by Nikki Fotheringham

In the past, the enormous cost of commercial solar panel arrays meant they were adopted only by large corporations like Wal-Mart and Target. Thanks to increased efficiency, a drop in price and government incentives — even small to medium businesses can afford to switch to renewable energy to save on electricity bills and meet their sustainability goals. But is solar energy right for your business?

How Solar Energy is Beneficial for Commercial Companies

Going solar is one of the best investments your company can make to existing facilities or new building construction. The cost of electricity derived from fossil fuels continues to rise, with demand driving prices up, especially in summer. Installing solar panels can save you money on your monthly electricity bills, and you can expect an ROI of 13.91% and an 8.21-year payback period. Additionally, buildings produce 30% of the earth’s greenhouse gas pollution. You can help reduce the impact your company has on the environment and improve the community you live in through renewable energy.

Other commercial solar benefits include:

  • Better marketing and customer base: Many companies advertise their sustainability efforts, which helps them attract more eco-friendly customers. In fact, almost 70% of customers prefer to purchase products and services from sustainable brands.
  • Increased property value: Adding solar panels increases your property value. So, if your company ever looks to sell their property in the future, buyers are willing to pay more for a building with solar.

Solar makes sense for many businesses, but not all. If you want to reduce your high energy bills, scale back your energy consumption and lessen your carbon footprint, then solar is a great option. Here’s a deeper look into determining if your company is a good fit for solar.

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High Energy Bills

If your company has exorbitant energy bills, especially in states like California with high electricity rates, then you are well-suited for solar to offset those costs.

High Energy Consumption

Large companies — and factories, especially — consume vast amounts of energy, making them a good candidate for solar energy. However, any company can use renewable sources for their energy needs.

Sustainable Company Goals

As mentioned, companies produce over a quarter of global greenhouse gases. To combat this, companies are now looking to reduce their carbon footprint and improve their triple-bottom-line clean energy. If your company’s goal is to reduce its impact on the environment, solar is right for you.

Building Location

While any state is suitable for solar, companies located in states like Arizona and California, that have some of the most sunshine in the U.S., can experience higher efficiency and cost savings with solar. Also, buildings facing due south are ideally positioned, allowing commercial solar panels to be placed for optimal sun exposure.

Building Structures

Solar panels will add weight to the roof; therefore, your roof must be strong enough to ensure safety. Some companies already have a stable roof structure to support solar panels, but if your roof is undergoing construction, it may be a great time to go solar as well. You can contact renewable energy specialists like Therma to ascertain whether your building is right for commercial solar panels.

Available Funds

Going solar is a great investment, but it’s not free, so your company will need the capital to invest in clean energy. For many new startups and small businesses, that is not viable. However, if your company is dedicated to improving its sustainability, it can focus on cost savings and environmental stewardship in other ways, until it can afford to go solar. Green efforts can include recycling and switching to energy-efficient appliances.

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Is Your Business Right for Commercial Solar Panels?

A commercial solar array provides you with a wealth of benefits. You can save money, increase profitability, honor your social commitments and reduce your impact on the environment. Solar is beneficial for many companies, but not all are well-suited. Determining if your company is a good fit for solar means looking at your energy consumption, electricity bills, goals, financials and more.

An engineering consultant like Therma can help determine if your business is right for solar. Contact us today!

Nikki Fotheringham is an environmental journalist. She is the editor of where she shares green-living tips and helps people to live a more sustainable life.