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A man and woman in business attire standing next to a solar panel, showcasing sustainable energy solutions.

As the sun rises on a new age of renewable energy, commercial businesses across the globe are harnessing the power of solar to illuminate their path to profitability. Over the last decade, the United States has added more than 121 Gigawatts (GW) of utility and small-scale solar capacity. That’s eight times more sustainable sun power than in 2014, and it’s not expected to slow down anytime soon. It’s estimated that U.S. solar power generation will grow an additional 75% from 163,000 GWh in 2023 to 286,000 GWh by 2025.  

Why Should My Business Invest in Solar Energy?

Why are so many homes and businesses adopting this renewable energy source exactly? The benefits of renewable energy sources, like solar power, are plentiful. Not only are alternative energy sources much safer for the environment, but these energy solutions significantly reduce expenses and provide additional revenue. From small-scale applications to a full rooftop solar array, there are a wide variety of ways renewable energy contributes to a thriving, resilient business. 

Financial incentives make commercial solar affordable

There are a variety of federal and local financial incentives for businesses investing in solar photovoltaic (PV) panels. For example, the Investment Tax Credit can help offset up to 30% of upfront investment costs. This generous incentive reduces the average cost of commercial PV panels from $2.50-3.50 per watt to $1.20-1.75. Depending on your location, there could be additional state or local incentives for solar panels as well. Discover the incentives available in your area by exploring the Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency (DSIRE). 

Solar tax credit cost savings for small & medium-sized businesses

Small Businesses

Small businesses typically require a 15-25 kilowatt (kW) solar panel system, costing an estimated $38,000-$88,000. The ITC can reduce these costs to anywhere between $18,000-43,000.  

Medium Businesses

Most medium-sized businesses require a 26-50 kW solar panel system, which can cost between $65,000-175,000. The ITC can reduce these expenses to anywhere between $31,200-87,500. 

Businesses save thousands with solar energy solutions

The average small to medium-sized business spends around $23,900 on energy expenses annually. Annual business energy expenses range from $5000 a year for smaller, less energy intensive companies to over $1 million for corporate enterprises. Solar energy systems significantly reduce, or completely eliminate, this expenditure, enabling businesses to reinvest their savings into what makes their business thrive.  

After paying off your PV panel array, any previous energy expenses turn into immediate savings. The average commercial PV panel system has an average payback period of 3-5 years, while the system itself lasts 25 years or longer. Just imagine the investment possibilities if your business had an extra $24k in the budget every year! 

Create a new revenue stream with solar buy-back programs

Beyond the significant cost savings over the course of your solar system’s lifespan, your business can turn renewable energy into a new revenue stream. If your equipment is connected to the national grid, your business can participate in net-metering or buy-back programs. Both programs are a partnership with your local utility company. Excess solar power generated at your business can be sold back to your local utility. Not only are you sharing sustainable energy with your community, but your business earns revenue simply because the sun is shining. 

Solar panels make your business more sustainable & resilient 

The savvy business owner knows that investing in renewable energy is a forward-thinking tactic for a sustainable and resilient business. Diverting away from fossil fuels not only reduces energy expenses, but also contributes to a more sustainable future. With a renewable energy system, your business has back-up power during inclement weather or grid outages. With on-site energy generation, your energy independence means that power issues won’t disrupt business operations. Furthermore, renewable energy sources reduce your carbon footprint, contribute to environmental sustainability, and align with global clean energy goals.  

Solar Energy Applications for Businesses

Whether you’re still unsure about solar and want to try a small-scale option or are ready to invest big in the benefits of solar energy, there are a range of commercial applications available for businesses of any size and budget. Below we shed light on what solar panels can be used for, empowering businesses to illuminate sustainable cost savings.  

Small-scale solar investments for businesses 

Some of the easiest and most cost-effective ways to incorporate renewable energy sources is by looking outside. Solar-powered path and patio lighting is a great way to introduce your business to the power of sustainability. For businesses with window displays, there are decorative string lights and spotlights available to highlight featured products and promotions. Holiday decorations are another popular and inexpensive way to incorporate solar power into your business’s decor

Medium-scale solar investments for businesses 

The mid-level investment for commercial business applications is solar panel installation to offset your energy demands and lower bills. PV panel arrays can be customized to meet your business needs and budget. Whether you’re interested in reducing energy bills or generating enough power to meet all your needs, solar panels are a cost-effective and sustainable solution. Net-metering and buy-back programs make this investment even more accessible for smaller businesses with limited budgets. 

Large-scale solar investments for businesses

After taking care of your business’s energy demands with renewable energy, consider expanding into additional sustainability solutions. A great example that benefits customers and employees alike is solar-powered electric vehicle (EV) charging stations. Having visible renewable energy sources can also attract new environmentally friendly customers. Furthermore, providing EV charging at work improves employee satisfaction and encourages the adoption of sustainable practices. Additional methods to bolster renewable energy sources at your business are adding small-scale wind turbines or upgrading to a geothermal heat pump.

What if I Can’t Install Solar Panels at My Business?

If your business premises aren’t suitable for on-site solar panels, you can still power your operations with renewable energy. Businesses located in a deregulated energy market have the power to choose their energy supplier. You can leverage the expertise of an energy broker to explore cost-effective, sustainable energy solutions for your business needs. By partnering with an energy broker, you can customize an energy plan powered with 100% renewable energy sources. 

Solar Solutions: Brightening Your Business’s Bottom Line

As business energy prices continue to rise, commercial PV panels offer a cost-effective alternative. Embracing alternative energy solutions isn’t just about reducing energy expenses—it’s about futureproofing your business, fostering resilience, and contributing to a sustainable future. The benefits of investing in renewable energy are far-reaching. By investing in solar energy, businesses can enjoy significant cost savings, create new revenue streams, and demonstrate environmental stewardship. Don’t wait until tomorrow to make a change; illuminate your business’s path to success with solar energy solutions today. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

How much does commercial solar panel installation cost?

Ultimately, the cost of installation depends on the size and complexity of your solar energy system. For the average small to medium-sized business, commercial PV panels cost $2.50-3.50 per watt. Small businesses usually require 15-25 kilowatt (kW) of energy capacity, costing an estimated $38,000-$88,000. Most medium-sized businesses need 26-50 kW of energy capacity, which can cost between $65,000-175,000. 

Are there any financial incentives available for businesses investing in solar energy?

Thanks to the Inflation Reduction Act, there are a variety of incentives available to help finance commercial renewable energy projects. One example is the Investment Tax Credit, which offsets installation costs by up to 30%. Businesses interested in solar panel installation can also explore state and local financial incentives through the Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency (DSIRE). 

Do I need to get a solar energy storage battery?

Energy storage isn’t necessary for every solar panel system. However, if you want to generate enough power to meet your business’s entire energy demand, battery storage is a wise idea. Battery storage solutions enable businesses to store excess power for later use, like cloudy days or dark evening hours.  

What do I need to know about solar panel maintenance?

Solar panels are typically very low maintenance. For the most part, regular cleanings and annual inspections should keep your panels in great condition. The average cost of solar panel cleaning ranges from $300 to $630, depending on the size of your system. An inspection typically costs around $150. Remember to monitor each panel for damage after inclement weather and keep them clear of debris to maintain peak performance. 

What is the average payback period for commercial solar projects?

The payback period depends on several factors: how much energy your business uses, how much power your system generates, and how much the installation costs. On average, most commercial solar panel installations have a payback period of 3-5 years. Solar panel systems have a lifespan of more than 25 years, so you’ll benefit from significant cost savings for nearly two decades. 

For additional answers to your energy management questions, please refer to our general FAQ page.