With the rapidly rising focus on corporate sustainability and ESG compliance, many businesses are starting to ask the question, “Is it time to invest in a solar energy system?” Solar energy has grown in adoption and popularity over the last decade as more and more organizations realize the immense economical and practical benefits of switching to solar. By installing rooftop panels, a business can significantly cut down on utility expenses, generate its own electricity and meet important corporate social responsibility initiatives. However, proper solar panel installation isn’t something to jump right into without doing proper homework. There are many considerations to keep in mind when deciding if solar panels are a wise investment for an organization. Following are a few questions and initial first steps to focus on before making the decision to switch to solar.
Conduct a Comprehensive Power Audit to Determine the Organization’s Energy Needs
Conducting an energy audit will help to determine exactly how much energy a business uses and how much power will need to be generated from solar to meet all operational needs. Solar power will be more cost effective if the business understands its top energy needs and can reduce unnecessary expenditures. It’s also important to review the company’s current electricity usage and utility bill structure to better understand the fiscal feasibility of implementing a solar panel system.
Examine the Facility’s Roof Infrastructure
- Shape: Depending on the size and shape of the roof, there may or may not be enough room for solar panels. Restructuring a roof will add a significant cost to the project and therefore may not provide the required return on investment.
- Repair Needs: If a business’s roof is outdated or in need of repair, it’s best to conduct all roof work before the solar panel installation process begins to avoid the headache and costs of dismantling them after the fact.
- Slope/Weight/Drainage: The slope of a company’s roof should provide the most possible sun exposure for maximizing energy generation output. The structure must also be able to handle the weight of solar panels without collapsing. Lastly, its crucial to ensure the solar equipment installed will not interfere with water flow and drainage systems.
Contact A Local Utility Provider
It’s always a good idea to contact your local utility company to determine whether it offers reward opportunities for installing solar panels. There are many incentive programs available to businesses, depending on the provider and the geographic region where the organization is located.. A solar power system must connect to the power grid, so having an upfront conversation with your utility company will help the business better understand how long it will take to get hooked up, associated fees, and how/when it can expect to be credited for generated electricity.
Get Quotes and Shop Around
Not all solar installation companies are the same. A reputable contractor that charges fair prices can save a business a significant amount of money in the long run, so it’s always best practice to shop around, get quotes and compare offerings before choosing a specific solar panel variety and an installation partner. Before signing a contract, inquire about financing, ownership and performance as well as how the data is collected on electricity production and usage requirements for corporate social responsibility and ESG compliance and reporting purposes. Also, be aware of the cheapest options—as low-cost panels are often less durable, produce smaller amounts of energy, and may even be a liability or safety hazard.
Be Sure The Business is Properly Insured
Before getting solar panels, a business must be properly insured with provisions to cover any costs associated with issues that might take place during or after the panel installation process. Always review local building codes and regulations in addition to checking rebate opportunities and certifications that may be required in order for the business to be insured. To learn more, connect with state and municipality representatives to determine which regional regulations apply.
Maintaining Solar Panels
When you consult with a contractor, be sure to discuss the maintenance requirements and offerings for commercial solar panels and roof installations to ensure the business can manage the all necessary upkeep procedures—otherwise, the equipment likely won’t last as long as it’s designed to and the organization may lose out on part of the long-term investment.
Contact Sunworks USA
At Sunworks USA, we help businesses and homeowners switch to solar and eliminate energy dependence on the power grid. Our experts can determine the best solutions and manage the project from design and permitting to procurement, construction operation and even maintenance needs. Call us at 866-600-6800 today or connect with one of our experts today!