Smart Commercial Solar Panel Installation for a Greener Future

January 26, 2024

The solar panel industry is gaining recognition with the improved collective understanding of Earth’s limited natural resources. More and more households are investing in solar panel arrays and becoming energy-efficient. But is it possible to utilize solar electricity for business purposes? Absolutely! Equipping your property with commercial solar panels is not only feasible but highly advantageous for your operations and environmental impact.

We developed this comprehensive guide to commercial solar panel installation to help you figure out whether going solar is the right choice for your business. Keep reading to determine if you should invest in this sustainable energy solution.

What Are the Benefits of Commercial Solar Panels?

You can find many reasons why installing solar panels for commercial buildings resonates with many business owners today. Industrial solar panel installation offers sustainability, energy independence, reduced expenses, and lower environmental impact.

Industrial Solar Panel Installation Improves Energy Resilience

Constant electricity price increases and market instability make it difficult for many businesses to survive.

Commercial solar installations ensure sustainable production of electricity onsite. In the event of a power cut, solar power comes to the rescue. Enterprises can exploit solar power systems with battery backups.

Another benefit of harnessing solar power for commercial purposes is avoiding ever-rising and peak-period prices. Solar technology gets increasingly cheaper every year, and even small businesses can benefit from commercial solar installations.

Commercial Solar Panels Reduce Operating Costs

Though we cannot deny the importance of decreasing carbon footprint, let’s get real. Most businesses’ decision to opt for commercial solar energy stems from financial feasibility. Commercial solar panel installations bring long-term financial benefits, reducing operating expenses.

Reduced electricity priceSolar energy remains the cheapest form of all energy sources, particularly those generated by fossil fuels.
Energy independenceWith commercial solar panel installation, you break free from external energy providers, becoming your own energy source. This not only prevents unpredictable electricity prices but also provides stability for your energy costs.
Increased property valueInstalling solar panels on industrial buildings often enhances commercial property value and makes selling easier.
Inexpensive servicingCommercial solar arrays are silent and have relatively low maintenance costs. In addition, commercial property design typically makes it easy to access solar systems so that regular system checkups won’t pose any difficulty.
Tax deduction and other state programsThe owners of commercial solar panels can apply for various state financial incentives such as Tax Credit (ITC). You can also be eligible for rebates or financial programs depending on the state.

Commercial Solar Panels Installations Improve Brand Representation

It is not a secret that solar energy is better for the environment than traditional fossil-fuel energy sources.

Despite this, many business owners overlook the positive impact of going solar on brand marketing. Your business clients will recognize your eco-conscious decisions in the modern social climate. It will give you an advantage over your marketing competitors and improve audience loyalty.

Drawbacks of Commercial Solar Installation

Despite many advantages, commercial solar panels have disadvantages that business owners should be aware of. Understanding the potential pitfalls of using solar energy for business is essential.

We distinguish two main disadvantages of solar panels for commercial use:

  • Hefty upfront payment
  • Weather dependency

Let’s focus on each disadvantage separately.

Hefty Upfront Payment

Commercial solar panels dishearten many business owners because of the high upfront installation cost. Indeed, solar panels require financial investments some companies simply can’t afford. However, the expensive installation process will most definitely pay off over time.

Business owners who want to switch to commercial solar panels should also expect to spend on extra maintenance work. Some industrial buildings have roofs that won’t be able to support industrial solar installation. It can cause additional expenses for roof upgrades or replacement.

Weather Dependency

Another potential downside of commercial solar panels is their reliability. The amount of electricity your solar panels can produce depends on weather conditions in your geographical location. How much electricity you generate will change daily and from season to season.

Such variability won’t be effective for certain types of businesses. For some, incorporating other energy sources may be necessary, such as solar batteries to store energy accumulated during peak hours. However, this requires additional investments.

How Expensive Are Commercial Solar Panels?

A solar array installation cost depends on various factors. Since every project design is unique, it will require a different amount of money. However, it is still possible to estimate national averages.

