Oregon Commercial Solar 101
Commercial solar installation is revolutionizing how businesses power their operations. From large-scale manufacturers to small family-run businesses, more and more establishments are making the switch. Here’s why your Oregon business should consider it too.
How Do Commercial Solar Panels Work?
Understanding how solar panels function might seem like a daunting task and too much to learn for a busy business owner, but it can be broken down into these easy-to-understand steps:
- Sunlight Capture: The main task of solar panels is to collect sunlight. This sunlight is teeming with tiny energy particles called photons.
- Energy Production: The panels are composed of special materials such as silicon, which when struck by these photons, initiate a reaction that forms an electric field.
- Electron Movement: The energy from the photons displaces electrons (minuscule components of atoms) from their typical positions.
- Electricity Generation: This movement of electrons leads to a flow of electricity, known as direct current (DC) electricity.
- Electricity Conversion: DC electricity is not compatible with your business appliances and systems, so it’s converted into alternating current (AC) electricity by a device called an inverter. AC electricity is the kind your business can use.
- Earning Energy Credits: If your solar panels produce more electricity than your business needs, this surplus can be stored in batteries for later use or returned to the power grid. In Oregon, your utility company might credit you for this excess energy!
Solar panels tap into abundant sunlight and convert it into useful electricity for your business operations in an environmentally friendly and sustainable way. This can lead to significant cost savings and enhance your company’s green credentials.
Why Go Solar in Oregon?
Oregon’s climate is perfect for harnessing solar energy, with plenty of sun year-round and the rainy months that will provide cleaning benefits. Furthermore, the and state have supportive policies for solar installation. Going solar in Oregon means:
- Benefiting from state incentives and policies
- Tapping into abundant sunshine for power
- Contributing to a sustainable future
- Saving money by reducing or eliminating your electricity bills
- Increasing the value of the property
Economic Advantages of Commercial Solar
Commercial solar panels in Oregon not only reduce energy costs significantly but also provide predictability in expenditure. Solar power isn’t merely renewable energy; it’s an investment that offers excellent financial returns. Benefits include:
- Reduction in utility bills
- Stabilization of energy costs
- Increased property value
- Fast payback time
- Environmental Benefits of Solar Power
Switching to commercial solar panels reduces carbon footprint, driving a more sustainable future. Solar energy doesn’t emit harmful greenhouse gases and helps combat climate change. Key environmental benefits include:
- Reduction in carbon emissions
- Preservation of water resources
- Decrease in dependence on fossil fuels
- Promotion of a healthier environment
The Installation Process
The commercial solar panel installation process is a streamlined and turnkey solution:
- Property Assessment: Experts evaluate the property’s suitability for solar panels, including structure, sun exposure, and energy usage patterns.
- System Design: A custom solar panel system is designed for efficiency and aesthetics.
- Securing Permits: The necessary permits, including building and electrical permits, are secured, simplifying complex local regulations.
- Installation: Technicians install the panels and thoroughly test the system.
Throughout this entire process, businesses can expect to receive ongoing support and communication from their solar provider, making the transition to solar energy seamless and straightforward.
Commercial Solar Installations Types
Solar installations vary to suit different commercial properties, ranging from small businesses to large industrial complexes. Types of installations include ground mount, rooftop, and carport installations.
Ground Mount Installations
Ground mount installations offer flexibility in the positioning of solar panels, maximizing energy production. They are an excellent option for properties with ample unused land. Key advantages include:
- Optimal positioning for maximum sun exposure
- Scalability to meet high energy demands
- Ease of access for maintenance
Solar carports are a unique and practical type of commercial installation. Besides providing power, they also create shaded parking spaces, effectively utilizing open-air parking lots. The benefits of solar carports are:
- Dual functionality: energy production and vehicle shading
- Space-efficient, utilizing existing parking spaces
- Visible commitment to renewable energy, enhancing the company’s green credentials
Rooftop Solar Installations
Rooftop installations are a popular choice for businesses in urban settings or those with limited ground space. These systems take advantage of the otherwise unused rooftop space to generate power. Benefits include:
- Efficient use of space, not requiring additional land
- Potential to meet all or most of the building’s energy needs
- Reduced energy loss due to closer proximity to the point of use
Residential vs. Commercial Solar Panels
While residential and commercial solar panels share the same fundamental technology, there are key differences in size, power output, installation, and usage.
Residential Solar Panels
Residential solar panels are typically designed to meet the energy needs of a single household. They are often smaller and less powerful, given the lower energy consumption of residential properties. Advantages include:
- Helps homeowners gain energy independence
- Can significantly reduce or eliminate electricity bills
- Often enhances property value
Commercial Solar Panels
Commercial solar panels, on the other hand, are built to handle the larger energy demands of businesses. They are usually larger and have a higher power output to meet the extensive power needs of commercial properties. The benefits of commercial solar panels are:
- Substantial reduction in operational costs
- Scalable to meet the energy demands of the business
- Demonstrates your company’s commitment to sustainability
Battery Backup and EV Charging Stations
Incorporating battery backup with your solar system ensures an uninterrupted power supply during outages, enhancing energy reliability. Moreover, installing EV charging stations is a forward-thinking step, catering to the growing trend of electric vehicles. Benefits include:
- Reliability: Battery backup provides continuous power during grid disruptions
- Sustainability: EV charging stations support the transition to eco-friendly transportation
- Cost-Efficiency: Utilize your solar power for charging, reducing operational costs
Please Note: This may require an electrical panel upgrade to bring your electrical connection to par with your new EV chargers.
Oregon Commercial Solar Incentives for 2023
Here is a summary of the potential solar incentives in Oregon there are. To learn more, request a free consultation for your business.
