I’m interested in solar for my business? What are the questions I should be asking?
Solar can be a big money saver for businesses and nonprofits, but there are definitely some considerations. First of all, you are in the best position if you’re purchasing a system, rather than entering into a Power Purchase Agreement, or PPA. With a PPA, a company purchases the equipment on your behalf, and then you enter into an agreement to buy the power it generates at a set rate, often with an escalator (percentage increase every year).
With commercial electric rates and programs from SCE changing, it may be hard to evaluate the accuracy of savings projections down the road. However, with a purchase, and an average payback period of less than 10 years, you know you’ll enjoy savings for decades to come, based on the panel you select.
What are some other benefits of purchasing?
The solar system you purchase can be rapidly depreciated on a state and federal level, and there is also the Business Investment Energy Tax Credit, or ITC, depending on the tax bracket your business falls under. It can range from 25-35%, which can substantially lower your net cost.
What are other considerations for going solar?
Your electric bill is comprised of base energy usage charges as well as those for “demand” charges. Energy use costs should be offset as much as possible with the system that is installed, based on the available roof space, and the ability to install ground mounts and/or elevated ground mounts, or carports. Demand charges, on the other hand, are those additional costs for electricity during peak hours as determined by Southern California Edison. The goal for those charges is to ensure that your total electric consumption during those times stays below the volume that will trigger higher costs per watt. Be sure to choose a local company that understands all the variables and will advise you as to your best choice, not just “sell” you a system.