Key benefits for Solar Cogeneration
1. Regardless of what happens to energy & natural gas prices from now the cost of energy generated by your system remains fixed.
2. Improved PV generation up to 10% more electricity than an equivalent conventional PV system with same peak output.
3. Lower installation cost than an equivalent performance system comprised of a separate Solar PV and Solar Thermal systems.
4. Less roof space required than equivalent system comprised of a separate Solar PV and Solar thermal systems.
- Solar Cogeneration works in carports which gives more opportunity in needed space to generate energy.
5. Cogeneration System’s ROI (Return on Investment) is shorter than standard PV systems due to higher electrical yield and off-set heating costs.
6. The lifetime of PV cells is lengthened because cell operating temperature is reduced.
7. Roof weight load is less than the combined solar thermal with solar PV panels.
Who Trusts Solar?
More than 100 of the Fortune 500 companies have already received significant results by using solar power. The list includes well-known enterprises such as Walmart, Target, Apple, IKEA and Intel, but many smaller businesses and even non-profits are embracing solar as well.
Federal Investment Tax Credit (ITC)
Owners of newly installed solar systems receive a federal tax credit equal to 30 percent of the cost of the solar system as of 2016. Several states also have tax credit incentives.
Businesses can deduct 100 percent of their solar investment in the first year as of 2018. As a result, they can significantly offset the upfront cost of a solar system array.
Reliable and Maintenance-Free Energy
Solar energy systems require little to no maintenance. “When you think about it, there are no moving parts,” Colburn says. “When people think about solar, they normally think about fixed tilt systems. They’re installed on a rack. Nothing moves.”
Supports a Green Business Approach
By avoiding non-renewable energy sources, companies can create an environmentally responsible image and help support green business aspirations.
Cost of Solar Energy for Businesses
Solar panel prices have dropped more than 80 percent since 2011. Most small businesses don’t have to spend any money upfront because most solar energy system providers offer flexible options like solar loans, solar leases and PPAs. These flexible investment options make it possible for almost anyone to go solar.
The costs of solar energy systems for businesses depend on the energy demand of the firm. As a result, the cost can vary significantly from one operation to another. A 30kW solar power system is ideal for most small- to medium-sized businesses. It can cost around $75,000 to buy and install a solar system of that size as of 2016. Many small businesses can go for 10kW solar power system for around $26,000 after deducting the federal solar investment tax credit, the state tax credit and cash rebates.
The federal ITC, state tax credits and cash rebates usually reduce the solar system installation cost by about 45 percent. When it comes to output, the cost of per-watt energy with larger solar systems tends to decrease.
Factors That Determine the Cost of Solar Panel Installation
A variety of factors determines the cost of solar panel installations. The energy requirement of your business is the most important. The cost will also be influenced by the quality and attributes of the system installed. Not all solar panels are created equal.
“We have relationships with a wide variety of vendors,” explains Colbourn. “We’ll look at the goals the customer has. Do they want to maximize the speed at which the system produces kilowatt hours, or do they want to optimize the speed at which the system pays itself off? We work with them to determine the right array. These things influence system size and cost.”
The cost of solar permits and labor are two other factors that determine the ultimate cost of solar installation. Businesses must pay a fee to have the solar energy panels connected to the grid, and installation requires a significant amount of manual labor. The roof on which you want to install solar panels is another factor. It can be very easy and straightforward with some roofs, but a steep roof pitch can make it difficult to install solar panels.
Current Trends in the U.S. Solar Energy Industry
Due to a new wave of state and federal policies and positive industry economics, the solar industry is booming. According to reports by the Solar Energy Industries Association, the industry expects to install 14.5 gigawatts of solar power in 2016 compared to just 7.5 gigawatts in 2015. Even with this significant increase, solar energy accounts for less than 1 percent of total electricity production in the U.S., but a recent study conducted by The National Renewable Energy Laboratory reports that almost 40 percent of electricity in the U.S. could eventually come from rooftop solar systems.
The growth of the industry is very much reliant on the direction of policymakers. This massive increase in the number of solar panel installation by both residential and commercial sectors is strongly influenced by government incentives.
Variations of Commercial Systems by Array Type
The three major array types of solar systems used commercially are roof mount, ground mounts and carports.
- Over 90 percent of solar installations for businesses are roof-mounted systems because they can usually be scaled most cost-effectively. A limiting factor to solar system size for roof mounted installation can be the available roof space, which can restrict the size of the system.
- Ground-mounted solar systems are usually larger in size. Companies such as GM, Verizon, L’Oreal and others with very high electricity requirements power their manufacturing facilities and data centers with this kind of solar mount system. But it represents only 4 percent of total commercial installations as of 2016.
- Many companies have installed solar carport systems in their operations. Carport solar systems appear to be growing very rapidly regarding both average system size and the number of installations. Walmart has completed 12 carport installations in California since 2013. Arizona has installed 10 and another has been installed in New Mexico.