Going Solar at your commercial facility is a smart move and you will most likely see it positively impact your bottom line by reducing or eliminating electricity costs. But before you start requesting competing solar proposals, take a minute to check whether or not your business can truly benefit from Going Solar. I’ve put together the top 4 questions we ask our customers before considering if their business is a good application for solar.
Read through the 4 items below that will help you determine whether or not your business can benefit from Going Solar:
#1. Do you own the building where your business is located? Yes.
This is kind of a no-brainer, but hey- there are no dumb questions here. This one comes up a lot, and frankly it is most important. Installing a solar system requires construction on the existing building or land, so it only makes sense to install a solar system if you own your building/property. If you do not own your property, consider bringing up the idea of going solar with your landlord and you may be able to reduce your energy costs without footing the bill! If you are indeed the owner to your building or property, that’s 1 out of 4.
#2. Is your current electricity bill greater than $200/month? Yes.
If you’re not using a lot of electricity than you may be better of sticking with your utility. Yes, it is true that solar systems pay for themselves over time, but if it is only saving you a minimal amount in electricity cost, it may take decades for the system to pay for itself. Use the $200/month rule. This rule states that if your electrical bill is over $200/month, you will most likely see economical benefits from going solar. The higher your electricity bill is, the better candidate you are, and the more you can save. Whatever amount you are already spending on electricity can potentially be offset by a solar system, and for some of our clients that means an offset of tens of thousands every month in electrical costs. What would you do with that money?
#3. Do you have sufficient space for the solar system and ample sunlight? Yes.
When thinking about installing a money-saving solar system on your facility, where would you put it? Solar systems are typically installed on the roof of a commercial facility (when possible) to reduce the ground footprint and make use of existing structures that are high off of the ground and closer to the sun, but they can be placed on the ground as well, as in many agricultural applications like this one below for the Far West Rice Mill in Nelson, CA. Take a look at your roof (if possible) throughout the day and see how often it is shaded by other structures. It is up to your solar company to determine the most cost-effective design plan for your facility, so if you’re not sure where to place your solar system, leave it to the experts. The main point of this question is to get you thinking about a location for a large solar system. If your roof is constantly shaded and you have no land to build the system on, it may be difficult for you to offset your electrical bill and see serious benefits.
Also remember, the bigger the electrical bill, the more space needed to offset that bill. If you feel you are in this scenario, have CitiGreen review your options with you. We will analyze your usage amount and facility size to determine how you can benefit from Going Solar. Generally, if you’ve got space on your roof, you can offset your bill tremendously by Going Solar.
#4. Are you eligible for financing options? Yes or Not Sure.
10 years ago, this was the most difficult question. “It’s too expensive”, was the common problem for business owners. At that time, solar technology was gaining more and more popularity and prices were sky-high. Solar only made sense for large businesses who could wait for the long payback (sometimes as much as 15 years) and reap the increased bottom line, but for others, it was just simply a matter of coming up with the money. Fast forward to today and everything has changed dramatically. Don’t get me wrong, solar is still an expensive project. But not only has the technology itself gotten a lot better, but with the solar investment tax credit, leases, and other financing options, it has become much easier for large and small businesses alike to Go Solar (and much more beneficial too- we’ve seen payback periods of 2-3 years with a 30-40% ROI).
Of course you can always pay for your solar system in cash, but we know that for most businesses putting up that much capital can be risky. More common options include starting with no money down where construction on the solar system begins and the business/building owner starts seeing utility savings immediately. This type of option is prevalent and helps just about anyone start putting more money into their own pocket instead of their utility’s. If you’re not sure if you are eligible for financing, you can work with CitiGreen to apply and review your available options. No matter what happens, with the amount of savings at stake it’s better to know than to have wondered!
Will You Benefit?
And that’s it. In our 10+ years in the Solar Industry, if you can check off all 4 items, than your business has a very high chance of benefiting from Going Solar, so start looking into it! This could mean a reduced carbon footprint, increased social responsibility, reduced expenses, and higher profits for your business; not to mention the 30-40% ROI. If you answered “not sure” to any of the questions, the next step is to request a building assessment and solar design from a CitiGreen representative. Most solar developers will prepare comprehensive proposals that detail your immediate savings, return on investment, and payback period. Don’t delay. Move on to the next step with the knowledge you have and get detailed information from an expert. Electricity rates continue to increase sometimes as much as twice a year (See PG&E’s rate history) and it just makes plain sense to start putting the money into your wallet instead of your utility’s if you can.