The total price of commercial solar panel installation in kilowatts will include the following:

  • Installation costs
  • Inverters
  • Solar array modules
  • Design
  • Project size

On average, commercial solar power installation costs a business owner anywhere between $50,000 and $600,000 in the US.

Smart Commercial Solar Panel Installation for a Greener Future

Source: Sunpower

There is a direct correlation between commercial solar panel size and the amount of money a business owner should invest. Put it bluntly, the larger your solar power system, the more you pay. However, installing pre-assembled solar panels can reduce commercial solar panels costs. They are more cost-efficient than purchasing the solar panel components separately and assembling them independently.

Is Commercial Solar Power the Right Choice for Your Business?

As a business owner, you understand the importance of applying feasible energy solutions. Consider your current electricity bill if you wonder whether commercial solar panels are a wise choice. Commercial solar installations suit companies that spend money on monthly electricity bills.

Solar panels on industrial buildings reduce energy costs by around 75%. Suppose your company spends $1,000 per month on electricity needs. Commercial solar panels will roughly save you $750, resulting in $9,000 annually.

In this way, you can pay off the cost of commercial solar panel installation in 3 to 7 years.

However, small businesses using electricity for less than $300 monthly will save at most $2,700 annually. It makes the solar panel installation too pricey.

Can You Maximize Commercial Solar Panels Potential?

Solar panel efficiency typically ranges between 15% and 20%, with outliers on either end of the spectrum. Some high-efficiency solar panels are reported to be able to reach as much as 23%. However, most photovoltaic panels on the market demonstrate less than 20% efficiency. Can your commercial solar panel system be as efficient as possible?

First, let’s determine the factors influencing how much electricity your solar arrays can generate:

  • Frequency: Sunlight photons vibrate at different frequencies, influencing how well solar panels can absorb those photons and transform them into electricity. The higher the efficiency is, the more types of photons they can capture.
Smart Commercial Solar Panel Installation for a Greener Future

Source: Whitworth Near Space

  • Material: Monocrystalline silicon, polycrystalline silicon, or cadmium telluride influence how effectively commercial solar panels convert sunshine into electricity.
  • Wiring: The arrangement of wires transporting solar power affects the panels’ efficiency.
  • Reflection: Solar panels need to absorb the light rather than reflect it. That is why solar arrays have a glass layer on top of silicon solar cells.
  • Shade: Commercial solar panel installers should be mindful of the position on the roof of an industrial building. Even a slight shade can significantly decrease the effectiveness of the solar system.
  • Temperature: Exposure to high temperatures harms energy production levels.

Now, let’s move to how to effectively increase the electricity your commercial solar panels generate.

Investing in a Solar Power Concentrator

One of the ways to improve your commercial solar panels’ output is by focusing on solar light. Concentrating devices contain mirrors or lenses that transmit sunlight onto a receiver. In turn, it captures the sunlight using a tracking mechanism and directs it to the solar panel to maximize efficiency. Moreover, a solar power concentrator can be a backup battery storing solar electricity at night.

Using a Backup Battery

Commercial solar panel efficiency highly depends on weather conditions business owners have no control over. For example, solar power generation is either reduced or impossible at night or on cloudy days. A backup battery allows you to store the energy produced earlier and utilize it when needed.

Adjusting Solar Panel Placement

You should pay extra attention to solar panel pitch since the slope of your solar arrays determines how much sunlight can be absorbed and converted into electricity.

Suppose a tree shades one solar panel — the performance of the whole commercial solar system will decrease. It happens because solar panels are interconnected, so the reduced functionality of one panel influences the rest of the arrays.

Smart Commercial Solar Panel Installation for a Greener Future

Source: Electronics Hub

Maintaining Solar Systems in Proper Condition

It may seem obvious, but commercial solar panel efficiency depends on its condition. The presence of dirt, rain, leaves, or other debris on the solar arrays decreases the energy output. If foreign objects stick to the surface, they act like a barrier, obstructing the sunlight or causing permanent damage.

