Commercial Solar Panels
There are a lot of reasons why more companies in Western New York are choosing the switch to solar to power their businesses. Among the most common motivations we hear from our commercial customers are a desire for energy independence, the ability to take advantage of major utility savings, and demonstrating a sustainability mindset that’s visible—and attractive—to customers.
Benefits of a Commerical Solar Power System
Reduce Your Energy Bill
Take Ownership of Your Energy
Reduce Your Carbon Footprint
Provide EV Charging Stations
About Commercial Solar Installations
Solar by CIR has partnered with hundreds of companies in the Buffalo area to design the right solar system for their business. Whether it’s a large manufacturer or a small mom-and-pop, we’ll make sure you get the system, financing, and incentives to make solar a reality at your site. Call us for a quote today.
We’ll start by performing a cost-benefit analysis to determine whether your site makes sense for solar given your business’s historical and projected electrical use. Depending on how much space you have on the roof or ground, we may not always be able to cover 100% of your total usage, but we can make plans to optimize both your square footage and your power generation. The good news is that projects for businesses have a few more options than residential installations when it comes to how they offset their electricity with solar.
Onsite vs. Offsite
If there is enough space on the roof or grounds of your facility, you’re most likely to benefit from a “behind the meter” project. This means the project is physically tied into one location, the production is fed back to the existing main service panel, and excess eventually is sent to the grid. Since the power is being generated by your business and not produced on the side of the grid, it is referred to as “behind the meter.”
If there isn’t enough space onsite or you own additional land you’re looking to utilize for solar, you would most likely be a good candidate for a “remote net meter” project. Remote net-metering, sometimes referred to as “virtual net-metering,” is an arrangement that allows for the kilowatt hours (kWh) generated from a solar system located at a specific site to be credited towards kWh consumption at a different location. The host meter is where the credits are being produced, whereas the satellite meters are where the excess generation is being sent to. These accounts all have to be with the same utility and within the same utility load zone to be eligible for this type of crediting.
Do I Qualify for Solar?
Below are some common considerations for commercial solar. To get a quick answer, please take our short quiz to discover If Solar Is Right For You.
Do You Own, Rent, or Lease?
Do you own, rent, or lease the space in which your business operates? If you do not own the building, you’ll need your landlord’s written permission to move forward with any type of solar project.
If you lease or rent and you are unable to get permission from the landlord, you may also consider opting into a Community Solar array if you are responsible for paying for your electricity.
For property owners who have land they are willing to commit to solar, a ground-mounted array may be a good option. Ground mounts allow for optimal pitch and orientation for the solar array to capture the most sunlight.
Flat roofs can also be considered when looking at solar for your business. A ballast mount is a common alternative used on solar installations that are unable to penetrate either the roof or the ground. Temperamental ground-mounts are another option when a surface can’t be penetrated; for example, solar arrays installed on top of landfill caps can’t break that liner. Instead, concrete blocks are placed throughout a project to secure an array to the ground or the roof and prevent wind lift or other movement, all without having to drill any (or as many) holes in the supporting surface.
How Much Are You Paying for Electricity Each Month?
Your current electricity bill is the largest factor in determining how much you’ll save by installing solar. You pay your utility company for every kilowatt-hour (kWh) of electricity you use, and your rate varies significantly depending on where you’re located and how much electricity your business uses.
In the Western New York region, customers pay between $0.03- $0.12/kWh. Generally speaking, the larger the user, the lower the cost of supply. On the flip slide, once a customer reaches a certain threshold on one-time electrical usage, they may be switched to a demand use account. These types of accounts can go back to traditional metering after a few consecutive months of lowered usage, which may come with the installation of a solar array. Demand meters can account for roughly 50% of a customer’s bills.
Businesses sometimes require a generator back-up system. Depending on the equipment type, solar is able to work with existing generator systems without the use of batteries to keep costs low and return on investment high.
Commercial Solar Panels Cost
Federal tax credits are available for businesses that go solar before January 1, 2023. You can take advantage of a federal tax credit equal to 30% of what you paid for solar for the next 10 years. Excess credits may be carried to the following five years after purchase.
We advise business owners to consult with a tax professional to ensure that these incentives may be recaptured. NYSERDA (New York State’s Research and Development Authority) under the umbrella of NY-Sun have designed a system of incentives to subsidize the cost of installation, making the prospect of going solar more attractive to our commercial customers.
Project incentives will vary by region and current rates. Incentive rates decrease as projects capacity increases. As current capacity stands, projects under the 750 kW cap may fall under the Small Commercial and Non-residential structure subject to $0.35/watt installed. For commercial industrial projects over 200 kW, there is either a Performance Based Incentive (PBI) Monetary or Volumetric crediting method.
Currently, Commercial & Industrial (C&I) incentive stands at $0.12/watt up to 7.5MW. Qualifying solar energy equipment is eligible for a cost recovery period of five years.
For equipment on which an Investment Tax Credit (ITC) grant is claimed, the owner must reduce the project’s depreciable basis by one-half the value of the 30% ITC. This means the owner is able to deduct 85 percent of his or her tax basis. “Depreciation” is the loss of value that occurs over time when the object purchased is used for a specific use. As a business owner, you are eligible to deduct this “loss in value” from your taxable income when used for your business.
If you are running a profitable business, and you can show that the solar power you are generating is for business use (as opposed to personal use), then it may have a strong impact on reducing your bottom line.
For more information, check out our Solar Panel Cost page.
Our Commerical Solar Installations
We are well known in the Buffalo and Rochester area for our solar installations. Check out some of our projects below.
Learn More About Commercial Solar Panels
Are you interested in learning more about commercial solar? Read one of our free resources.