Renewable energy is great for the planet, and great for your home or business. However, setting everything up can be a bit of a hassle and can involve significant upfront expense, which is a big stumbling blocks keeping people from going solar. However, if you’ve been considering installing solar panels on your commercial real estate in NJ, you need to think it through from all angles.
In today’s blog, we will discuss solar panel installation in a commercial space – why you should consider doing it, how you’d go about doing it, and more.
The benefits of going solar on commercial property
Installing a renewable energy resource on commercial property offers slightly different benefits compared to installing one on a residential building. Let’s go over some of the main benefits, before we take a look at some cons of using solar energy in a commercial space.
- Good ROI
POWERHOME says: “When thinking about switching your commercial building to solar power, consider it an investment, not an expense. The return on investment you get from solar power often exceeds that of most other investments in terms of the money your business saves over the years.”
- You have full control over your energy bills
“Predicting operating costs can be difficult since you often don’t know what the future will bring. But predicting your electric bill becomes pretty easy once you add solar panels. Instead of facing unpredictable and wildly fluctuating energy bills, you’ll know what to expect each month with a commercial solar panel system that dramatically reduces your energy costs. Your budgeting just got easier because you won’t have to worry about rising energy prices.”
- Increase the property’s value
From POWERHOME: “Homes and commercial buildings that have solar panels can have higher property values and sell faster than those that don’t, per multiple studies. And that is not likely to change. With the solar revolution gaining steam, adding commercial solar panels figures to make your building more desirable. If you have lower electric bills, that’s a boon for any business owner.”
- Reduces operating costs
Once you’ve paid off the cost of the solar panels, the operating costs at your facility will go down significantly. This means that your commercial real estate in NJ will be more manageable, as instead of facing an unpredictable and potentially fluctuating bill, you can form a decent idea of what to expect.
- Solar panels are more affordable than ever
POWERHOME writes: “Solar panel installation costs have fallen more than 70 percent over the last decade. This means the price of adding solar panels also has fallen. The federal Solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC), state tax credits, and cash rebates all work to reduce the solar system installation cost.”
These were some of the key benefits of getting solar panels installed at your commercial real estate in NJ. However, there are many more advantages of using solar energy – tax credits, incentives, eco-friendliness, better brand image, high reliability, low maintenance, no running costs, supporting the local economy, and more.
The cons of using solar energy in a commercial space
When you try to find the advantages of solar energy, you’ll find tons and tons of articles on the subject. However, very few people (and fewer businesses) actually use solar panels on their property. Why’s that the case? It’s because, like everything else, solar power has its downsides too. Here’s what you need to know about the downsides of installing solar panels.
Sobieski Inc. says: “Although solar panels decrease your dependence on your electrical company, they increase your dependence on the weather, which is even less predictable. Cloudy days reduce the system’s efficiency, and too many in a row can leave you with higher power bills than you expected.
If your building is surrounded by tall trees or buildings, your system may never reach its full potential efficiency. In all but the sunniest of conditions, you’ll still be somewhat reliant on your power company. That’s why it’s critical to have a technician review your building site and electricity requirements before you decide to invest in solar power.”
In addition, solar panels will need maintenance, dust and dirt will reduce its efficiency so it’ll need periodic cleaning, and hail or animals can damage the panels – in which case you’ll need to call out a repair tech to your commercial real estate in NJ. If you own a large property away from the city hub, that can be fairly expensive.
These are all unpredictable factors that may make solar panels expensive or inefficient, but here’s one factor that’s pretty solid: cost.
From Sobieski Inc.: “Even with rebates and tax breaks, installing a commercial solar energy system is still a hefty upfront investment. If the system is being added to an existing structure, the electrical system will have to be reconfigured. You may also need to upgrade your roof. These factors make installing a system in an existing building more expensive than installing one during construction.
To avoid a costly disappointment, run an exhaustive cost-benefit analysis with guidance from a solar energy technician before you put down that much cash up front.”
Knowing both the pros and cons is very important when considering something as important as a renewable energy source. Sure, solar power has a lot going for it, but nothing is ever just good – there’s a good and a bad side to just about anything.
Can you put solar panels on commercial property?
The rules and regulations governing commercial properties are very different from those around residential spaces, so you need to start with the obvious questions. To begin with – can you install solar panels on commercial property? Yes you can, although there may be some ifs and buts.
In fact, in some places you may be required to have solar panels on your property! From calsolarinc.com: “Way back in 2018, California’s Building Standards Commission swore in a new piece of legislation completely unique to any previous law in the United States. In an effort to draw 100% of state electricity from renewable resources, the government mandated that solar panels would be required on all new residential buildings with 3 stories or less. Flash forward to 2020, and law is now in effect.”
Next, how do you install them? This is a more complicated question to answer.
The Clean Energy States Alliance (CESA) has a comprehensive guide that you can read here. Here’s a quick look at the kind of information the file covers:
The installation of rooftop solar PV systems raises issues related to building, fire, and electrical codes. Because rooftop solar is a relatively new technology and often added to a building after it is constructed, some code provisions may need to be modified to ensure that solar PV systems can be accommodated while achieving the goals of the codes. Some primary code issues that impact rooftop PV installations include:
- Restrictive or ambiguous language written into the codes;
- Lag time between the release of updated model codes and new PV industry best practices and the widespread adoption of the codes and best practices;
- Variation across jurisdictions in which code editions and amendments are adopted; and
- Inconsistent, inefficient, or improper enforcement of codes.
Building, fire, and electrical codes are adopted at the state level in some states and at the local level in others. State-level code adoption can provide a level of consistency and uniformity to the industry that reduces costs, in comparison to a state where there are inconsistencies between various municipalities. On the other hand, codes adopted at the state level may restrict a local government’s ability to update codes to reflect new information or best practices or to make modifications to suit its unique needs and conditions.
So, this was a quick bit of feet dipping into the subject of installing solar panels – the practical aspect, that is.
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Since its inception in 1932, The Blau & Berg Company has held a leading position in the New Jersey and Tri-State commercial real estate market. Headquartered in Short Hills, New Jersey, Blau & Berg is an independent, full- service commercial real estate brokerage firm providing services in the industrial, retail and office spaces, including: site selection, acquisitions, dispositions, leasing, tenant representation, portfolio sales, asset repositioning, and property & construction consulting.
At Blau & Berg, our mission is to be recognized as a trusted real estate company that provides exceptional and uncompromising value to our clients, employees and salespeople. Dedicated to the development of long-term relationships, we place our clients’ interests ahead of our own. Our team approach philosophy ensures the needs of each and every member of our organization and business partners’ (including Independent Contractors) sustained support.