A Guide to Going Solar For Businesses

SHAIVI CHAPALGAONKAR | March 17, 2021 | 506 views

Earth has become increasingly warmer every year with rising temperatures. The burning of fossil fuels in the past 150 years for electricity, heat, transportation, and any other human activity has increased greenhouse emissions. Other natural resources are also rapidly depleting, thus giving us a cause of worry.

Several homeowners and mainly businesses are, therefore, turning to renewable energy sources to become self-sustainable and self-reliant. Costs of commercial electricity are rising day by day with no end in sight. By turning to green energy, businesses can reduce operational costs and reinvest that amount back into their businesses.

If your business uses electricity for lighting, HAVC, computing, or production, opting solar for businesses will significantly reduce the cost. Installing these solar panels and combining them with an appropriate energy storage system, your business can save up to 20 to 25% energy and move towards energy independence.

Eligibility for Going Solar

One of the major factors to consider when going solar is whether it makes sense for your business to do so. Apart from this, going solar would be ideal for organizations that:
  • Work in states like California, Hawaii, or any state that either has expensive energy or massive Federal incentives
  • Have enough land, rooftops, or parking lots adjoining their businesses where the solar panels can Be set up
  • Have prioritized sustainability
  • Have massive energy demands
  • Market themselves as an environmentally friendly business


Reasons to Use Solar Power for Businesses

Growing businesses opt for investing in commercial solar power mainly to aid in offsetting additional expenses. With the expansion of the business, electricity consumption will also increase. You can also time your roof repairs or new constructions to coincide with installing new solar panels. Transforming into a business that chooses to become carbon-neutral by utilizing solar energy will enhance your business image in the community.

Implementing commercial solar panels cuts down your energy consumption and helps increase your savings. Excess energy generated by these solar panels can be stored with the help of off-grid batteries. Solar energy has a major drawback. Your company won't be powered at night or in severe weather conditions as solar only works during the day. Solar energy cannot handle the sudden power surges required to handle heavy machinery. Businesses are then forced to purchase and use commercial electricity to manage these spikes. However, these spikes can prove to be expensive. Merging photovoltaic systems with storage solutions can ease these spikes. This is vital during the "shoulder" hours when the sudden surge spikes can lead to demand charges.

Benefits of Going Solar

Reduction in Costs

The single biggest advantage of going solar is a massive reduction in electricity bills. Locations where 'net metering' is available can become another source of revenue for your business as the excess power produced can be sold to your local utility. Businesses, and companies that rely on out of date energy sources like coal, could be paying 7 to 30 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh), whereas those using solar energy were paying between 2 to 12 cents per kWh.

The benefits of switching to solar depend on several factors- locations, industry, and business size. The most advantageous enterprises would be the ones who have built an appropriately sized system to cover all energy requirements and enough power to fall back on during peak consumption hours.

Businesses can incur additional charges due to demand and delivery. Utility services apply these charges to recover costs of purchasing energy and maintaining power lines and energy lost in the transmission system. Moving power sources closer to your business will help you avoidsuch preventable expenses.

There are possibilities of ascension in solar energy projects. You can start with a smaller set of solar panels that would contribute to your daily energy needs and build it over time. You can always sell the excess energy produced to your local utility provider as a source of additional revenue.


Federal Tax Incentives

As of 2021, the investment tax credit (ITC) allows businesses to deduct 22 percent of the cost of installing solar energy systems from their federal tax with no cap on its value. These businesses are eligible for the tax incentive as long as they have their energy system. I'f youdon't have enough tax liability to claim the credit that year, the outstanding credits would roll over to the next year, so long the tax credit is in effect.


Durability

Like every other power source, solar has its limitations too. The infrastructure that can consume excess solar power is not yet up to the mark. Since solar is tied to the grid, they are interdependent. If the grid fails, solar goes down too. Therefore, it is important to add a microgrid to the energy system.