***These incentives are subject to change***
Oregon Solar + Storage Rebate Program
This program is offered by the Oregon Department of Energy, providing savings on a solar electric or paired solar electric and storage system. The maximum rebate is $5,000 for solar panels and an additional $2,500 for paired solar energy storage equipment, for a total potential rebate of $7,500. The rebate amount is dependent on your income bracket and other factors
30% Solar Investment Tax Credit
The Solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC) allows businesses to deduct 30% of the cost of installing a solar energy system from their federal taxes. For instance, if your solar system costs $50,000, you could reduce your tax liability by $15,000 ($50,000 * 30%). This substantial saving makes solar power more affordable.
Oregon’s net metering policy allows you to offset your electric bills by sending the excess electricity you generate back to the electric grid. The excess energy you produce is credited at the full retail rate, meaning every kilowatt-hour you overproduce will offset a kilowatt-hour you pull from the grid. All public utility service providers in Oregon are required to have net metering options for solar energy.
What is net metering?
Net metering is a billing arrangement between a solar power system owner and their utility company. It allows the owner to sell their excess solar power back to the grid, resulting in a credit to their electric bill.
How does net metering work?
During the day, solar arrays often produce more electricity than is needed, and this excess energy is fed back into the grid. The utility company measures the amount of this excess power and credits the owner’s account accordingly. At night or on cloudy days, when the panels aren’t producing electricity, the owner can draw power from the grid and use these credits.
Why is net metering beneficial?
Net metering provides a financial incentive for installing solar power systems by reducing the overall cost of electricity for the system owner. It also promotes the use of renewable energy by making it more financially viable and helps to balance the electrical grid by supplying it with power during periods of high solar production.
The Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) is a grant program administered by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). The goal of this program is to support the development and implementation of renewable energy and energy efficiency improvement projects in rural and agricultural communities across America.
The REAP program offers two types of funding assistance:
- Grants: These can cover up to 25% of eligible project costs. The minimum grant amount is $2,500, and the maximum is $500,000 for renewable energy systems, and $250,000 for energy efficiency improvements.
- Guaranteed Loans: These can cover up to 75% of eligible project costs. The minimum loan amount is $5,000, and the maximum is $25 million.
Pacific Power Commercial Solar Incentives
This program offers an effortless way for customers to support clean and renewable energy. Customers can select a participation level that suits them and pay a small additional fee on their monthly bill. In turn, Pacific Power purchases renewable energy certificates on behalf of the customer, fostering the development of local clean energy and renewable energy jobs1
PGE Commercial Solar Incentives
This fund plays a crucial role in promoting a clean energy future in Oregon. The Fund awards significant financial resources to various organizations in the state that are contributing to the establishment of renewable energy projects.
Energy Solutions and Clean Energy
Commercial solar installations offer clean energy solutions, transitioning businesses away from fossil fuels and towards more sustainable practices.
Reducing the Carbon Footprint with Solar Energy
Solar energy plays a pivotal role in reducing the carbon footprint of businesses, thus contributing to global efforts against climate change. By switching to solar, businesses can lessen their dependence on fossil fuels, drastically cutting down greenhouse gas emissions. This commitment to clean, renewable energy not only reflects an organization’s dedication to sustainability but also contributes to the global movement toward a greener future.
25 Years of Clean Energy: A Future Investment
Solar power systems are not only environmentally friendly but they’re also built to last. With adequate upkeep, commercial solar panels can generate clean, renewable energy for 25 years or more, making them a worthwhile long-term investment. Over their lifetime, these systems can offset substantial amounts of carbon emissions, underscoring their value as an investment in the future.
Minimal Maintenance of Solar Panels
Solar panels require surprisingly little upkeep. An annual check-up and cleaning are generally sufficient to keep them performing optimally. While occasional issues may occur, rest assured that our team of installers is readily available to provide expert troubleshooting and maintenance services, ensuring the long-term effectiveness of your solar power system.
Importance of a Professional Solar Installer
Selecting a professional solar installer is crucial for the success of your solar project. Expert installers not only provide a seamless and efficient installation but also guarantee the long-term performance and durability of your solar system. They offer:
- Expert Knowledge: Understanding of the latest solar technologies and best practices in installation.
- Quality Assurance: High standards of workmanship ensure system longevity.
- Regulatory Compliance: Knowledge of local regulations and permit requirements.
- Post-Installation Support: Ongoing maintenance and support after the installation.
Our solar experts are ready to help you embark on your solar journey. Start with a free consultation to explore the potential of solar energy for your business.
From significant cost savings to positive environmental impacts, commercial solar installation holds immense value. Oregon City businesses, regardless of their size or industry, can benefit greatly from this shift to renewable energy.
Commercial Solar FAQs
Here are some of the most common questions we get answered as simply as we could:
What is the average cost of commercial solar installation?
The average cost of commercial solar installation varies, but it’s typically around $1-$3 per watt, depending on the scale and complexity of the installation.
Can solar panels generate power on cloudy days?
Yes, solar panels can generate power on cloudy days, although their efficiency will be reduced compared to sunny conditions.
What is the difference between ground mount installations and solar carports?
Ground mount installations are solar panels installed on the ground, while solar carports are installations built over parking areas, providing shade as well as power.
How much can I save on energy costs with commercial solar panels?
The amount you save on energy costs with commercial solar panels varies based on the size of the system and your energy usage, but savings can reach up to 70%.
What is the lifespan of a commercial solar power system?
The lifespan of a commercial solar power system is typically around 25 to 35 years, with proper maintenance ensuring optimal efficiency.