Business Guide to Solar

Are you thinking about investing in solar for your business or commercial property, but aren't sure where to begin? Utah Clean Energy and Solarsimplified.org have compiled some simple steps to get you started and help you streamline the solar process.

10 Simple Steps to Solar for your Business:

1.

Learn about Solar Technology!

Learn more about the different solar technologies and determine which will best meet your energy needs and objectives. Get the Facts about Solar here.

2.

Determine Your Energy Usage Look at your power bill (or contact your electric utility) to figure out your annual energy usage and your peak monthly demand. You might want to consider performing an energy assessment of your business to determine your current energy baseline and identify opportunities for energy savings with energy efficiency measures.

3.

Set Your Energy Goals Establish your businesses energy, economic, and environmental goals, so you can customize your solar installation to meet your needs. Estimate sizes for a solar installation that will cover your usage or match your budget.  Working with a solar contractor or energy consultant can help you through this process.

4.

Start Saving Energy (and money!) Today! A more energy-efficient business will improve your bottom line and the ROI of your solar investment. Learn about low-hanging fruit that could save your business money. Did we mention it can improve your property value, too?

5.

Scope out your solar potential With ample roof space and unobstructed access to the sun, solar makes sense for a lot of businesses and commercial properties (yes, even in areas with a snow). If you live in Salt Lake County, you can use the Solar Simplified Map to estimate your business' annual solar potential. If your property is located outside Salt Lake County, the PVWatts Calculator can help you estimate your solar resource.

6.

Contact Solar Contractors! Depending on the size of your business and number of facilities, you may want to consider issuing a more formal Solar Request for Proposals [PDF] to receive bids from multiple solar contractors. You can also contact 2-3 installers directly and request a site visit and customized bid. We've provided a comprehensive contractor list (for Utah) and tips for selecting a solar contractor.

7.

Research Financing Options

Ask the contractor if they offer financing options, including lease arrangements and Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs). (Please note: solar leasing for commercial entities is allowable under Utah law; however, PPAs are not currently legal in Utah for commercial entities). You should also inquire with a financial institution about traditional financing options.

8.

Connect to the Grid

Work with your selected contractor to apply to connect with your utility (through a net metering agreement) and get credit for any excess energy you provide to the grid. (Please note: net metering agreements differ among utilities; check with your utility and ask about their net metering terms or ask your solar contractor to help with this). If you are planning an off-site, large-scale solar development, you will need to go through a different interconnection process.

9.

Install Solar! Let your employees, customers, and community know about your decision to install solar. Spread the word on social networking and share your story with us!

10.

Apply for Available Incentives Work with your selected contractor to apply for available incentives and improve your return on investment!

 

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Website content provided by Utah Clean Energy, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization working to stop energy waste, create clean energy, and build a smart energy future in Utah and the western United States.