Adding a micro-grid detaches your business from the utility providers and makes it independent of their services. It makes your organization what is known as an 'energy island'. The existence of these energy islands only protects your enterprise from power cuts due to natural disasters or any physical or hacking attacks. Your energy islands may also provide electricity to your local community during emergencies.


Sustainability 

Solar energy has a massive role to play in the future of sustainability and environmental protection. By converting your business into a solar-powered business, you ensure the protection of the environment and reduce your company's carbon footprint on the planet. Studies also indicate that using solar energy for a long time also reduces utility costs. You can then invest the saved amount back into your business to promote advancements and innovations.

Being a solar-powered business could be an alluring prospect for your potential business partners. Environment-inclined customers tend to turn to prefer "responsibly green" businesses, and these businesses also appease local and state regulators, governments, and hedge funds.


Lower Maintenance Cost

Another major reason solar power is beneficial for your business is low to zero maintenance of the installed solar panels. Agencies that provide solar panels offer a warranty of 20 to 25 years on them. Since solar panels have fewer movable parts, the chances of these parts disintegrating or rusting are highly unlikely as opposed to technology that relies on movable parts. Thus, switching to solar energy would be the appropriate step to take for your business.


Things to Keep in Mind when Switching to Solar

When investing in solar energy, there are a few imperatives that businesses must follow. No matter the size, your business must be located where there is adequate sunlight, a roof strong enough to sustain the panels, and be inclined to reduce the cost of all operations.

There are various simple 'do-it-'yourself' kits launched in the market to entice small business owners to try and build these solar systems themselves.

However, it is essential to work with a solar provider when installing solar panels to get the best outcome—as in any industrial field, consulting with a solar power expert would help you optimize costs and gain maximum benefits.


Points to Explore Before Going Solar

Amount of Electricity Consumed

There are two main points to ponder over; "enough for one day" and "future years to come”. You could either sell excess energy produced to your local electricity supplier, which would add to your savings, or it could be stored with the help of li-ion batteries and utilized in the time of little to no sunshine.


Financing Solar Power for Businesses

Commercial solar power providers offer multiple business plans that would be best suited to the scale of your business. You can choose the better alternative for your business depending on how much discretionary cash you have and your solar infrastructure size. The size of the infrastructure will also depend on whether you want to gain dramatic results in terms of cost-saving or opt for low-cost start-ups and gain a more extended return on investment.

Some enterprises buy solar equipment with cash or loans. This method would give you tax credits and incentives, thus offering you a higher return on investment (ROI).

Another direction you could choose is going into a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with a solar energy provider and purchasing electricity from them at a lesser commercial cost. In a PPA, the developer looks after designing, permissions, financing, and installing the system for a meager amount.

Details of your precise business requirements are vital to analyze the cost and time of ROI of the solar energy system. It would depend on the place you are at and the size of your system. To get these exact details, hire the best solar energy consultant for your exact needs.


Important Steps to Remember

Step 1:

Outline your goals for a stable, sustainable, and financially sound future. Make sure that going solar is beneficial for your business. Calculate whether your region's utility costs are higher and hurt your business financially; whether there is ample storage space around your business to keep all the equipment. And whether adopting a  green  profile improves your goodwill in your local community.

Step 2:

Collect data on your electricity usage of at least one year to analyze the operating cost, energy spikes, and consumption patterns. Calculating business losses will aid in understanding the need to switch to solar energy.

Step 3:

Tie up with a commercial solar specialist when making the switch to solar energy. Often, customers fail to recognize the importance of this step. Avoid contractors who set up solar panels as a side business as they would not understand the intricacies of the job. Check all the references before you partner up with a specialist.

Step 4:

Last thing to keep in mind is thatgetting a solutions provider would make things easier for you. The provider will take care of everything- designing the system, finances, grid connection, and system maintenance. Ensure that you have a provider with sound support and has a portfolio of proven experience in solar infrastructure per your business needs.


Frequently Asked Questions

How much does solar cost?

