Over recent years, more and more businesses have begun to realize the potential benefits of installing a solar panel system on their buildings. From lowering operational costs and preventing major electrical outage issues to improving your carbon footprint and more, there are a number of reasons you might go this route — and also a number of areas you should be clear on as you do so.
At Alternative Utility Services, Inc., we’re proud to offer high-quality commercial solar power solutions as part of our wide-ranging energy management and procurement programs. When it comes to understanding the realm of solar power, what’s available to you and which direction you should be going, asking basic questions of our professionals is one of the best resources you have available. Here are some of the key areas we recommend inquiring about as you’re looking into commercial solar power.
Up-Front Costs Vs Long-Term Savings
As business owners who have installed solar power in the past can tell you, it’s vital to think of your system as an investment in the long run. In many cases, you’ll see an increase in your operational expenses in the short term as you install and get everything set up — but once that’s complete, you’re looking at a decrease in your energy bills for years to come.
What this looks like specifically will depend on a number of factors, including the size of the system, your business’s specific energy needs and more. However, a quality solar panel provider should be able to give you a clear overview of what you can expect in terms of up-front costs and long-term savings so that you can make an informed decision about whether or not this is the right move for your business.
While some businesses will have the resources to purchase a solar panel system outright and avoid any interest payments, others will need to look into solar financing options in order to make their project a reality.
For businesses that fall into the latter category, it’s important to know that there are a number of different solar financing products available on the market. These include solar leases, power purchase agreements (PPAs) and loans — and each comes with its own set of pros and cons.
A quality solar panel provider should be able to walk you through the financing options that are available to you so that you can choose the one that makes the most sense for your business.
Is the Building Suitable for Solar?
It’s also very important to confirm that your building is actually suitable for a solar panel installation before you move forward with any specific plans. There are a few key factors that will come into play here, including the size of your roof, its orientation and the amount of shade it receives throughout the day. In order for a solar panel system to be effective, it needs to be installed in an area that receives direct sunlight for the majority of the day.
A solar panel provider will be able to assess your building and let you know whether or not it’s suitable for a solar installation. If it’s not, they may be able to offer some suggestions for alternative energy solutions that would work better for your business.
Panel Types and System Options
Once you’ve confirmed that your building is suitable for solar, you’ll need to start thinking about the specific panels and system options that are available to you.
There are a few different types of solar panels on the market, including monocrystalline, polycrystalline and thin-film — and each has its own set of advantages and disadvantages. In addition, you’ll also need to decide how you want your solar panel system to be configured. The two most common options here are grid-tied and off-grid.
Again, a quality solar panel provider should be able to offer guidance on the different types of panels and system configurations that are available so that you can choose the ones that will work best for your business.
Ongoing Maintenance and Upkeep
As you move forward with your solar panel installation, it’s also important to keep in mind that these systems will require some ongoing maintenance and upkeep in order to function properly.
In most cases, this won’t be a very time-consuming or difficult process. However, it’s important to make sure that you understand what will be required so that you can plan accordingly.
A quality solar panel provider should be able to give you a clear overview of the ongoing maintenance requirements for the system they’re installing so that you can make sure you’re prepared.
Incentives and Financial Benefits
Many businesses who install solar panel systems are also able to take advantage of a variety of incentives and financial benefits. These can include things like tax breaks, solar renewable energy credits (SRECs) and net metering — all of which can help offset the up-front cost of your installation.
A quality solar panel provider should be familiar with the different incentives and financial benefits that are available in your area and help you take advantage of them.
Warranty and Support Options
Finally, it’s also important to make sure that you’re working with a solar panel provider that offers a comprehensive warranty and support package. Ideally, you should be looking for a provider that offers a minimum of a 25-year warranty on both the panels and the installation itself. In addition, they should also offer some form of 24/7 support so that you can get help if you ever run into any problems with your system.
By asking these questions, you can get a better sense of what to expect from a commercial solar panel provider — and also make sure that you choose the right one for your needs.
For more on this, or to learn about any of our commercial solar power or other energy management services, speak to the team at Alternative Utility Services, Inc. today.
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