The goal of the contractor’s design is to produce enough kW hours during the day so the facility can rely on banked hours when the sun is down. Since banked hours can carry forward from month to month, this cycle can be used to offset lower winter production with high summer production.
There are several incentives on the state and federal level that make the installation of a solar array an appealing option. Currently, the most effective incentive is a 30 percent tax credit or grant available to all U.S. commercial customers. Through this program, companies installing a solar-energy system can receive a tax credit or grant payment for 30 percent of the cost of the system.
In addition, commercial customers have the ability to use accelerated depreciation to write off the cost of the installation. The IRS has categorized solar equipment as having a five-year useable life, when in fact it is 25 years. This allows businesses to use a five-year accelerated depreciation on the installation.
State incentives can vary greatly depending on your location and utility service territory. Your solar contractor should be able to explain the incentives for your state and how they apply to your proposed system. A great resource for information about various state programs is dsireusa.org.
How solar works as a viable energy solution isn’t just tied to the technology. There are several other factors that have a direct affect on how well it will work for your facility. The more incentives available in your area, the quicker the system will pay for itself. By being aware of what’s needed beyond the technology, you can be prepared to work with a qualified installer to find a renewable energy solution that works with your company’s goals.
Bob Burson is the director of business development for DL Energy, an energy-efficiency and solar-integration company that provides custom-energy solutions for the commercial industry. For more information, call 661.310.7245; visit www.dlenergy.net.