Panels from a Commercial Solar Company?
- So, You Want to Install Commercial Solar Panels. Now What?
- Step 1: Evaluation
- Step 2: Solar Panel Design
- Step 3: System Construction
- Step 4: Commissioning
- Tax Incentives and Loans for Commercial Solar Installations
- Commercial Solar Energy FAQs and Answers
- How does a commercial solar system save you money, if your property still uses grid power?
- What happens when you make more power than you need?
- Is net metering limited to solar and electric?
- Where should my commercial solar power be installed?
- How long does it take for commercial solar panels to pay for themselves?
- Do commercial solar panels depreciate?
- Should I look into a commercial solar panel warranty?
- Commercial Solar Energy FAQs and Answers
- Get the Quality Installation You Need for Your Solar Power System
How Does Commercial Solar Installation Provide Power?
Aside from scale, a commercial solar installation and a residential solar installation are largely identical. Each commercial solar panel is set up and connected to an inverter, which turns the DC electricity from the panels into AC electricity. In most cases, this power goes through a special electric meter to the grid. The meter measures the net flow of electricity from the system to the grid, and from the grid to the buildings on the property. It also cuts the connection to the grid when there’s a power outage.
If you need backup power for critical systems, batteries can be added to store electricity locally. When the power grid fails, these batteries take over, serving the same function as a generator.
Photovoltaic construction goes through the same phases as any other construction. The viability of the project is evaluated, a plan is created around the needs of your location, the system is built, and the completed project is approved for operation.
Why Consider Solar Panels from a Commercial Solar Company?
There are a host of reasons why commercial property owners and homeowners alike consider solar panel installation.
- Decrease your carbon footprint.
- Cut your electricity bill and other energy costs.
- Increase your commercial property value.
- Place a greater focus on sustainability and renewable energy.
- Eliminate greenhouse gas emissions.
So, You Want to Install Commercial Solar Panels. Now What?
Once you’ve done some research, the decision to install a commercial solar energy solution is often a simple one to make. And, what’s even better is that the process for installing solar is almost as simple as making the decision to move forward!
Step 1: Evaluation
The first step is to look at the viability of a solar installation. Like any major construction, you need the appropriate permits from your local municipality, and there may be up-front costs, like zoning permits.
You also need to figure out how to make the installation cost effective. This evaluation includes shade analysis as well as structural, topographical and geological surveys conducted by an experienced installation company. Your evaluation should answer four questions:
- Do you have the right to build solar on your commercial property?
- How will your system connect to the power grid?
- What parts of your property can support solar panels? Can your building handle a rooftop solar system design?
- How effective will your solar panels be, and how much power can you expect to generate?
Step 2: Solar Panel Design
Designers look for the most effective option for installing the commercial solar energy panels, including their placement and the equipment needed to connect them to the grid. They also plan out supporting infrastructure, like panel supports and wiring.
Step 3: System Construction
Construction times for solar energy systems can vary from a few weeks for small office installations to a few months for large factory and warehouse building roofs.
There are two ways to mount a commercial solar panel to a roof. Ballasted racking uses weights, typically cement blocks, to hold the panel in place. This works well for flat roofs. Attached racking uses hardware to connect panels to a sloped roof. Other mounting options, including carports and ground installations, use their own specialized mounting systems.
Step 4: Commissioning
Once the solar system is built, it’s evaluated to confirm that it meets the original build specifications. Once the utility company sees that everything is in order, they grant you permission to get grid-tied (connected to the power grid).
Tax Incentives and Loans for Commercial Solar Installations
The Federal Solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC) applies to both residential and commercial solar panel installations. The Inflation Reduction Act, passed in 2022, increases and extends these credits.
Until 2033, all photovoltaic systems earn a 30% solar tax credit. Commercial installations can earn additional credits for using U.S.-built components, and there are credits available for installations built in low-income areas or places that used to use coal-generated power.
For-profit businesses are only allowed to apply these credits to owed Federal taxes, but these credits can be rolled forward. Nonprofits can get these credits as a direct payment or transfer of credit.
What about local installations? Both Ohio and Pennsylvania have adopted Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) programs, which can help you get affordable financing for commercial solar projects. Ohio also doesn’t charge sales tax on solar equipment bought by commercial customers.
Commercial Solar Energy FAQs and Answers
As with most investments, large and small business owners have a host of questions about the return on investment stemming beyond financing options and tax credits.
How does a commercial solar system save you money, if your property still uses grid power?
While the solar panels are active, this power is subtracted from the electricity you use from the grid.
What happens when you make more power than you need?
You may qualify for net metering. The additional power earns credits that are applied when you need more power than you’re generating. Net metering is mandated by Ohio law for all investor-owned utilities. These credits can be below the retail rate.
Is net metering limited to solar and electric?
Other utilities have the option of offering net metering at their chosen rate. Without this metering, you only earn credit toward power you are currently using.
Where should my commercial solar power be installed?
They can be mounted to flat roofs, while parking lots can be converted into solar carports. If you have open areas at your facility, they can be covered with ground-mounted panels.
How long does it take for commercial solar panels to pay for themselves?
The range is expansive; it could be anywhere between 4 to 12 years before your panels begin paying for themselves. Stick with the conservative end and estimate about a decade.
Do commercial solar panels depreciate?
Just like anything else does, yes. Look into the Modified Accelerated Cost Recovery System (MACRS) to see if you can write off solar panel depreciation.
Should I look into a commercial solar panel warranty?
Absolutely. Many panels have 10- to 25-year warranties. Once you have one, make sure you understand it and know what’s included and covered.
Get the Quality Installation You Need for Your Solar Power System
Are you still wondering if solar solutions are right for your commercial building? We can help. There’s no such thing as too many questions when it comes to commercial solar panel installation.
TEMA Roofing Services is an experienced commercial solar installer, with the expertise to handle roof installations of all types, too! We understand what it takes to set up a surface that supports extra weight.
If you’re looking to increase your HVAC system’s efficiency to improve your bottom line, we do that, too. Learn more about our services, and request a free quote. We can help you with every step, from initial planning and construction to repairs and maintenance.