Solar is the smart choice for businesses of all sizes, from global to local

Not too long ago, solar energy systems on commercial real estate were largely considered to be little more than an expensive public relations gesture that only the biggest corporations could afford. But solar is no longer the sole domain of corporate giants. Rather than still being a luxury purchase, today’s benefits to businesses indisputably go far beyond an improved public image.

In fact, thanks to new policies, improving technology and falling prices, solar PV systems have reached and surpassed the economic tipping point, making them an extremely smart investment that can boost the bottom line for any size business, from global to local.

For example, we installed a 33.4 KW DC STC system on a local office building in New Paltz, N.Y., which helped the property owner earn LEED Platinum certification and is projected to save the business $190,000 over the life of the system.

On an even larger scale, we recently installed on an expansive rooftop system — the largest of its kind in Westchester County on a 205-unit cooperative residential complex in Ossining, N.Y. — which is on track to supply better than 25 percent of the electricity usage for the entire complex, including all the private homes and common areas. [See more of our commercial projects here.]

And as for those corporate giants, their own solar efforts have come a long way from the merely symbolic. In fact, in Armonk last week, global reinsurer Swiss Re unveiled the largest solar array in the county, a 7,700 photovoltaic panel system that will supply a projected 60 percent of the office’s energy. (We were proud to see the local media reports of our Westchester neighbor, former President Bill Clinton, signaling his support of the solar movement by attending the ribbon cutting!)

Here are some key reasons your business should go solar:

New policies mean new ways to monetize your property. Thanks to recent changes in state energy policy, it’s now possible to use solar panels to increase the value of your commercial property. Business owners who install a solar energy system can make that clean, renewable energy available at competitive pricing to local residents, creating a new, largely passive revenue stream.

You can hedge against rising utility rates. Stabilizing a recurring cost — your electricity bill — will make it much easier to manage your monthly cash flow. That predictability offers peace of mind in a volatile business world. And even better, when you make your own electricity, you’ll never pay more for that portion of your bill, no matter how high rates climb.

There are great tax incentives — for now. Thanks to the federal Solar Investment Tax Credit, business owners who go solar are currently entitled to receive a tax deduction of a full 30 percent of the cost of their solar energy system. And there is accelerated bonus depreciation that can offset your tax bill further. Total tax incentives can range from 60% or more. This makes the initial investment much more affordable, and ensures you’ll get the greatest bang for your buck — as long as you take advantage before the credits are phased out.

It’s attractive to commercial tenants.  Business owners prefer setting up shop in a building that’s energy-efficient — and powering their business with solar energy is a valuable selling point for those whose clients place a premium on environmental responsibility.

It’s still great PR. Whether you decide to install solar panels for your company’s own use, or to give community members access to clean, renewable energy, one thing is for sure: Those solar panels on your rooftop are a shining, visible testament to your commitment to the environment. That will earn you widespread approval in any community.


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