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Commercial Solar Energy 101

calculate payback on your commercial solar investmentWith the emphasis on going green in the business world, the demand for commercial solar energy has been on the rise. This type of energy system doesn’t benefit just the environment. It also can save companies a considerable amount of money in just a few years. Learn more about the basics of solar energy for commercial buildings, including how it works, how it helps you and what to expect before, during and after installation.

How It Works

When you have a solar panel system installed on your building’s roof, the panels absorb energy from the sun and convert it to direct current — or DC — electricity. Your building can’t use this type of electricity, so your system also will have an inverter that converts DC electricity into AC electricity, which you can use for power. That’s all there is to it. The panels will produce energy as long as there is sunlight. On rainy or cloudy days and at night, your building can still use energy from your utility company, if necessary. The panels will switch to a lower power output in order to conserve energy during these times.

Why It’s Beneficial

Finding ways to save money is always a top priority for businesses. By switching to commercial solar energy, your business will be able to spend less money on utility bills each month. Since utility costs can add up significantly for commercial properties, you’re looking at considerable savings over time. These savings can help offset the cost of having a solar panel system installed. Your business might also be able to apply for rebates and tax incentives from the federal government, which means you could be getting even more money back from the upfront costs of installation. In fact, your investment in this type of energy could end up paying off in a little over three years. The money you’ll be saving on reduced utility costs and earning back from incentives can be put toward helping your business grow.

What to Expect

If you decide to have a commercial solar energy system installed, your contractor will assess your building and determine the ideal position for the panels. After drafting a proposal, your contractor will have you look it over. If you accept the proposal, which will include the cost of the installation process and a timeframe for the project, your contractor will order the materials and help ensure that all the required paperwork is properly filed. The installation process can take up to a few weeks to complete, depending on building size. When your system is installed, your contractor will make sure that final inspections are completed and help you with the paperwork required by your utility company.