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Commercial Solar Power FAQs

How will switching to solar power benefit my business?

You can use the sun to reduce your electric bills. By installing a solar electric system, you will also be helping to protect the environment because you will be using a clean renewable energy to power your business. You can virtually eliminate your electric bill and protect against future utility price increases. From day one, solar power offsets a portion of your electricity purchased from the grid and your electric bill.

Will solar improve my company’s image?

Absolutely! Consumers are increasingly demanding that the companies they do business with engage in sustainable business practices. Going solar will demonstrate that your company is committed to environmental responsibility.

How much does a solar system cost?

Total cost depends on the system size, equipment and installation type. The experts at SolarCraft will analyze your specific electrical usage and project site to determine the best system size and installation type for your facility. Other factors such as current electric rate schedules, financial incentives, and system financing can affect your overall investment. Our company offers competitively priced systems with the highest level quality service and products.

Call SolarCraft for a FREE, no-obligation financial analysis.

Are incentives or rebates available for solar?

The federal government currently has a 30% Investment Tax Credit which helps to offset a large portion of the upfront system investment. Our team of rebate and interconnection specialists can help you navigate the incentive process from beginning to end. In most cases the only work you will have to do is sign a contract and the rebate paperwork and we take care of the rest.

Will I need to apply for any permits in order to install a solar electric system?

Permit requirements vary in each jurisdiction. SolarCraft will handle all permitting issues related to installing a solar electric system on your property.

Will solar increase my property value?

Yes. According to a study published in The Appraisal Journal, every $1 of electricity that you offset through solar will increase the value of your building by $20. This means that your property would increase in value immediately by about the total net cost of the system after rebates. Also, solar electric systems are exempt from property tax assessment increases.

Do I have a good site for PV?

Your site must have clear, unobstructed access to the sun. Buildings, trees or other vegetation should not shade your site. Some shade can be worked around with the design of the system. PV systems facing southeast to west deliver optimal production. Several factors such as tilt, sun exposure, and location also affect energy production. If a rooftop is not available, your PV system can also be mounted on the ground, on carports or pole-mounted, amongst other custom variations depending on your site and space. See examples of SolarCraft’s design and engineering solutions for a variety of commercial solar installations.

What size solar electric system do I need?

The recommended size of your system depends on your power consumption. If you want to completely offset your current electrical usage from the utility with a solar electric system, the first step is to review your annual energy consumption which can be obtained from your utility bill. Commercial systems can range in sizes from 10,000W up to and beyond 100,000W, or 1,000 to 10,000 square feet of solar modules. Your needs will depend upon the size of your facility and your energy loads.

How much mounting space do I need?

How much space your solar panels take up on your roof depends on the size of your system. A single panel can have a footprint of about 4′ long and 30″ wide, so an array of 8 panels can be approx. 24′ long, depending on how they are oriented. In almost all cases, rest assured your roof will accommodate the right size system for you, and our knowledgeable staff will walk you thru this process during the consultation phase. A good rule of thumb is that you need 100 square feet of roof space for every 1 kW of conventional solar panels.

How long does it take to realize a 100% return on investment for solar?

The typical commercial system combined with the current rebates and tax incentives can usually pay for itself in about 3-6 years. That is considering that the typical utility costs escalate about 7% per year which is approximately the number provided by the California Public Utilities Commission.

If you finance your system, you may realize net savings as early as the first year. Instead of paying your monthly utility bill, you’ll be making loan payments for your solar PV system. You will effectively be paying less for your loan than you currently pay your utility company. Your exact payback period will depend on your electrical usage, electric rate schedule, and cost of your system.

Are the panels fragile?

No. While the panels are made of tempered glass, they are quite strong. They pass hail tests, and are regularly installed in Arctic and Antarctic conditions.

Will I need to modify my business to run on solar power?

No. Solar power electric systems fit seamlessly into your building. You won’t have to buy new appliances or change your electrical outlets; everything will work just the same as it did before. You should experience no practical changes except for one noticeable change — you no longer will need to pay exorbitant rates for energy.

Do I need a battery backup?

SolarCraft’s PV systems connect to the local utility grid so no batteries are necessary.

What happens when the utility has a power outage?

For safety reasons, your solar system will automatically shut off if the power goes out.

Can the building owner sell power back to their utility?

Yes, through “net metering” any excess electricity generated will spin your meter backwards which has the effect of selling your excess power to the utility at a full retail rate. On a monthly basis, you pay only the “net” of the power you used. If you generate more power than you used in a month your utility company will forward your excess solar energy credits to be used during the next month. This allows any excess energy generated in the summer to be used during the winter when there is less solar energy and usually higher energy usage.

How long do photovoltaic (PV) systems last?

The basic PV module (interconnected, enclosed panel of PV cells) has no moving parts and can last more than 40 years. In fact the first solar electric panel built back in the 1950s is still generating electricity today! The best way to ensure and extend the life and effectiveness of your PV system is by having it installed and maintained properly.

How does the 30% Federal Tax Credit work?

Established by the Energy Policy Act of 2005, owners of renewable energy property are eligible for a Federal Incentive Tax Credit equal to 30% of the eligible system cost. If the tax credit exceeds the customer’s first year tax liability, the excess amount may be continuously carried forward for 20 years. Commercial projects may also apply for a 30% Department of Treasury Cash Grant in lieu of the Incentive Tax Credit.

Can businesses depreciate solar equipment?

Businesses installing solar systems can now benefit from the 1 year 100% bonus depreciation or MACRS accelerated 5 year depreciation schedule, which significantly increases their rate of return and decreases risk on the investment.

What is a Solar Renewable Energy Certificate (SREC)?

A SREC is a tradable certificate that represents the clean energy benefits of the electricity generated by a solar electric system. A SREC is issued for every 1,000 kWh generated by the system and can be sold to generate additional income. California law (Public Utilities Code §399.12[f]) defines a REC as: “a certificate of proof, issued through the accounting system established by the Energy Commission… that one unit of electricity was generated and delivered by an eligible renewable energy resource.

What is the warranty on your installation?

Modules

The modules must have a performance warranty from the manufacturer that protects against the electrical output of the unit degrading more than 10% over a 10-year period, and more than 20% over a 20-year period.

Inverters

Inverters have a 10-year warranty provided by the equipment manufacturer that protects against defect or component breakdown.

Installation

SolarCraft provides a full 10-year warranty for parts and workmanship. SolarCraft will provide diagnosis, repair and replacement of any system or system component, including roof attachment penetrations which carry our 10-year warranty against roof leaks.

Is it possible to supply all of my power needs with a solar system?

In some cases, it is possible to offset all or nearly all of your required electrical power with a solar PV system. The main determining factors are whether you have enough space with sufficient hours of sun exposure and your normal hours of operation. The experts at SolarCraft will analyze your site and energy use to determine how much of your power needs can be handled by a solar system and what system type and design would be best for your facility.

How do I maintain my solar PV system?

Solar energy is truly one of the most hassle-free products in today’s market. Solar PV systems are designed and installed to be low-maintenance. An occasional cleaning of panels by hosing them down will ensure optimal performance.

How does solar electricity help the environment?

Your solar system will reduce the current demand on existing fossil-fuel power plants, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and contributing to the fight against climate change. By going solar you will be taking an exemplary leadership role in your community by doing your part to protect the environment from further damage caused by long-established energy sources. Solar energy systems are endorsed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as an effective alternative to prevent the release of pollutants into the atmosphere by traditional fossil fuel energy sources.