Going Solar: Key Considerations for Commercial Businesses
Updated: Jul 24
Installing solar panels on your commercial property can yield tremendous savings on electric bills and reduce your carbon footprint. However, transitioning to solar energy does require careful planning and consideration of several key factors. In this article, we’ll explore the most important elements to weigh when deciding to go solar for your business.
Assessing Your Roof Space and Solar Access
One of the first steps is evaluating whether your roof has adequate space and solar access to support an array of solar panels. GAIN Renewables can conduct a site assessment to analyze your roof's solar potential. South-facing rooftops with little shade from trees or other buildings are ideal, as they will be exposed to direct sunlight for maximum energy production. If your roof slopes, angle the panels to optimize solar capture throughout the day. Also account for the necessary space between panels and around vents or skylights.
Understanding Your Energy Usage Patterns
Take a close look at your electric bills to analyze your business’s energy usage patterns over daily, monthly, and seasonal cycles. This will help determine what size solar system makes sense for your facility. The experts at GAIN Renewables can assess your energy usage and requirements to properly size your solar system. Do you use more energy during business hours, when solar panels are most productive? How much demand is there at night? Examining usage will prevent over- or under-sizing your system. High-use months may also indicate adding battery storage.
Calculating the Required Solar System Size
Once GAIN Renewables has analyzed your roof and energy usage, we can recommend the optimal solar system size for your business. Factors like building square footage, local weather and sunlight hours, and the desired energy offset percentage are taken into account. GAIN Renewables' solar experts will evaluate all considerations during a site evaluation to determine the ideal system design and specifications.
Understanding Financing and Incentive Options
There are a variety of incentives, tax credits, rebates, and financing options available to improve affordability and ROI for commercial solar projects. The Federal Investment Tax Credit offers a 26% tax credit for systems installed by the end of 2022, which drops year by year. Some states and utilities also provide additional tax credits, performance-based incentives, or renewable energy certificates you can sell.
You may also want to explore solar loans, Power Purchase Agreements, Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy financing, and other options to find the best financial package for your business. GAIN Renewables can explain available options during quoting to maximize savings.
Investigating Permitting and Regulations
Most commercial solar projects will require permits and inspections to comply with building codes and safety standards. Research local solar permitting processes and document requirements like site plans, structural drawings, electric diagrams, etc. to smooth the application process. Also investigate zoning ordinances, neighborhood restrictions, utility company policies, grid interconnection requirements, and any other regulations that may apply to your commercial solar installation.
Choosing the Right Solar Products
With so many solar panel, inverter, and racking options on the market, it’s essential to choose high-quality products suited to your facility’s needs. GAIN Renewables has extensive experience selecting the best solar equipment and will recommend the right products for your specific project requirements, building specifications, and budget.
Evaluating the Project Timeline
The length of time it takes to install a solar power system can vary depending on several factors. These include the size of the solar system being installed, the number of workers available to do the installation, weather conditions during the installation, and how long it takes to obtain permits. The actual installation work typically takes between one and two weeks once all preparations are complete. Make sure to account for project planning and design, permitting, equipment procurement, and construction scheduling when evaluating your timeline. GAIN Renewables provides detailed project schedules so you know what to expect during each phase of the process. We work efficiently to design, permit, and install your solar system so you can start realizing savings as soon as possible. Plan around when you hope to start benefiting from solar energy generation.
Going solar represents a major investment in your business’s future sustainability and cost savings. Taking the time to carefully evaluate these key considerations will set your solar project up for the greatest return on investment and positive outcome. GAIN Renewables is here to help guide you through the entire process to ensure your business’s unique needs and goals are met. With the right solar design and quality installation from GAIN Renewables, your company can benefit from clean solar energy for decades to come. Ready to go solar for your business? Get in touch with GAIN Renewables today at tad@GAINrenewables.com to start your solar journey.