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Commercial Solar Frequently Asked Questions


Click through the modules below to see the answers to commonly asked questions.

What are the advantages of investing in commercial solar?

For most companies, investing in solar energy significantly reduces monthly utility bills and frees up capital that can be put toward other priorities. In addition, including electric vehicle chargers or covered parking is a great way to improve employee amenities while generating savings for your business. 

Due to robust commercial solar tax incentives of up to 50%+, your company will be able to enjoy a short payback period while saving from day one and keep your business from falling victim to rate hikes and power shortages that continue to worsen every year.

Finally, your company can be proud of its positive impact on the community. Today’s consumer is more conscious than ever when it comes to the businesses they choose to support, and commercial solar systems are a great way to show your customers that your business cares about its environmental impact. You can showcase your commitment to renewable energy, and depending on your system, even become carbon neutral in time. Here at REPOWER Orange we will evaluate your energy goals from the very beginning to design a system that meets all of your needs.

What is the difference between commercial and residential solar?

While commercial and residential solar are similar, there are a few key differences between them.  With residential, billing is based off of usages and some fixed charges. However, commercial rate plans are based off of usage as well as demand charges. Demand charges cannot always be fully offset with solar installations, and many times a battery storage will need to be considered for peak-demand shaving. One of our experts would be glad to explain these charges in more detail. 

In addition, tax incentives are dramatically different for commercial solar installations.  While the current 26% investment tax credit (ITC) is the same, Federal bonus depreciation, state depreciation and other tax credits will impact the commercial installation return on investment. 

How much does a commercial solar energy system cost?

There are many different factors that go into the cost of a solar system including roof space, total electricity usage and time of day usage, tax appetite, and many more. Every system is built to meet the needs of each individual client, which will dictate the cost of the system as well as the savings potential. Our experts at REPOWER Orange will work closely with you to create a customized system designed to meet the needs of your building.

What incentives are there for commercial solar?

While cost is the main thing that prohibits businesses from pursuing solar energy in their operations, there are many ways to save on solar. California offers many rebates and tax incentives for solar installation, and there are also Federal Tax Credits, Federal Bonus Depreciation tax credits, Business Development Grant Programs, and utility credits available to businesses who are interested in pursuing solar. Our experts will determine which specific incentives your company qualifies for and build that into your proposal.

What commercial financing options are available? Should we buy or lease a solar energy system?

Most companies pay for commercial solar projects with cash, loans, or power purchase agreements (PPAs). Like any investment, a cash purchase offers the quickest return on investment, reduces the timeline from agreement to installation to savings, and maximizes tax incentives. Low-interest loans, however, are a great alternative for those who do not wish to make an investment as a lump sum, and there are multiple options available that one of our experts would be happy to walk you through. PPAs are very similar in structure to a lease.  They typically do not require any payment for the installation.  The building owner will only pay for the power the system produces.  This will provide the building owner with cheaper electricity than from the utility company.   

How much money can my company save?

There are multiple factors that contribute to the overall savings potential of solar including how much energy total your company uses throughout the day, what time that consumption is at its peak, how much roof space is available on your building, and energy prices in your area. Ultimately, we will provide a savings estimate based on your total energy usage vs. the potential energy production generated by the proposed system.

What is the payback period for a commercial solar investment?

The average payback period for a commercial solar investment is between 5-7 years. After gathering some basic information on energy usage, proposed system size, and financing options, we will be able to provide you with an estimate on the payback period for your project. It is important to note that you will be saving on your monthly expenses from day 1 – that’s hard earned capital that can be re-allocated to your company’s growth. If you are financing your project with a loan, your rate will be locked in over the lifetime of the loan as opposed to being subject to yearly increases from your utility company.

What is commercial solar net metering?

Simply put, the energy a business produces, minus the energy it consumes equals net energy. Excess energy produced by your solar system is sent back to the grid, and any additional energy needed beyond what your solar system produces will be pulled from the grid – a constant push/pull. With net metering, your business’ utility company will deduct the energy you export to the grid at times when generation exceeds on-site demand from your bill, and you may even earn surplus credits for the energy you produce.

Should my company install solar plus energy storage?

Energy storage on a commercial solar installation is always a great thing to consider. With energy storage, the battery will charge from the solar energy produced during the day and will discharge during heavy demand periods.  It will also discharge during peak periods taking advantage of time-of-use arbitrage.  There are utility savings from the energy storage by reducing your peak demand charges – our experts are always happy to evaluate whether battery storage makes sense for your project as an additional cost saver.

What can I expect when investing in solar with REPOWER Orange?

Step 1: Consultation and Planning

During the consultation stage, we will work with you to gain an understanding of your building’s structure as well as your electrical infrastructure. We will assess the requirements of your specific project to determine the best solar array for your situation and will work with you to make sure your goals are met and your savings are maximized as we customize your setup for your energy needs.

Step 2: Designing

Our team of expert installers will do a thorough survey of your location and collaborate with our engineering team to create a safe and detailed design for your project.

Step 3: Permitting and Paperwork

We will handle obtaining the necessary permits and documentation that is required to move forward with the process, making sure all your paperwork with the city, state, and the utility company is squared away.

Step 4: Installation and Inspection

Our expert installers will get your system up quickly and connect your system to our online monitoring service. Then we will show you exactly how to track your energy production and get an overview of your system directly from our mobile app. We will then coordinate an inspection with the city to ensure everything is safe and installed according to codes.

Step 5: Activation

Once the inspection is complete, your utility company will give you Permission to Operate, which means you can turn on your system and begin generating your own energy. Moving forward, you can use the mobile app to monitor your usage and production, and see the status of your system at a glance to make sure you are getting the most out of your investment.
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