So, regularly cleaning your solar arrays contributes to improved solar energy production levels.

What Does the Process of Installing Solar Panels for Commercial Buildings Look Like?

Once you decide on commercial solar panel installation, it’s time to focus on the technicality of the process. Equipping industrial buildings with solar panel systems requires specific steps to be taken.

Before installationAfter installation
Step 1. Choosing a commercial solar installer.

It is arguably the most crucial part of going with commercial solar panels. Since a solar installation company can make or break the solar power experience, it is essential to go with an experienced and reputable company.A representative from the solar company will visit your industrial building to check out the roof condition, shading, and sun exposure and calculate whether it can handle the solar array weight.The assessment itself will last for a few hours, but to factor in scheduling, the company expects this step to take about a week.

Step 4. Installation.

Finally, the necessary equipment is there, and you can start installing commercial solar panels. Believe it or not, it is the shortest part of your solar journey. Ideally, you will spend less than a few hours, provided your solar installer doesn’t face any unexpected issues.Commercial solar system installation starts with clearing the roof and mounting systems needed to ensure solar system stability. Then, the system is set up according to existing safety standards.

Step 2. Project design development.

Once you get the green light for solar system installation, it’s time to develop a detailed plan for your future commercial solar system. The project should include the optimal number of solar panels, the expected electricity production, and the approximate payback period.

Step 5. Inspection.

Once the installation is finished, you should proceed with a city inspection of your industrial building to ensure the solar array system functions properly and meets all the codes or regulations.The testing also includes checking the wires and ensuring a proper connection with a local electricity grid. Now, your commercial solar panels are ready to generate solar energy.

Step 3. Obtaining building and solar permits.

Once the solar panel system design is ready, you should move to a more tedious yet necessary step — applying for solar permits.The documentation required varies depending on location. Luckily, a commercial solar installer handles all the paperwork associated with solar panel installation. The company contacts local authorities to ensure the project meets state requirements.

Step 6. System performance analytics.

This step implies collecting real-time data on energy production. It helps you track commercial solar panel efficiency and identify performance issues to fix them promptly.

Best Commercial Solar Panel Installers

Now, let’s explore what commercial solar companies can offer progressive technology and profound industry expertise ready to meet business owners’ solar energy requests.

We have composed a list of the top 5 commercial solar installers for you.

Commercial solar companyProsCons
ADT SolarThe installer offers ground-mounted, rooftop, or shaded solar array systems, providing protection and financial compensation for solar equipment malfunctions.The purchase is available only through upfront payment and solar loans.
Green Home SystemThe installer produces commercial solar systems for large-scale and small businesses. It also supports backup battery installation.It has been on the market for less than ten years and doesn’t offer solar loans or PPAs.
Tesla SolarOffers a Megapack system that can suit all your facility needs.Not many customization options are available.
Freedom Solar PowerThe company services off-grid systems. It has experience cooperating with large businesses, including Office Depot and Whole Foods.The installer functions in 5 states only.
SunPowerThis installer is famous for highly-customized commercial solar panels and selling batteries/ EV chargers.Clients report higher prices compared to other commercial solar companies.

Wrapping Up: Are Commercial Solar Systems Worth It?

Due to their feasibility, commercial solar panels proved to be an effective money-saving solution for large and small businesses alike. Solar panels for industrial use can help:

  • Reduce electricity bills
  • Engage eco-conscious customers
  • Improve the brand image
  • Become less dependent on a National Grid

To maximize commercial solar panel efficiency, stick to a reputable solar system installer that customizes solar panel installation to suit your business needs.

In the end, despite certain inconveniences of commercial solar installation and the financial investment required, solar panels for commercial buildings are an energy solution you should consider. Industrial solar panel installation will make your business greener and reduce electricity costs.

Andy Worford
Andy Worford

Andy is a Founder, Chief Content Officer, regular contributor, and idea generator behind Solar Power Systems. He is well-versed in various aspects of solar energy, including photovoltaic systems, solar policy trends, and green technology innovations.