Ten years ago, the cost of a residential solar system was upwards of $50,000 for an average of 6 kilowatt-hour. Now, with a 62% average annual decrease, it ranges anywhere between $16,200 to $21,000.

How does commercial solar work?

Solar panels are made up of photovoltaic (PV) panels in a grid-like pattern that captures sunlight and converts it into electricity. The PV cells are made up of silicon with a positive and negative field that creates an electric field.

Are commercial solar panels worth it?

Commercial solar panels have a lifespan of 25-30 years. Although solar panels cost a lot initially, over the years, utility cost of your business will go down. There are also tax credits and incentives that the government offers when installing solar panels.

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JUPITER POWER AND ENERGY VAULT SIGN LETTER OF INTENT TO SECURE 2.4 GWh OF DOMESTIC-CONTENT-QUALIFIED BATTERY ENERGY STORAGE SYSTEMS

Energy Vault | October 03, 2022

Jupiter Power LLC ("Jupiter Power" or "Jupiter"), the leading United States developer and operator of utility-scale, battery energy storage systems ("BESS"), today announced the execution of an agreement with Energy Vault Holdings Inc. ( NYSE: NRGV) ("Energy Vault"), a leader in sustainable, grid-scale energy storage solutions. Under this agreement, Jupiter Power and Energy Vault will expeditiously collaborate to secure 2.4 GWh of supply chain equipment and services that will be integrated and delivered through Energy Vault's hardware and software management platform in Jupiter Power's battery energy storage projects. Jupiter Power and Energy Vault are committed to supporting U.S. based manufacturing for use in Jupiter's BESS projects across the United States electric markets including ERCOT, MISO, CAISO, PJM, NYISO, and ISO-NE. The projects are expected to reach commercial operations in 2024 and 2025. Under the agreement, Energy Vault will focus on maximizing U.S. localization and deployment of energy storage equipment that will qualify for the recently enacted Inflation Reduction Act's Domestic Content Bonus Credit. As part of the joint effort, Jupiter Power will collaborate in siting the new domestic manufacturing facilities, where possible, by utilizing assets secured for future Jupiter Power projects across the country, including the siting of such facilities in "Energy Communities" locations prioritized for investment by the Inflation Reduction Act, such as brownfield coal sites and economically disadvantaged areas. "Due to our team's hard work developing new energy storage projects from California to Maine over the last several years, Jupiter is uniquely positioned to lead now in making the Inflation Reduction Act's vision of large-scale domestic battery systems manufacturing jobs a reality, We are very pleased to be expanding our relationship with Energy Vault to grow our supply of the equipment the grid critically needs today while also supporting sustainable battery equipment manufacturing here at home." -Andy Bowman, CEO Jupiter Power. "We are excited to continue our strategic relationship with Jupiter Power, which enables us to leverage our technology platform while maximizing U.S. content for near-term deployments in critical energy storage projects, said Marco Terruzzin, Chief Commercial Officer, Energy Vault. Energy Vault is laser focused on its customers' needs with a commitment to continuous innovation, allowing this agreement to serve as a gateway for realizing the intent of the Inflation Reduction Act in rapidly bringing energy storage localization to the U.S." The letter of intent agreement follows previously announced agreements between Jupiter Power and Energy Vault for BESS projects in Texas and California totaling 220 MWh, under which Energy Vault will supply a 100 MW (200 MWh) battery energy storage system at a Jupiter Power Facility near Fort Stockton, Texas, and additionally construct and commission a 10 MW (20 MWh) battery energy storage system for Jupiter Power in Carpinteria, California. About Jupiter Power: Jupiter is a leading battery energy storage infrastructure platform with deep trading, analytics, development, finance, operations, and construction capabilities and unparalleled intellectual property in dispatch optimization. Jupiter is backed by EnCap Investments L.P., Yorktown Partners and Mercuria Energy, and has offices in Austin and Houston, Texas, and Chicago, Illinois. Jupiter has a 650 MWh portfolio of operating utility-scale battery energy storage projects, 340 MWh of new projects currently in or near construction and a pipeline of over 11,000 MW of new projects in active development. About Energy Vault: Energy Vault develops and deploys sustainable energy storage solutions designed to transform the world's approach to utility-scale energy storage in realizing decarbonization while maintaining grid resiliency. The company's proprietary gravity-based energy storage technology, battery storage technology, and energy storage management and integration platform are intended to help utilities, independent power producers and large industrial energy users significantly reduce their levelized cost of energy while maintaining power reliability. Utilizing eco-friendly materials with the ability to integrate waste materials for beneficial re-use, Energy Vault is facilitating the shift to a circular economy while accelerating the clean energy transition for its customers.

