5 Surprising Facts About Going Solar for Your Business
If you own or manage a commercial building, you've probably considered installing solar panels. With solar energy tax credits, rapidly dropping prices, and the allure of predictable electric bills, solar is an increasingly popular choice for businesses looking to go green and cut costs. But there may be a few things you don't know about making the switch to solar energy. Read on for 5 surprising facts about solar for commercial buildings that could convince you it's time to go solar.
1. Installation is Quick and Painless
Many commercial building owners worry that installing solar will be disruptive for tenants and involve lengthy construction. However, most solar panel installations take just a few days and require minimal work onsite. Panels are mounted via racking systems on the roof, requiring no penetration into the roof surface itself. Wiring is run through conduits along the roof and building exterior. And the inverter and other equipment take up just a small closet or section of space. Tenants experience minimal noise or disturbance. Just make sure to inform them of the installation in advance.
2. Solar Works Even in Cold, Cloudy Locations
While sunnier cities like Phoenix and Los Angeles see higher solar output, solar also thrives in colder northern cities. Solar panels work year-round, even when there is cloud coverage or snow on the panels (the snow often just slides off!). Places like Chicago, Boston, and Seattle still average 4-5 hours of sunshine per day for power generation. Solar panels can produce energy even on cloudy days. So even if you live in a colder climate, solar can still pay off.
3. Financial Incentives Sweeten the Deal
Between federal, state, and even local incentives, there are plenty of financial benefits to make solar more appealing. The federal solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC) offers a 26% tax credit for systems installed in 2022–2023. And many states and utilities offer additional rebates, tax credits, and other incentives. These can offset the upfront cost significantly. Some states even allow net metering, letting you get bill credits when your solar panels produce excess energy. Be sure to research all the available incentives.
4. Price Has Dropped 85% in 10 Years
The cost of solar panel systems has dropped dramatically over the past decade. “A significant portion of the cost declines over the past decade can be attributed to an 85% cost decline in module price. A decade ago, the module alone cost around $2.50 per watt, and now an entire utility-scale PV system costs around $1 per watt,” said NREL Senior Financial Analyst David Feldman. “With similar reductions in hardware costs for storage systems, PV and storage have become vastly more affordable energy resources across the nation.” This makes payback periods on solar investments much faster. Lower prices have opened up solar energy for more businesses. It's an affordable time to invest in solar.
5. Batteries Let You Use Solar at Night
While solar only produces energy during daylight hours, battery storage systems let you "store" excess energy for use at night. Tesla, LG, Generac, and others now offer commercial-scale battery systems compatible with solar. Batteries give you energy independence and backup power capability. While batteries add cost, they maximize solar benefits. And as battery technology also improves, prices are coming down each year.
With minimal disruption to tenants, flexible mounting options, and improved financial incentives, now is the prime time for commercial solar. Even in cold or cloudy regions, solar can yield profitable and reliable returns. Batteries provide even more opportunity. As solar technology keeps advancing and prices fall, solar makes increasing financial sense for commercial buildings. Take a closer look at how solar could benefit your property today. If you're ready to explore solar for your commercial building, get in touch with GAIN Renewables at tad@GAINrenewables.com. Our team can assess your property and provide a customized solar proposal to start you on your solar journey.