Between rising energy costs and the effects of global warming, going green and helping the environment has become increasingly more important.
There are plenty of ways to go green at home and use residential solar energy, but there are also many things property owners can do to do their part in helping the environment.
One of best ways for property owners to do this through solar panel installation. Solar panels trap solar energy and uses it to heat, or, in some cases, power a building. There are now 1.3 million solar installations across the United States, with a cumulative capacity of over 40 gigawatts. The Solar Energy Industries Association estimates that one megawatt of electricity can power 164 homes, so 40 gigawatts enough capacity to power 6,560,000 U.S. households.
While the upfront cost of installing one can be pricey, there are tax rebates and incentives available and overtime, the lower energy costs will make residential solar energy and commercial solar energy worth it. Solar and wind power systems have 100 times better lifetime energy yield than either nuclear or fossil energy system per ton of mined materials.
If you’re a business owner who wants to help the environment, here are three reasons to invest in solar panels for commercial properties and custom solar designs.
- Incentives: One reason to invest in solar panels and custom solar designs is that there are aggressive incentives available at the federal and state levels to help ease the initial cost of a solar panel system. Incentives like the Investment Tax Credit, allows businesses to install a solar panel system for a 30% tax credit. An added benefit to this is there’s no cap to the amount a business can install, so businesses don’t have to install the bare minimum in terms of a system. Depending on the rebates offered by each state, businesses can get both federal and state rebates and the bigger the system is, the higher the rebate is.
As if that wasn’t enough, when it comes to solar panels, there’s a metering policy in many states. What’s a metering policy? It means businesses only have to pay for the electricity they use. It also means companies can bank the electricity they don’t use and it can come in handy for paying future energy bills.
- Depreciation: As if the government incentives won’t enough, businesses installing solar panels can speed up the depreciation on the cost of the system through the Modified Accelerated Cost-Recovery System (MARCS). What this does is it allows a company to get cash flow from a solar panel system for let’s say, 20 years and the value of the system is taken out of gross income over five years. This results in lower tax liability for that company over that five-year period.
- Lower Operating Costs: It almost goes without saying that solar panels and custom solar designs can lower a company’s operating costs. While companies may pay a lot up front in the installation cost, over time, the savings a company will get from reduced utilities will pay for the system down the line. When it comes to commercial properties, building owners who install solar panels can reduce operating expenses and then pass those savings on to tenants.
Ultimately, solar panels and custom solar designs can have three benefits when it comes to lower operating costs:
- Keeping lease rates for tenants at a reasonable rate
- Higher levels of occupancy.
- The ability for companies to maintain good profit margins with lower operating costs and high occupancy.
The cost of custom solar designs and going solar can be initially high for companies wanting to go green. But over the long run, multiple tax incentives, reduced operating costs and accelerated depreciation are just a few of the reasons a business should consider investing in a solar power system. In fact, the cost to install solar panels has dropped by over 70% since 2010.
The same is true of residential solar energy. There are plenty of benefits to having a residential solar panel installed, not the least of which is making your home greener and helping the environment. The cost of residential solar energy may be high to start, but in the long run it will more than pay off.