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SOLAR+STORAGE,STRATEGY AND BEST PRACTICES

Enbridge Enhances North American Renewables Business with Acquisition of Tri Global Energy

Tri Global Energy | September 30, 2022

Enbridge Inc. ("Enbridge" or "the Company") announced it has acquired Tri Global Energy ("TGE"), a leading US renewable project developer, for US$270 million in cash and assumed debt. Additionally, up to approximately US$50 million in payments could be made contingent on successful execution of TGE's project portfolio. TGE is currently the third largest onshore wind developer in the US, with a development portfolio of wind and solar projects representing more than 7 GW of renewable generation capacity. "TGE will enhance Enbridge's renewable platform and accelerate our North American growth strategy, TGE's significant development pipeline, coupled with our renewable capabilities, and existing self-power opportunities, make this a truly synergistic investment that further positions us to grow organically at attractive equity returns. We're excited to be welcoming the TGE team to Enbridge, further strengthening our capabilities as we ramp up our renewable business." -Al Monaco, Enbridge's President and Chief Executive Officer. Enbridge expects North American renewable power fundamentals to remain robust. Rising targets for State renewable portfolio standards and growing private sector demand for zero carbon electricity are set to drive investment in wind and solar power generation significantly higher in the next decade. TGE's large development portfolio is well-positioned to capitalize on this growth, including 3.9 GW of renewable generation projects TGE previously sold to operators, which will generate development fees and accretion to distributable cashflow per share in the first year following the acquisition of TGE. In addition, 3 GW of late-stage development of wholly owned projects are expected to be placed into service between 2024 and 2028, providing a visible ramp up in cash flows along with a large slate of further projects in earlier stage development beyond that period. The TGE team has successfully developed and monetized over 6 GW of utility scale renewable projects since its inception in 2009. TGE's development team will remain in place following closing of the transaction, ensuring continuity of ongoing development activities. CIBC acted as financial advisor to Enbridge and Eversheds Sutherland acted as its external legal counsel. About Enbridge At Enbridge, we safely connect millions of people to the energy they rely on every day, fueling quality of life through our North American natural gas, oil or renewable power networks and our growing European offshore wind portfolio. We're investing in modern energy delivery infrastructure to sustain access to secure, affordable energy and building on two decades of experience in renewable energy to advance new technologies including wind and solar power, hydrogen, renewable natural gas and carbon capture and storage. We're committed to reducing the carbon footprint of the energy we deliver, and to achieving net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.Headquartered in Calgary, Alberta, Enbridge's common shares trade under the symbol ENB on the Toronto (TSX) and New York (NYSE) stock exchanges. To learn more, visit us at Enbridge.com About Tri Global Energy Founded in 2009, Tri Global Energy is a leading renewable energy developer drawing on the natural, renewable resources of the wind and the sun to successfully address the growing demand for clean and sustainable energy. Tri Global Energy is among America's top utility-scale renewable energy developers. In fact, for more than a decade, the company has been the largest developer of wind energy projects currently under construction in Texas, the nation's leader in wind capacity. For further information on TGE please visit www.triglobalenergy.com.

