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Commercial Solar Dale A. Gulden
Road Map • The following is a Solar Road Map that will guide you through some of the questions that arise when considering solar energy for your business or a commercial building office space, retail location, or recreational or educational facility.
Solar Thermal • Uses the sun’s energy to heat water. • There are many systems to consider -- all with proven track records. • This is an attractive, sensible and efficient use of solar for your facility.
Commercial Solar Thermal Introduction Solar thermal on the roof of your business means slimmer energy bills and greater energy independence. It also makes a statement that your business is forward-thinking and environmentally conscious.
The following information is designed to help you take the next step in Commercial Solar Thermal for your office building or retail space, whether you just want to learn what a solar thermal system looks like or you’re ready to find an installer near you
Commercial Solar Thermal Costs, Paybacks and Maintenance • Cost Rather than spreading energy payments over a long period of time, as we do with natural gas or electricity, a solar system places all the costs up front. From there, the sun doesn’t charge for its energy. These costs will be greatly reduced by Tax Credits and available State Rebate programs (covered later)
Payback Payback is dependent upon how much of the total hot water bill is offset and the local cost of gas or electricity. For large commercial buildings with good solar exposure and nonfreezing conditions year-round, payback times can be as short as 18 months. For smaller retail and office buildings, payback times could be as long as 6-10 years. When the various incentives are applied the paybacks become very compelling. • Maintenance Maintenance for these solar thermal systems is typically very low and somewhat higher in freeze zone areas.
Commercial Solar Thermal Successes South Face Atlanta, GA • Solar water heater generates 50 gallons of hot water daily • More than 50 percent of the office’s hot water needs are met with the solar system
Building 850, US NavyPort Hueneme, CA Renovations to this 17,000 square foot office building began with numerous solar thermal collectors. Solar water heating offsets the need for conventional water heating, helping the building to realize a 55 percent reduction in energy use.
Solar Electric, or Photovoltaic (PV) systems, generate electricity from the sun and represent the vanguard of renewable and pollution-free energy. US Department of Energy High Performance Building initiative
Commercial Photovoltaic Introduction If you occupy an energy efficient commercial space and want to make the jump to the forefront of environmental technology, then a photovoltaic system could be for you. With PV on your building, shoppers, clients and visitors will associate your shop or brand with environmental responsibility and forward-thinking. While upfront costs are substantial, business owners are recognizing that the benefits of photo voltaics often outweigh these costs
Commercial Photovoltaic Options There are a few different types of photovoltaic (PV) cells produced under many different brand names, but the most important thing to know is PV uses sunlight to generate a direct electrical current. If you are using a PV system on a commercial property you will want it to be “grid-connected,” so that your building can run on conventional grid electricity when sunlight is insufficient. First step toward owning a grid-connected photovoltaic system: Assess your rooftop or property for an area that receives direct sunlight for a minimum of six hours on a sunny day. This area should face due south or could be flat in the southern portions of the US and Caribbean
A Grid-Connected Commercial PV System This system • Generates usable AC current after passing through the inverter • Is connected to the conventional electricity grid • Simply offsets energy that Would normally come in through the conventional grid with clean solar energy • Can send (and sell) power back to the grid if it is generating more than the home requires and the local power company accepts cogeneration.
Commercial Photovoltaic Costs, Paybacks and Maintenance • Cost When solar manufacturers and installers talk about costs, they usually speak in terms of dollars per installed watt ($/W). Bigger systems cost fewer dollars per watt, but always cost more in absolute terms.
How much will my system cost up front? Typically, commercial PV systems are installed at around $8-10 per watt. The larger the system, the closer your system will lean toward the $8 price point. Conclusion: installing a larger system is pricey up front, but is almost always more cost-effective.
Payback Considering current market conditions, it’s probably best to think about solar electric systems as an investment in energy security and environmental responsibility, as opposed to a purely financial investment. By owning a solar array and generating clean electricity, you become part of the energy Solution. If your customers see this, it might increase their loyalty to your establishment Paybacks are largely more long term than solar thermal. But are most greatly influenced by rebates and tax credit subsidies, and business depreciation tax accounting methods. Commercial lease programs or long term financing may be a great vehicle for the making for good paybacks or returns on investment.
Maintenance Maintenance is really not an issue for PV systems. A good installer should not have to come back out for system maintenance.
