The popularity of solar energy is on the rise. The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) reported that the United States installed 2.7 gigawatts of solar PV capacity in the first quarter of 2019. That amounts to enough capacity to provide 12.7 homes with power. It’s a 10% increase compared to the previous year.
That trend doesn’t show any signs of taking a downward turn, either. SEIA predicts that PV capacity across America will more than double in the next five years. That would put the country at over 15 gigawatts installed annually.
American Businesses Make the Move to Solar Energy
Solar isn’t just for residential properties, either. Businesses have taken notice. Many are moving forward with projects to switch their operation to solar power.
Brian Brown owns the Iowa-based granite and quartz manufacturing company Millennium Surfaces. He contracted MOXIE to install solar panels on his facility in 2017. A total of 300 panels were arranged on the roof of his building.
It’s a great environmental choice, but that’s not the only reason business owners are going with renewable energy. Brown doesn’t need to be an environmentalist to appreciate the advantages of a solar-powered company.
“Ultimately, it’s about dollars and cents – though to be good stewards of nature, that’s a bonus. But if it didn’t make so much sense financially, I don’t know that we could have done it.”
Brown highlights an important factor in the going green equation. For businesses, profit is a concern. They must be able to stay financially afloat, even when the market and economy changes. Energy is an essential need for every business. It’s also a basic expense. Solar manages to provide an ideal combination of eco-benefits and financial savings for commercial enterprises.
The financial savings became even more evident shortly after Brown had the panels installed at Millennium Surfaces.
“Two weeks after I decided to go solar, Alliant announced its 10% rate hike. I didn’t even care.”
Switching to solar insulated Brown’s business from the increasing rates of the power company. Even a small rate hike can be a disaster for small businesses.
That’s not to say that Brown dove right into the project without a second thought. He started by researching the technology and costs. After a consultation, Brown found that his building was situated perfectly for solar production. The roof is large and flat and received significant sunlight throughout the day.
Businesses of all sizes are adopting solar technology. Big names like Johnson & Johnson, FedEx, and McGraw Hill are on board. Even retail titan Walmart announced plans to host solar panels on 130 sites as part of its Project Gigaton efforts. Once complete, the new additions will bring the company’s total solar locations to 500 across the United States and Puerto Rico.
7 Reasons Your Business Should Use Solar Power
Every industry has different energy demands. A viable power source needs to be adaptable, reliable, and affordable. Today’s solar technology has proven to be all three. What are the advantages of switching your business to solar energy?
1. Lower Your Operating Costs
Yes, there is an upfront cost associated with buying and installing the panels. However, once they are in place, you will lower your operating costs. The average U.S. business pays a couple thousand or more per month on their electricity bill. That can drop to hundreds by switching to solar.
The savings will vary based on consumption and the capacity of your array. Even if you are relying partly on solar, you can still enjoy enormous savings over the life of your panels.
2. Stop Caring About Power Company Rates
Power company rates are on the rise. They have increased by about 15% for residential customers over the past decade. Some regions have seen a sharper increase than others. For example, residents of Oregon pay 40% more than they did ten years ago. Electricity prices also experience seasonal fluctuations.
The cost of installing solar panels has dropped significantly over the years. Once installed, your business won’t have to worry about power company rates or seasonal cost shifts ever again.
3. Eligibility for Tax Credits and Rebates
Installing solar can make you eligible for tax credits and rebates. The investment tax credit deducts 30% of the cost of your system from your federal taxes and is applicable to residential and commercial installations. Your local government may provide other incentives. Contact MOXIE to find out if you are eligible for additional savings.
It’s important to act fast because the tax programs may be phasing out soon. The Federal tax credit is going to decrease to 26% in 2020 then 22% in 2021. It will lower to just 10% by 2022. Installing this year will ensure that you get the highest rebate offered by the program.
4. Consumers Love Green Businesses
Consumers love green businesses. People are more aware of environmental concerns today than in previous years. Many seek out eco-friendly companies, while others may choose one business over a competitor because it is known to be green.
Global data analytics company Nielsen shared insight into what consumers think about environmental issues. Over 60% of North American respondents expressed concern for air and water pollution as well as the use of pesticides.
These factors may not be specific to solar energy, but they indicate a strong interest in businesses that care about the planet. An impressive 80% of respondents felt that companies should take steps to improve the natural environment. Installing solar is a big first step that can give your business an eco-friendly reputation.
5. Solar Panels Become a Real Estate Selling Point
Solar panels can make your property more appealing and even increase value. This is the case for both commercial and residential sellers. A standard 6-kilowatt system can increase the value of a home by as much as $24,000.
As long as your location and solar array are ideal, you can target a higher selling price if you decide to move your business. The highest value will go to facilities with ideal positioning for maximum sunlight collection and a professionally installed array that is designed for optimum performance.
Solar panels also make your building more recognizable. Environmentally-minded buyers will notice even before they speak to a realtor.
6. Maintenance-Free Source of Reliable Energy
Once installed, your solar array requires no maintenance. Panels are usually installed on a rooftop, which puts them out of reach of the general public and most of the local wildlife. Aside from an annual cleaning, your solar panels require no other care to continue producing energy over their lifespan, which is usually an average of 25 to 30 years.
7. Potential Utility Savings from Net Metering
Most states offer net metering as an added benefit to using solar. If your system generates more electricity than you use during the day, the excess is calculated and applied to your monthly bill. The power company will charge you based on the net, or difference between what you used and what you generated.
The excess energy you generated goes back into the grid to help power your neighbors’ homes and businesses. Not only does this save you money, but it also helps reduce the strain on your community’s infrastructure. It minimizes energy loss, which can occur when moving voltage miles from the power plant to the customer.
Find Out if Solar is Right for Your Business
A professional can assess your business needs and determine if solar is the best option for your business. Learn more about tax credit eligibility, utility savings, and the social and environmental benefits of renewable energy. Contact MOXIE today to schedule a consultation.