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2014: The Year for Commercial Solar

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This is a guest blog by Dan Ashby, B2B marketing associate marketing manager for SolarCity. SolarCity provides clean energy and gives customers control of their energy costs to protect them from rising rates. The company offers solar power, energy efficiency, and electric vehicle services, and makes clean energy easy by taking care of everything from design and permitting to monitoring and maintenance.

As large-scale corporations emerge from the recession with a focus on operational expenses, it’s becoming increasingly apparent that cutting the cost of electricity is a crucial component of lowering overhead. As a result, the commercial and industrial solar market has boomed and will continue to grow in 2014.

In its 2013 Solar Means Business Report, the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) identified major commercial solar projects and ranked America’s top 25 corporate solar users, which includes Kohl’s, Costco, Apple, and Walmart. As of October 2013, these Top 25 companies deployed 445 megawatts of solar capacity — a 48 percent increase from the previous year.

Walmart currently ranks first in solar capacity. The leading retail chain has aimed to drive down electricity costs with the installation of solar arrays on more than 215 of its stores in the US — offsetting between five to 30 percent of their power from the sun.

Like Walmart, IKEA and Kohl’s have also made a push towards using 100 percent renewable energy. IKEA aims to install solar on 90 percent of its U.S. locations while Kohl’s expects to be completely carbon neutral by 2016.

With the steady decline in the cost of PV systems, an investment in solar technology has become a smart choice for businesses that recognize electricity as its single largest operating expense. Installation of a solar array represents a fixed rate for electricity in an economy of volatile energy prices. And in some cases, through tax incentives or Power Purchase Agreements (PPA), companies can lower or even completely avoid all upfront costs.

In a press release issued last year, SEIA President and CEO Rhone Resch stated, “The list of companies moving to clean, affordable solar energy reads like a ‘Who’s Who’ of the most successful corporations in America. These iconic brands are leading the way when it comes to efforts to reduce our nation’s dangerous dependence on foreign energy sources. They’re also helping to create thousands of American jobs, boost the U.S. economy and improve our environment. At the same time, they’re reducing operating expenses, which benefits both their customers and shareholders.”

When commercial organizations look into “going solar”, it’s not always clear where to start. The location, size, and electricity use of a facility all play a large role in determining whether a solar project makes economic sense. Direct Energy and SolarCity provide free feasibility assessments for businesses to determine whether solar is right for them. This generally involves reviewing 12 months of electricity bill data and doing a walk-through of the facility.

Contact Direct Energy Business to determine if going Solar is right for your business.
Click here to request a free solar consultation.

Posted: April 25, 2014