BP Gas Stations Across the US, including Cumming and Atlanta, GA • Average solar station boasts an array of 220 roof-mounted solar panels • These PV arrays can supply as much as 40% of the daytime energy needs
Cambria Office Building Ebensburg, PA • 14 kW PV array on the south-facing roof, plus 2 pole-mounted, sun-tracking PV arrays • Excess solar electricity that is generated during peak sunlight hours, is sold back to a local power company, Green Mountain Energy, at a premium price. This helps offset system costs
The BigHorn Home Improvement Center Silverthorne, CO • 9 kW integrated PV system will provide 25 percent of electrical needs of this energy efficient building • Thin-film PV is discreetly laminated onto the metal roof panels on south-facing roofs of the building • Electricity produced over the amount used by the building is sold back to the utility at the same rate the utility sells electricity
4 Times Square New York City, NY the “Green Giant • Photovoltaic system supplies peak power of 15kW in addition to 200kW provided by hydrogen fuel cells • PV panels are highly integrated into the building façade
Sevananda Natural Foods Co-op Little Five Points, Atlanta, GA • 2.9 kW photovoltaic system • Cost of installation was mitigated by 43 participants willing to pay $5 a month for the year as part of a “Community Green Power Program”
EPAct2005: Tax Credit Opportunities for Solar and Energy Efficiency EPAct 2005 is the first effort of the United States government to address U.S. energy policy since the Energy Policy Act of 1992. • Provides Tax credits for highly efficient commercial buildings • In many cases, multiple tax incentives may be claimed. • Offers tax credits to businesses for solar energy systems. • For solar hot water systems, the allowable tax credit is 30% of the qualified solar system expenditures (No Cap). • For solar photovoltaic (PV) systems, the allowable tax credit is 30% of the qualified PV system expenditure (also No Cap).
EPAct2005: Tax Credit Opportunities for Solar and Energy Efficiency • Businesses may claim tax credits for either or both types of solar systems. • The incentives apply to equipment placed in service during 2006-2007 • The bill substantially increases the business investment tax credit • Offers business taxpayers a deduction of $1.80 per square foot for commercial buildings that achieve a 50% reduction in annual energy cost to the user • New Construction also eligible
New Federal Tax Legislation to have other buyer benefits The newly introduced "Securing America's Energy Independence Act" is the largest, most important solar energy legislation ever introduced in this country The bi-partisan legislation would make America's energy future a lot brighter by making solar energy more affordable across the country. In many states, solar would be cheaper than buying electricity from the grid! The bill extends the 30% federal solar investment tax credit and Grants businesses a 3 year rapid depreciation schedule for solar purchases
Florida's Energy Act Applications for Solar Incentives Are Now Available The Department of Environmental Protection has announced the availability of applications for rebates and tax credits for purchase and installation of new solar equipment. For homeowners who have watched their rising electricity bills in recent months, this is good news. Florida Businesses or commercial properties who have installations of a solar water heating systems can now receive rebates of up to $5000 (calculated at $15 per 1000 Btu per day). Also available are rebates for purchase and installation of photovoltaic systems for solar-generated electricity (Calculated at $4.00 per rated Watt). Rebates will be allowed at a maximum of $100,000.
Proposed future changes to Florida Solar Incentives Florida’s Governor, Crist, emphasizes climate and energy in State of the State address: An Excerpt form the governors’ state of the state address: “We can take the first bold steps in moving toward alternative fuels and other alternative sources of energy. I have proposed almost 70 million dollars in my budget to foster the development and use of alternative energy sources and fuels in our state”, including solar power for our homes. There is no reason why, as Commissioner Bronson has pointed out, that the Sunshine state cannot be the national leader in the production of alternative energy. With these measured steps, we can begin to achieve three important goals: addressing global climate change, promoting Florida agriculture, and weaning our country from reliance on foreign oil."
Current renewable energy issues in front of the Florida legislature • A requirement for the Florida Energy Commission to study net metering • Strengthening the Solar Rights Law to include condominiums • House Energy Committee held a workshop on Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS).that would require public utilities to comply with an RPS goal of five percent by 2020. • That the definition of renewable energy, should be modified by changing electrical energy to energy which would allow the use of solar thermal • Establish a rebate pre-approval program to require the Public Service Commission (PSC) to adopt rules requiring net metering, increase the rebate funding program to $5 million and establish a separate appropriation for publicizing solar PV
RECS (renewable energy credits) Green Tags - A Tradable commodity • A commodity that represents the environmental attributes (emissions reductions) of electricity from clean renewable energy sources including, solar electric, and solar thermal • They can be metered, certified, and sold on the open market by brokers and create a source of income from solar installations
Any Questions? Dale A. Gulden Ceo, Solar Direct Tel: 800.333.WARM Web: www.SolarDirect.com BuildGreen.SolarDirect.com