Commercial Solar in California
Save money to reinvest in your business and highlight your company’s commitment to sustainability
It’s as simple as this – choosing to go solar saves you money that would otherwise be spent on utility bills, month after month, year after year. Tax-paying companies are eligible for +50% off the entire price of the system in tax credits, drastically shortening the payback period for an investment in solar – it really is a no brainer!
California is a great place for businesses to pursue commercial solar systems, both due to the rebates the state offers and the ample sunlight we get in Southern California year-round. Solar currently supplies 20% of the electricity across the state, and with more and more businesses getting on board, this number is only expected to climb. California has the largest solar market in the country and has been a long-time proponent of solar energy, which is a stance that is reflected in the rebates and credits offered by the state to companies who choose to pursue renewable energy at their facilities. Commercial solar systems not only dramatically reduce your business’ environmental impact, but they can also open the door to extreme energy savings, provide you with great marketing collateral, and keep your business from falling victim to rate hikes and power shortages that continue to worsen every year.
Commercial Solar Systems
In principle, a commercial solar system is quite similar to a residential solar system, though there are a few expectations to consider. While many residential solar systems are off-grid and completely independent of utility powered electricity, commercial solar systems are grid-tied. To set up a commercial system, solar grid-tie inverters are matched with high volume solar panels (like residential solar panels, just more powerful) to provide solar energy for a multitude of applications. Here is a brief overview of how commercial solar systems work:
- Solar panels are mounted. Commercial solar panels can be mounted on a roof, in a field, over a parking facility, and more—wherever gets the most sunlight, we will get your panels mounted.
- The power is created. The sunlight on solar cells is sent to an inverter, which converts DC power to AC power—AC power is what is sent to you from a traditional utility grid. Commercial inverters can be extremely powerful, so they can meet the requirements of many commercial applications.
- The power travels. Once the power has been converted, it will travel from the inverter to the electrical service panel at the breaker box, where it will be distributed to electronics throughout your facility.
- Excess power is credited. If your solar panels are producing more power than your business uses, the excess will flow into the grid via your electric meter. This is how you get a credit with the utility company for the excess electricity you are producing and feeding into the grid.
The Commercial Solar Panel Installation Process
Step 1: Consultation and Planning
During the consultation stage, we will work with you to gain an understanding of your building’s structure as well as your electrical infrastructure. We will assess the requirements of your specific project to determine the best solar array for your situation and will work with you to make sure your goals are met and your savings are maximized as we customize your setup for your energy needs.
Step 2: Designing
Our team of expert installers will do a thorough survey of your location and collaborate with our engineering team to create a safe and detailed design for your project.
Step 3: Permitting and Paperwork
We will handle obtaining the necessary permits and documentation that is required to move forward with the process, making sure all your paperwork with the city, state, and the utility company is squared away.
Step 4: Installation and Inspection
Our expert installers will get your system up quickly and connect your system to our online monitoring service. Then we will show you exactly how to track your energy production and get an overview of your system directly from our mobile app. We will then coordinate an inspection with the city to ensure everything is safe and installed according to codes.
Step 5: Activation
Once the inspection is complete, your utility company will give you Permission to Operate, which means you can turn on your system and begin generating your own energy. Moving forward, you can use the mobile app to monitor your usage and production, and see the status of your system at a glance to make sure you are getting the most out of your investment.
Commercial Solar Financing
While cost is the main thing that prohibits businesses from pursuing solar energy in their operations, there are many ways to save on solar applications. California offers many rebates and tax incentives for solar installation, and there are also Federal Tax Credits, Business Development Grant Programs, and utility credits available to businesses who are interested in pursuing solar. Additionally, you can finance your solar installation and pay it off over time, so it is not an investment you will have to make in a lump sum. While the overall cost and credits available depend on many factors, for many businesses, solar does not end up being as expensive as they think.
How Much Does Commercial Solar Cost?
While every business’ actual costs and savings will vary, it is helpful to look at some general numbers to help you learn about the costs associated with commercial solar systems. The average commercial property spends over $500 in their monthly electricity usage from the utility company. After installing commercial solar panels, the average energy bill is reduced by nearly 90%. Depending on how much energy your business uses, you may even see a 100% reduction in electricity from the utility companies as well as receiving a credit for any excess energy you produce.
