By Adam Jordan, Head of Commercial Solutions, Trina Solar
It’s important to know how to recognize what commercial buildings make a good potential fit for a PV solar installation. This is true for both established developers and EPCs, or HVAC and electrical contractors looking to pivot into commercial solar. Being able to accurately identify these targets can help originate and qualify prospective leads, as well as better inform potential investors.
When evaluating a potential C&I solar customer, consider these questions:
1. Is there space to install a PV system?
The first factor to identify would be whether the building has the space to house a system and the roof strength to support it.
There are a number of variables that need to be factored into this calculation. The roof structure, roofing material and the age of the roof will play the biggest roles in determining if rooftop solar will work on the building. Additionally, the weight and size of the solar system will need to be considered. On average, a good rule of thumb is that the roof would need to hold around 5-7lbs per square foot.
Ground space available on the property could also be option for a ground-mounted system.
2. How much electricity does the business consume?
For instance, a small storefront shop that’s only open part of the day might not consume enough electricity to make a PV system a cost-effective option.
On the other hand, larger enterprises, especially those with second and third shifts, make for a much more ideal candidate for solar.
To figure out how much electricity the organization uses, check out a solar calculator. These can quickly estimate solar potential and savings by address. EnergySage has a good solar calculator, and there are other localized platforms to help out as well.
3. Does the company qualify for any tax credits?
Although the 30 percent federal Investment Tax Credit (ITC) level dropped in 2019 and 2020, there’s still plenty of time to take advantage of this credit. The tax reduction of 22 percent of the cost of a new PV system is in effect for 2021. From 2022 and onward, the tax reduction of 10 percent of the cost of a new solar PV system will remain in place.
This is a great way to encourage business owners and organization directors to consider deploying a renewable solar PV system on their roof. It’s important to note that companies that use a lease or a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) for the solar system are not eligible for the ITC.
In addition, under the federal Modified Accelerated Cost-Recovery Systems (MACRS), businesses can utilize depreciation deductions for renewable energy technologies.Solar PV installations are classifed as a five-year property according to MACRS. This allows businesses to recoup more of the investment, adding even more value to the solar project.
4. Can you provide high value for the system?
It’s not enough to simply identify if a business or organization is a good fit for a solar PV system. It’s also necessary to demonstrate there’s significant value to be gained. This makes it imperative to partner with a solar company that can provide high quality PV modules and a smart C&I solution to ensure the system’s value.
Trina Solar’s C&I Solutions makes things easier for project developers and EPCs. The Trina team understands what it takes to maximize the value of a C&I solar project to deliver a quicker internal rate of return. By lowering LCOE options and optimizing CAPEX, Trina Solar’s C&I Solution can improve ROI on C&I solar projects.
Want to learn more about what makes a business a good fit for C&I solar? Click here to reach out to the experts at Trina Solar.
This is the second part of a four-part series on C&I solar opportunities. Check back soon for more expert insight into this growing sector.
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