Hundreds of Fortune 500 companies have adopted solar power, but green energy isn't just for the big players. Technology is changing commercial real estate, and small businesses everywhere are discovering the advantages of solar-powered workspaces. It doesn't matter how big or small a business is, the energy cost savings and the other benefits of going solar are available for any operation.
Solar power for small businesses isn't somewhere off in the distant future. Companies are taking advantage of solar here and now. Keep reading to learn six ways small businesses can use solar power to get ahead.
Buy Solar Panels for Direct Energy Savings
Many business people look at the initial cost of solar panels and wonder if it's worth it. However, once you have your system up and running, solar energy for small businesses is almost as free as the sunshine. Most businesses pay off their initial costs in three to seven years, and a solar panel system lasts 25 to 35 years. One estimate is that solar power can reduce commercial property utility expenses by as much as 75 percent.
Solar panels, once installed, require virtually no maintenance. In most cases, there are no moving parts. In addition, they increase the value of a building. That means more money if the property is sold and additional asset value for any loan or refinance.
Leverage Solar Tax Credits & Rebates
Many businesses have found that solar panels pay for themselves over the years. The payback period is shorter than it otherwise would be because of the available tax credits and other solar rebates in every state.
- The investment tax credit (ITC) is a federal solar credit that allows individuals and businesses to deduct part of the installation costs from federal taxes. In 2021 the deduction was 26 percent.
- In Tennessee, solar panels are exempt from state and local sales tax. For purchase in the tens of thousands, that's nothing to sneeze at. A business may apply for the exemption upfront or receive it as a rebate after complete installation.
- Net metering is a concept that allows solar users to sell their excess energy back to a utility if the panels generate more electricity than they need. While Tennessee has no state-mandated net metering program, TVA offers its "Dispersed Power Program," which will credit the business for the electricity sent back. TVA sets the sell-back rates, so it may not always be the total retail value of the energy.
Lease Solar Panels
One way to deploy solar panels is by buying them either with cash or financing. However, if that expenditure or loan doesn't fit with the business plan, there are other options.
Many vendors of solar energy systems offer leases where they get the tax incentives, and the purchasing business gets the electricity. Of course, the panels belong to the company that provided them, so they go away at the end of the lease period. In some cases, the business may have the option of purchasing the panels after the lease is up.
The power purchase agreement or PPA is a common variation on the solar panel lease. The vendor does the design, permitting, and installation. Rather than pay a monthly lease fee, the customer buys electricity from the vendor at an agreed-upon rate, typically lower than the local electric company's rate. PPAs usually run for 10 to 25 years, and the panel owner takes responsibility for any maintenance and repairs. The arrangements spell out the customer's options at the end of the PPA period, typically extending the agreement, buying the panels, or letting the seller remove the system.
Install Solar Panels With Ease on Commercial Buildings
Installing solar panels can be easier for a commercial building than it is for residential buildings. The first requirement for practical solar usage is plenty of sunny roof space. Fortunately, that's something most commercial buildings have in abundance.
Solar panels are beautiful for manufacturing concerns because they use a lot of electricity, and the saving potential is enormous. Certain agricultural operations, such as poultry and dairy farms, are significant power users with plenty of roof space.
Commercial structures such as offices and shopping centers may not consume as much energy as manufacturers. However, they still have the roof availability and the energy costs to make solar panels a worthwhile investment.
Attract Eco-Minded Clients With Solar Power
Once those solar panels are up on the roof, a company has positioned itself as a green business. There's more benefit than just direct financial savings. Many consumers want to spend their money on sustainable operations, and a business that goes solar will attract the support of these customers. To be successful with Nashville commercial investments, it helps when a business advertises that its products and services are created with clean energy. It marks the organization as a responsible corporate citizen.
Be Prepared With Solar
A company that gets most or all of its electricity from solar panels is independent of the electrical grid. Even if the lights go out all over Davidson County, the solar-powered business can keep on rolling.
Solar Power Is Great for Small Businesses
Business success has always gone to those who take the initiative to recognize and embrace emerging trends. Small businesses that adopt solar energy will drive costs lower than their competitors and stand to attract a broader range of new customers.
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