Does Solar Make Sense for a Small Business?
On average, businesses spend about 30% on their operating costs on utility bills—that is quite a bit of money every year. By implementing solar into your energy strategy, you can reduce your business’ energy expenses, allowing you to save money on utilities and invest those funds back into your business instead. Not only can businesses save by utilizing solar energy, but you can also use their commitment to renewable energy as a promotional item, which will showcase your sustainability to conscious consumers everywhere.
What Are the Benefits of Commercial Solar?
There are many benefits to businesses installing commercial solar systems, both to offset their utility costs and for use in marketing materials. Here are some of the top benefits our customers see from installing commercial solar systems:
The Return on Investment
Between California’s tax credits and rebates, Federal Tax Credits, business development grants, utility credits, and more, there are many options available to offset the initial investment in commercial solar energy. Your overall return on investment will vary based on specifics, but many of our clients are happy that they invested in solar when they did.
The Stability of Utility Costs
Utility rates only continue to rise, and with California getting hotter and sunnier seemingly every year, it appears that there is no end in sight. With a commercial solar system, you will not fall victim to rising utility rates and can instead sell back any excess energy produced at the inflated prices.
The PR and Marketing Opportunities
Today’s consumer is more conscious than ever when it comes to the businesses they choose to support, and commercial solar systems are a great way to show your customers that your business cares about their environmental impact. You can showcase your commitment to renewable energy, and depending on your system, even become carbon neutral in time.
Commercial Solar for Auto Dealerships
Auto dealerships are a prime candidate for commercial solar systems because of how many roofed parking structures they already require. It is estimated that car dealerships use nearly 20% more energy than an average office, but by installing solar, they can significantly reduce these costs. Solar carport installations are a popular solution, as they can protect your lot’s cars from sun and bad weather, provide a great foundation for your solar panels and give your electric fleet a reliable place to charge.
Commercial Solar for Healthcare
Among commercial buildings in the U.S., healthcare buildings are the fourth highest energy consumer on average. However, with solar installation on your roof, your car parks, or both, you can significantly reduce the energy you need to consume from the utility company and save on your annual energy costs, giving you the opportunity to further invest in lifesaving care and technology instead of in power bills.
Commercial Solar for Higher Education
With many buildings and parking structures spread out over a large area, colleges and universities have ample opportunities for spots to install solar panels and reap the rewards of reducing their energy costs. From lowering the price of powering libraries and academic facilities to students charging laptops in between class, installing a commercial solar system is a smart choice for any higher learning institution.
Commercial Solar for Local Businesses
Commercial solar systems are not just for large corporations and warehouses anymore. Small businesses can save big with a commercial solar installation, not only by reducing their energy costs but also by connecting with their local community and showcasing their commitment to environmental health to their customers.
Commercial Solar for Agriculture
Farmers are a great candidate for commercial solar installation, both because they often already have ample sun-soaked acreage and because of all the incentives available to offset the cost of solar installation. It is estimated that between state and national grants and loans, farmers can save up to 75% on the cost of installing solar for their operations—and this is in addition to the energy savings that the solar panels will provide.
Commercial Solar for Nonprofits
For nonprofits, every dollar counts—and every dollar that is spent on electric bills and utility rate hikes is a dollar that is not spent on furthering your mission in the community. With the cost of traditional electricity only continuing to rise as the cost of solar panel installation falls, going solar makes good fiscal sense for charities and nonprofits in California.
Commercial Solar for Schools
It is estimated that over 3,000 schools throughout the country have gone solar, and they will save nearly $3 billion over the next 30 years thanks to that investment. Investing in solar for your school is not just about saving on utility costs (though that is a big plus!), but it is also about educating the next generation about the importance of increasing renewable energy efforts and reducing our environmental impact. Saving on utility costs and encouraging the next generation is a great scenario brought forth by commercial solar systems.
Commercial Solar for Car Washes
While we all love a clean car, the energy usage from car washes can be tremendous. Fortunately, going solar is a great alternative for any car wash business. By offsetting energy costs, car washes can reduce their total overhead and utility costs—something that is especially important for car washes operating in Southern California.