The Economics of Using Solar Energy For Commercial Buildings

The Economics of Using Solar Energy For Commercial Buildings

Consumption of solar energy for commercial buildings has become a hot topic today. There is a reason why more business owners across Canada are taking a closer look at solar. In actuality, there are numerous reasons. And if you are still on the fence on what placing photovoltaic (PV) panels can do to help your own business, here are the top five advantages commercial property owners report after going solar.

5 Advantages Of Commercial Solar

1. Financial Savings

Unsurprisingly, saving money is your #1 motivation for many commercial solar customers. By installing PV panels, then you are ready to cancel your utility bills with free electricity generated from sunlight. And those savings quickly accumulate, with a lot of the systems we put in for our clients’ paying for themselves at an average of 8 to 12 years.

And keep in mind that energy costs keep trending upward globally. So the solar investment you make now also can help shield you from inevitable utility rate hikes in the future.

2. Energy Freedom

The most developed electricity markets are not immune to grid blackouts. That’s because utility suppliers globally must deliver electricity across aging infrastructure, often balancing a mix of heritage energy resources and renewable energy sources. And with overburdened networks, increasing demand, and increasingly unpredictable weather, blackouts will probably become more prevalent — even here, in Western Canada.

If business continuity is vital to your operations, connecting PV Panels with solar batteries might help ensure 100% uptime even when the rest of the grid goes down. Whether to include onsite storage is optional. But depending upon your energy requirements and the plan of your PV system, connecting batteries not only gives you reliable backup power but can also help your savings and make going solar a much better investment than it already is.

3. Environmental Savings

Instead of power your business with dirty electricity produced from fossil fuel, switching to solar lets you exploit the clean energy which hits your roof with every new sunrise.  Solar energy for commercial buildings will help reduce your carbon footprint too.

4. Corporate Social Responsibility

Moving solar can help you generate more sales and more powerful business relationships. This is because providers, vendors, and customers increasingly prefer making a trade with companies that support values such as sustainability.

Although there are several different ways you can demonstrate your Company’s dedication to the environment, setting up solar panels on your commercial property is both the simplest and most profitable.

5. Property Value Increases

Installing solar panels has the potential to raise the resale value of your commercial property. And it may also reduce the quantity of time your property remains on the market.  The reason is simple.

Prospective buyers are more likely to pay a premium for solar-enabled properties that provide the benefits outlined earlier. Those potential buyers begin enjoying carbon offsets, lower utility bills, and goodwill on Day 1.

And those benefits do not go away before the PV system exceeds its valuable lifetime. Most solar panels ship with guarantees of 25 years, even though a well-maintained setup can easily last 40 years or more.

How to Finance Your Solar Panel Installation?

The two most common ways to fund a commercial solar installation is with money or low-interest loans:

  1. With money, you pay for the whole installation upfront: labor and components included. In case you’ve got the available funds, this is the most direct way to go solar. Paying for a system with cash also provides the shortest potential payback period of any funding approach.
  2. Having a low-interest solar loan, you acquire money to pay for the whole setup upfront — labor and all parts included. Then you use the monthly savings from the solar installation to pay down the loan balance over time — often with cash left over after each billing cycle. Therefore, you are not actually paying anything out-of-pocket. When the loan has been repaid, the whole system is yours.

Whichever financing plan you use, make sure you take benefit of every appropriate incentive and tax credit that you can. Doing this can help to push the upfront and long-term expenses of going solar.

The Canadian government has a comprehensive resource, particularly for business-related solar tax credits. And Alberta has just introduced a solar rebate program for neighborhood businesses.

How To Install Your Commercial Solar Panels?

Having the best solar panels available in Western Canada and installing them is critical to your long-term achievement.  The best place to get a solar installation is on a pitched south-facing roof that’s both large enough and powerful enough to accommodate solar panels. But not every commercial property meets these specific requirements.

Fortunately, it’s possible to put solar in a wide range of various configurations — while still creating huge financial and environmental savings. Some of the more popular setups include installing panels:

  • On flat roofs — such as with grocery shops or warehouses
  • On pitched roofs — South-facing is best but not mandatory.
  • As carports — create energy and create shade for parked vehicles.
  • As ground-mounted systems — that provide some of the highest yields As a result of their flexibility
  • As you can see, there are very few commercial properties and spaces for which solar does not make sense.

Now Go Enjoy These Commercial Solar Benefits

From greater savings to cleaner air to happier clients, solar energy for commercial buildings offers many hard to ignore benefits. And that the government is ready to subsidize some of your clean power investment should make a choice even easier.

Commercial Solar Highlights

Presently, commercial solar breakevens are less than commercial Electricity costs in many areas in Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, and Ontario. This means that companies in many areas there could expect to save money by installing solar.

Companies could also expect to save money with solar in most areas in New Brunswick if smart meters are introduced. Rebate programs in Saskatchewan make present costs like those in the not too distant future, while rebate programs in Alberta make present prices closer to people in a low-cost future. This means companies could expect to save money with commercial solar in many places in Saskatchewan and Alberta.

Commercial solar breakevens will also be lower than industrial power costs in the Northwest Territories and Nunavut, meaning companies there can expect to save money by installing solar. Though, the cost to install solar in the lands is probably higher than assumed in this study since they’re remote. Firms in Yukon could also expect to save money with solar if smart meters are installed.

In a low-cost future situation, commercial solar should save companies money in many Canadian communities.

Federal Incentives

Provincial authorities have recognized this and are providing Canadians with a growing number of incentives to make the switch to solar. For those in Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Ontario, and New Brunswick (where countries haven’t committed to their carbon contamination pricing systems), there’s a rebate for small and medium-sized businesses that invest in green technologies, such as solar PV.

This goes by the title Climate Action Incentive Fund and supplies rebates of up to 25 percent of project cost, ranging from $20,000 to $250,000. Various energy efficiency upgrades are qualified, including solar PV, hydro, and wind power generation.

The funds for this program come from carbon tax money collected by the federal government since the provincial authorities are refusing to do so. Each of the carbon tax money collected is put into every state’s economy in the form of various subsidies and applications.

From an economic standpoint, this is a pretty good mechanism to encourage change (in this case, for companies to generate less carbon dioxide in their production processes) while at the same time being economically neutral, since it doesn’t result in a recession to the local market.

Whether it’s for fiscal or for environmental purposes, solar energy for commercial buildings makes sense in just about any place in Canada!

Listed by state and territory, below are the incentives and rebates currently available.

Province/Territory Net-Metering Size Limit Rebate or Rate
British Columbia Yes 100 kW Rate: $0.0999/kWh
Alberta Yes 5 MW Rebate: Depends
Manitoba No 200 kW Rate: $0.03949/kWh
New Brunswick Yes 100 kW Rebate: $0.20 – $0.30/Watt
Newfoundland & Labrador Yes 100 kW Wholesale rate
Northwest Territories Yes 15 kW Rebate: 50% up to $50,000
Nova Scotia Yes  100 kW Rebate: $0.85/Watt
Nunavut Yes 10 kW
Ontario Yes 500 kW
Prince Edward Island Yes 100 kW
Quebec Yes 50 kW
Saskatchewan Yes 100 kW Rate: $0.075/kWh
Yukon Yes 50 kW Rebate:$0.80/Watt, rate: $0.30/kWh


1 comment

I liked it when you shared that it is great to incorporate solar energy power for your commercial building in order to help reduce your carbon footprint. In this way, you can also save on monthly energy bills. I would like to think if a company needs to improve its carbon footprint, it should consider installing solar power energy on its premises.

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