From the discounts and tax benefits to the customer and employee satisfaction, see why it pays to take your business or nonprofit green with solar energy.
Every business owner and nonprofit manager wants higher profit margins and lower operating costs.
But what’s the biggest or most unpredictable expense many businesses would like to get rid of?
If you said the electricity bill, a light bulb may have lit up over your head.
Replacing your traditional energy provider with solar power will shrink or eliminate your electricity bills, fact.
But will your company earn a strong enough ROI to make switching to commercial solar worth it?
From the financial discounts to the environmental impact, commercial solar offers a proven way to not only reduce your energy costs, but deliver profound business returns too.
Let’s make sure you’re not missing out on the mega savings solar energy has to offer your brand or nonprofit.
Can You Spot the 9 Signs It’s Time Your Business Invests in Solar Energy?
Your business or nonprofit is ready to make the switch to solar power if:
1. You’re Paying More than 15% of Your Operating Costs in Electricity
The proverbial cost of keeping the lights on is high, but not as expensive as HVAC costs for heating and air conditioning giant office buildings, self-storage facilities, packing operations, cold storage facilities, etc.
So think about your business’ average monthly electric bill. Now think about cutting it in half or completely getting rid of it with solar energy.
You know how solar energy works, right?
Solar panels installed on your commercial, agricultural, or industrial property will capture sunlight during the day and transform that energy into usable electricity to power your business, farm, or facility.
Whatever energy your business doesn’t use gets sent back to the power grid to be shared with other businesses.
Since you’re helping the utility company meet their energy demands, they’ll credit your business’ account like a payment for your solar-generated electricity.
Your solar panels won’t produce electricity all the time (since the sun’s not out all day). So when you need power at night or during inclement weather, you’ll use electricity courtesy of your utility company.
That’s one of the major benefits of staying connected to the grid: you’ll never be without power, regardless of the weather.
Instead of paying the utility company for electricity like you’re used to, they’ll use your solar-generated credits to lower the cost of your monthly bill.
Produce more electricity than you consume and your business will achieve the sought-after zero balance electricity bill.
And if you happen to operate in a state that buys solar energy, your business may even earn a profit from your generated solar power.
You probably already know all of this.
What you’re probably really worried about is the initial investment to make the transition to commercial solar when there’s zero room in the budget for improvements.
2. It’s Hard to Find Money in the Budget
If you’re working for a startup, lean manufacturing business, nonprofit, or government municipality, you know how difficult it is to squeeze two pennies out of a nickel.
Between not having enough customers to not having enough grant funding, endowments, and pledges, your budget is constantly stretched to the max.
Investing in solar energy is a low-risk upgrade to keep your operating costs slim, which means you can continue to take care of your business or the causes that matter.
Now you don’t have to make a huge, upfront financial investment to install solar energy on your property.
Since solar energy is becoming so popular, more business are choosing to lease their solar arrays and take advantage of the low or zero-upfront costs of a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA).
Here’s how it works:
Your business or nonprofit will sign a long-term contract with a solar energy provider like 1st Light Energy and/or an investment or financial backer.
They’ll assess your property for solar panels and then design and purchase the solar system.
You’ll sit back as they take on all the upfront costs, permitting, and financial risks.
Your solar panels will be installed on your property and connected to the power grid for very little money down on your end. And you’ll start generating power (and credits) immediately.
Since your solar provider owns your solar panels, they’ll be selling your business the power generated on your property — but at a discounted rate that’s better than what you’re paying the electric company now.
Your solar provider also assumes all the monitoring responsibilities so you don’t have to add those duties to one of your already-swamped employees.
A solar lease guarantees a low, fixed electric rate for 15–20 years to make budgeting easier.
[bctt tweet=”A solar lease guarantees a low, fixed electric rate for 15–20 years to make budgeting easier.” username=”1stLightSolar”]
It also protects you from the rising costs of electricity in the future. Because let’s be honest, we’re all scared about how high those are going to be.
3. Your Electricity Costs Continue Escalating
Right now you’re paying for electricity that could (and will) increase every year.
In fact, the cost of electricity in the commercial sector went from an average of 10.25 to 10.58 cents per kWh between May 2016 and May 2017.
Though that doesn’t seem like much, that’s a 3.2% increase.
How many other aspects of your business have jumped in price that much?
When you’re trying to control costs from every corner of your operation, increases like this tip the scale out of your favor.
But switching to commercial solar always guarantees a predictably low energy bill.
Eliminate your electric expenses will solar panels your business owns or lease your solar panels and only pay a discounted rate for electricity.
Either way, solar power means you’ll have one less expense to worry about every month — especially if your industry is already battling too many costly variables.
4. Your Industry Already Has Enough Unpredictability
Farmers, growers, vineyard managers — your life has enough stress and unpredictability for anyone of less muster to handle.
Between the changing weather patterns of global warming, watering restrictions, and variable market conditions, the last thing you need is an unpredictable electric bill.
