There are several considerations to keep in mind as you weigh the front-end cost of a commercial solar system against the long-term savings it could bring your organization. As you will see, commercial solar tax credits are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to gauging the actual costs of investing in solar power for business. Here are six factors you may not have thought about—considerations that could save your business tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars per year.
Solar Thermal Policies and Rebates
Promoting the growth and proliferation of clean, sustainable energy in business is not just a federal interest—many state and local governments offer support, rebates, and other incentives, too. And that can mean additional ways to offset the cost of installing a commercial solar thermal system. The Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency is a great site to find federal, state, and local renewable energy initiatives—including solar thermal —in your area. Search by city, state or ZIP code for the latest policy and incentive information—and check their Other Resources page for links to state and local clean energy organizations that could provide even more info and money-saving tips.
The Solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC)
First created in 2006, the solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC) is a federal policy designed to encourage the deployment of solar energy in the U.S. by offsetting the cost of commercial solar systems. The solar ITC allows organizations that invest in qualifying solar projects to receive a credit against the income taxes they would otherwise owe the federal government.
Chosen Solar Thermal Contractor/Installer
A subpar thermal system installation from an inexperienced contractor can cost you a great deal of money in lost savings and in repairs. Likewise, and oversized solar thermal system brings about the same problems. Although choosing an expert with extensive experience may increase your upfront solar costs – it although if often does not cost more in the long run and – it is the best way to ensure you make a sound investment and align your requirements with an individual that will properly size your system for your needs.
If you have an irregular roofline or multiple rooftop obstructions like skylights and dormer windows, installing a solar thermal system on the roof can be more complicated – and, therefore, more costly. And though pPlacing a ground-mounted solar thermal system might be simpler (if there is the space), your project will involve additional equipment that drive up your solar costs.
How many solar thermal collectors are needed to meet energy needs? Are you planning on installing a rooftop thermal system, or will it be ground mount? The size, design and setup of your system dictates costs as no two solar thermal system installations are exactly the same.
SunEarth manufactures the Empire, SunBelt, and Thermoray series liquid flat plate solar thermal (hot water) collectors. The Empire series sets the industry standard for quality, performance, durability, and value. The SunBelt series was specifically designed for the extreme climate of the American southwest. The ThermoRay Series has everything that professional contractors demand in a solar collector: Sleek appearance, high performance, versatility, ease of installation, and rugged field-tested durability.
SunEarth’s tough and versatile SolarStrut and RexRack mounting hardware provides an engineered solution for all standard residential and commercial mounting applications. All these components are designed to integrate seamlessly with your system; however, each offer different efficiencies and price points. The chosen components are key to system performance, longevity, and pricing.
There are several innovative ways to help offset and reduce the cost of a solar thermal system for business. All it really takes is a bit of time, a little research, and a willingness to ask the right questions of your commercial solar provider. Doing so could mean significant savings for your business in both the short term (with the help of incentives like the commercial solar tax credit) and the long term (with solar energy savings.)
The potential savings offered by solar thermal systems are difficult to calculate exactly and depend on a large range of factors, some of which we touched on in depth.
- Initial system cost (depending on size, quality of parts and installation).
- The energy source that you are replacing (coal, gas, electricity, LPG, oil, etc.).
- The property’s suitability for solar thermal panels
- The property energy efficiency.
- Any rebates such as state tax credits.
- Your geographical location and solar resource.
- Available financing incentives.
- The cost of the fuel you use for your backup water heating system if there is one.
- Your energy needs (the solar thermal system will not provide all your hot water needs).
A Solar Thermal System is a great investment for any business that provides long-term results with endless benefits. To learn more, reach out to your local installer or contact SunEarth, a manufacturer of quality solar thermal equipment and components since 1978!