Many businesses are in a challenging time right now. But as states and communities come back from lockdown and into a new phase, we have an opportunity to look for new solutions and better ways of doing things. Solar energy can offer companies and organizations a slew of advantages, at no upfront cost.
You can learn all about no-cost solar for commercial business owners in our next Lunch and Learn Webinar on Weds, June 24th at 12pm. Register here!
What makes a business a good solar energy candidate?
To be an especially good candidate for a commercial solar energy system, it helps to have some or all of these factors:
- Energy-using activities going on in the building, so that the finances work out: the business can go from a high electric bill to a low solar contract payment (the solar production is not shareable - it is associated with the metered usage onsite)
- A roof material conducive to mounting the solar panels
- Sunny roof space available facing near south, enough for at least 100 kW of solar modules
- Occupied by owner, or owner is willing to give permission and be an enthusiastic partner on the project, to avoid delays that can impact the success of the project
- A freestanding building is best, rather than a unit within an office park or commercial strip with many other tenants/occupants
- No plans to close or relocate the business, church or organization over the next 15-20 years
- Any bodies that would have governance over the building like a diocese, corporate headquarters, executive board or managing committee are pro-solar
- The business or organization cares about reducing pollution and helping the planet, and may have written sustainability goals in place or just a green company culture or brand
Here in the DMV where we operate, we’d love to see more solar energy located at churches, businesses and all kinds of buildings. In Virginia, in the past the options for non-residential solar financing arrangements were severely curtailed, but now as long as the planned project is 50 kW or larger, businesses can take advantage of the ability to work with a third party who will own the system, providing cost savings to the business over the status-quo electric rate from the utility company.
Maryland and DC have long had friendlier rules for commercial solar, and now is still a great time to explore the benefits. Going solar means freeing up funds to redirect into whatever your business needs now, instead of rising electricity costs.
Examples of businesses that are ideal for going solar
See the full stories of some of our favorite non-residential solar installations that we’ve performed in the portfolio section of our website, like this Crossfit gym,
this condo building, this farm, this church, and this monastery.
As part of the Amicus Solar cooperative, we are in touch with other solar installers around the country where solar PPAs for businesses have been legal much longer, and in lots of those states commercial solar is much more common. For example, Solar Impact in Florida has worked on Swamp Head brewery, public and private schools, and even an Air Force base.
Around here, we actually expect private schools and daycares to be among the best settings for a solar PPA. Think about it: the buildings are occupied most days of the week year-round so there’s steady heating, cooling and lighting demand; the building tends to stand on its own for security reasons and be large enough to host solar arrays; the educational mission fits with environmental stewardship, plus new families enrolling students will be excited to hear about a clean energy project; and the ownership structure lends itself to agile decision-making, based on money savings and planning ahead for future financial strength in the face of public health and other crises. What other kinds of companies could be a good fit?
Sound like somewhere you know?
If these solar projects on churches, businesses, and other buildings have jogged your brain for some places you know that would be perfect for solar, don’t keep it to yourself! Connect them to us and it can lead to a fantastic new solar project in the community, to fight climate change and promote renewable energy.
Our industry, and our company in particular, have never been more ready to take on new non-residential solar work, and thanks to improved policies in the states we operate in, commercial entities can now go solar more easily and profitably than ever. Drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org to suggest a building you think would be perfect for a solar PPA!