The kicker is that most ag businesses have wide, open access to the sun, so it’s a shame not to harvest that power alongside your prized produce, grapes, or flowers.
Ag solar is a smart investment for large and small farms, vineyards, nurseries, and more.
Unpredictable energy fluctuations won’t destroy your bottom line and budget when you switch to the reliable, predictable costs of solar.
Then you can actually spend money to invest in your business, like buying new equipment and tractors.
Costly equipment is a drain on any operation’s budget, but nowhere near the expense of paying the electricity bills for a manufacturing plant or facility.
5. You Have to Keep Manufacturing Costs Lean
You can’t operate a factory or manufacture anything these days without electricity.
The EPA says the manufacturing sector drives most of their energy consumption to powering their machines (50%).
Image Source: EPA.gov
So how do you reduce your electric costs and operating expenses without working your machines less?
The answer is solar energy.
Since most plants operate outside of the tall buildings in town, you can set up long strings of solar panels on every flat roof at your facility and generate loads of electricity with your prime, unobstructed access to the sun.
This will definitely quicken your ROI as the more energy you produce, the more credits you’ll be earning with the utility company.
And when your monthly electric bills are higher than some Americans’ salaries, slashing this monster expense from your books will feel like a weight off your budget’s shoulders.
Plus, your buildings may even earn LEED certification, which means they’re resource efficient to “use less water and energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” which is pretty neat too.
Commercial solar will power your operation just as efficiently as traditional power — except it’s more affordable and will safeguard your business from rising electricity costs.
Especially if you operate more than one facility.
6. You’re Responsible for the Energy Costs at Multiple Locations
Lower your operating costs for your business or nonprofit with commercial solar and you’ll see tremendous savings.
Multiply that for every location or facility you operate across the country and your savings will be even higher.
Commercial solar and enterprise solar solutions offering end-to-end services give you the simplicity of one team and POC to handle everything from design to maintenance across multiple properties.
Hotels, bakeries, banks, and even golf courses can benefit from switching to solar energy with very few headaches.
7. You’re Powering a Golf Course, Country Club, or Outdoor Rec Area
The nine-hole Northport Creek Golf Course in Michigan is the “first course in the nation designed and built to be totally solar-powered,” Ron Whitten writes for Golf Digest.
Their solar panels generate enough electricity to power the clubhouse and make sure the golf carts are charged.
Northport also use solar energy to pump the wells and power the irrigation system, which eats up much of every golf course’s electrical costs.
Image Source: Northport Creek Golf Course
“I think the reason most golf courses never considered solar power was cost,” Bill Collins, the owner of the only 100% renewable energy golf course says. “Only in recent years has the price of solar cells dropped enough to make it reasonable.”
And if you qualify for special incentives to go green, the cost of switching to solar will be even less.
Here is Brookside Golf & Country Club, we installed solar here in November 2016.
It is a 123 KW rooftop system that offsets 100% of the energy cost for proshop, cart barn, and tennis club. It reduced the cost of energy by over 30% using PPA.
8. You Qualify for Special Solar Energy Incentives
Certain businesses will qualify for specific incentives and tax rebates to make going green more affordable.
There are so many programs to help cut the costs of switching to commercial solar, such as:
- Rebate offers
- Utility-specific incentives
- Solar grants from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)
- Renewable energy programs
- Local and federal tax incentives like the Business Energy Investment Tax Credit (ITC)
Snag a few of these discounts for your solar energy installation and you’ll start paying off your system before you generate a single kW.
Go ahead and humble brag. It’s going to be good for your business.
9. You Want to Increase Awareness for Your Brand and Improve Your Reputation
The appeal of going green isn’t going anywhere soon.
Installing solar panels shows your commitment to bettering your neighborhood and community, not to mention your go-green attitude to protect the environment.
Every kW of solar power installed reduces greenhouse gas emissions, lowers your carbon footprint, and helps get rid of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere.
These are all marketable points you can use to advertise your brand or nonprofit.
Improving your brand perception with solar panels increases awareness for your cause and attracts donations and pledges.
Customers also flock to businesses with the green badge of honor. Businesses that advertise their environmental impact are more likeable by both their customers and employees.
Most of our employees have been working in the solar industry since the 1990s. We know a bit about using solar energy to foster a better workplace and keep our customers and employees happy.
1st Light Energy Has Been Working in the Commercial Solar World for Over 10 Years
Our experience in commercial solar ranges in projects of all shapes and sizes. We’ve installed over 300 commercial solar systems and we’re ready to tackle yours next.
Stick with conventional power and you’ll have to deal with the rising costs of electricity, the often volatile, unpredictable pricing, and your growing carbon footprint.
Switch to solar power and you’ll enjoy a free, carbon-neutral, non-polluting source of energy offering reliable, consistent electricity rates.
Instead of delaying the switch to solar energy, find out what you should look for in a solar energy company to get the process started.
You’ll be one step closer to using your monthly savings to reinvest in your core business.
Click here for a free, no-obligation quote from 1st Light Energy and make the switch to solar energy today.