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STRATEGY AND BEST PRACTICES,ENERGY

SPAN Partners with Suntuity Renewables to Supply SPAN Panels to Residential Solar Dealers Nationwide

SPAN | September 30, 2022

SPAN, the leading innovator in smart home electrical panels, and Suntuity Renewables, a national residential solar, storage, electrification and renewable energy integrator, today announced a new partnership to include SPAN Panels with Suntuity solar panel systems to residential customers, through Suntuity’s national Dealer Network.As SPAN’s first Master Dealer, Suntuity's dealers and affiliates will immediately include SPAN Panel and SPAN Drive electric vehicle chargers with solar and solar plus battery systems offered to Suntuity’s customers. Adding a SPAN Smart Panel to a home solar system provides an unprecedented level of visibility and control over the home’s energy system. SPAN Panel provides homeowners with insights into their solar production in real-time, customizable circuit-level control and monitoring of every circuit in their home, and 40 percent longer battery backup power during an outage, on average. With the newly signed Inflation Reduction Act, rebates and incentives are available to lower the total cost of SPAN solutions for homeowners looking to electrify. Additionally, SPAN and Suntuity will expand Suntuity University to train and upskill electricians to install SPAN solutions and the latest solar and renewable technologies. Funds provided by the HOPE for HOMES provision within the Inflation Reduction Act funding will support Suntuity University’s aim to address a core impediment to electrification and close the gap in the availability of green economy workers. As SPAN ramps up production of SPAN Panels and adds new features and functionality, we are excited to partner with Suntuity, a SPAN Master Dealer, to make SPAN Panels available to more homeowners who want to generate their own clean energy, electrify their homes, or simply improve their quality of life,” said SPAN CEO Arch Rao. “We applaud Dan and the Suntuity team for their dedication to upskill technicians in our industry. As more customers transition to renewable energy systems and electrify their homes with more efficient electric appliances, the growth in available technician talent will be critical to our collective success towards a cleaner future. “As a growing global solar and renewable energy developer, financier, engineering, procurement and construction provider, Suntuity is excited to partner with SPAN to ensure we're offering our solar customers and dealer partners the best products on the market by including SPAN’s groundbreaking home electrification technology with our own high-quality solar and battery systems. We expect the U.S. residential solar market to accelerate, thanks to new consumer incentives provided by the Inflation Reduction Act that reduce the cost of going solar, and we aim to provide best-in-class home electrification products and services to millions of American homeowners,” -Suntuity Group President and CEO Dan Javan. About SPAN SPAN reinvented the 100-year-old electrical panel and is developing products that enable electrification and simplify the adoption of clean energy including solar, batteries, and electric vehicles. SPAN Panel gives customers circuit-level management, real-time monitoring, and actionable energy insights through the SPAN Home app’s intuitive interface. Designed with hardware innovation and purpose-built with intelligent software, SPAN Panel and SPAN Drive electric vehicle charger are an efficient and integrated solution for any home. Backed by leading investors in the clean energy space, SPAN aims to decarbonize by building products that remove barriers to electrification while providing a holistic approach to managing increasing demands on household energy. To learn more, visit www.span.io. About Suntuity Group The Suntuity Group is an American multinational company that consists of several national brands that encompass renewable energy, finance, water filtration and home services. Founded in 2008, the company has operations in several US states and countries and services thousands of customers across its service footprint. Discover how to become a channel partner with Suntuity Renewables and join forces with one of the fastest growing renewable energy leaders in the nation. For further information, please visit www.suntuitygroup.com About Suntuity Solar Suntuity Solar is a top solar and storage provider in the U.S. With thousands of customers and hundreds of dealers, the company delivers best in class solar PV and storage solutions in a fully financed package. For more information, please visit www.suntuityrenewables.com About Suntuity Electric Suntuity Electric is a licensed electrical contractor across several U.S. states and provides electrical installation and home electrification services to an ever-expanding residential and commercial customer base. For more information, please visit www.suntuityrenewables.com About Suntuity Home Suntuity Home is a licensed home builder and delivers state of the art home electrification and consumer technologies in several U.S. states. Its product offerings include home automation, roofing, water filtration and award-winning Net Zero home construction. For more information, please visit www.suntuityhome.com

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