Installing solar for your business is a great way to reduce your carbon footprint and save money on your electricity bill. The Pacific Northwest is an ideal region for commercial solar installations because of its temperate climate, which means you can expect plenty of sun year-round.
In this article, we’ll discuss:
- What is commercial solar installation?
- How it works and what benefits it provides
- Why the Pacific Northwest is an ideal location
Benefits of Commercial Solar Installation in the PNW
The benefits of commercial solar installation in the Northwest are numerous, including
- Reduced energy costs: A solar array can help you save money on your monthly utility bill by providing free electricity from the sun during peak hours. This means that you’ll be paying less for electricity and will see an ROI on your investment faster than if you were using traditional sources.
- Lower carbon footprint: Installing a commercial-sized solar array helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions by offsetting emissions from other sources of power generation such as coal or natural gas plants. This contributes to environmental sustainability while also reducing pollution levels in surrounding communities so people can breathe easier!
- Increased property value: When you install a commercial solar system, you’re not just reducing your energy bills. You’re also adding value to your property. Studies have shown that buildings with solar panels sell for more than those without, so investing in solar can be a smart financial decision in the long run.
- Energy independence: Investing in a commercial solar installation means that you’re no longer dependent on the grid for your electricity needs. This can be especially beneficial during power outages or other emergencies when the grid may be down. With solar, you have a reliable source of energy that can keep your business running even when the rest of the neighborhood is in the dark.
Types of Commercial Solar Installations
There are three main types of commercial solar installations: ground-mounted systems, roof-mounted systems, and carport-mounted systems.
Ground-mounted systems are mounted on the ground and typically consist of rows or fields of panels that face south. They can be installed in open areas or on rooftops with adequate space for installation.
Roof-mounted systems are mounted directly onto your building’s roof using racks or beams to support the weight of the panels themselves (much). If you have a flat roof this might be an option for you!
Carport-mounted systems use an existing structure such as a carport or patio cover to house panel arrays that face south toward it.
Steps for Installing Commercial Solar in the Pacific Northwest
The solar installation process is a multi-step process that involves:
- Site assessment, which determines the best locations for your panels and takes into consideration factors such as sunlight and shade.
- System design, which helps determine how many panels will be needed to meet your energy needs.
- Installation, during which your system will be installed by a professional solar company
- Inspections, before turning your system on, the utility and city inspectors must first approve it meets the required code.
- Monitoring and maintenance, so you can ensure that everything is working properly throughout the life of your system
The cost of commercial solar installation in the Pacific Northwest varies depending on a number of factors, including
The cost of your solar panels will depend on their size and efficiency. Typically, larger systems are more expensive than smaller ones because they require more materials and labor to install. You can choose high-efficiency panels that produce more electricity per square foot than standard models, but they will also cost more per square foot. The best way to find out the true cost is to request a free on-site inspection and consultation.
The amount you’ll pay for installation depends on how much work needs to be done on your building–for example, if there are trees or other obstacles blocking sunlight from reaching your roof or if there’s an existing array that needs replacement before adding new panels (or vice versa).
Available Commercial Incentives & Rebates
Tax credits and other incentives available through state governments or local utilities may reduce some expenses as well. To learn more about state-specific incentives, see our detailed incentive pages below for more information, or contact a consultant to discuss solar and your business today!
- Federal Tax Credit: Available to Oregon businesses, providing a credit equal to 30% of total system costs. Post-2023, it drops to 22%.
- Federal Accelerated Depreciation: Allows businesses to depreciate the cost of a solar electric system over five years, offsetting up to 25% of the installation cost.
- Portland General & Pacific Power Rebates: Available for grid-tied solar systems, varying across the two utility territories.
- Energy Trust of Oregon Incentives: Offers funds for renewable energy and energy efficiency projects. Incentive amounts vary based on Energy Trust revenue and territory.
- Oregon Net Energy Metering (NEM): Allows the sale of excess solar energy back to the grid in exchange for utility credits. Oregon’s NEM policy is particularly favorable compared to many other states.
- No Sales Tax on Solar Panels in Washington State: Businesses enjoy zero sales tax on solar panel systems, considerably lowering the initial investment cost.
- REAP Grant: Covers up to 50% of eligible project costs for rural businesses and agricultural producers. For more details, speak with a consultant today.
To view more about each state, here are our state-specific incentive information pages:
REAP Grant by USDA
The Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) Grant, funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, is designed to assist rural businesses and agricultural producers in implementing renewable energy systems or making energy efficiency improvements.
The REAP Grant can provide significant financial assistance, covering up to 50% of eligible project costs. This includes costs related to purchasing and installing solar panel systems. Importantly, the grant aims to enhance economic growth in rural areas, reduce dependence on foreign oil, and increase energy independence.
If you are a rural business or agricultural producer considering solar power, the REAP Grant could be a valuable resource. For further details, please visit our REAP Grant Page
What is the cost of solar installation?
The cost of commercial solar installation varies depending on your location, roof size, and other factors. For example, if you have a large warehouse with a flat roof and plenty of space for panels, it will be less expensive than installing panels on an office building with multiple angles and obstacles that make it harder to reach all areas. The average cost per watt in Washington state is $2-$4; however, some projects may be more expensive due to their unique circumstances.
How long does it take to install solar?
It takes approximately 3-6 months from start to finish but this time frame varies depending on whether or not there are any delays along the way (such as weather). If everything goes smoothly then expect installation within 4 months after signing up with us!
When you’re looking for commercial solar installation in the Pacific Northwest, there are a few things to keep in mind. First and foremost, make sure that your installer is qualified. A good contractor will have experience installing systems of all sizes and types–from small residential installations to large-scale commercial projects. They should have all necessary permits and licenses as well as insurance coverage for their work. If you are in Oregon, your installer will need to be a certified Trade Ally with the Energy Trust of Oregon.
You should also research local laws and regulations regarding solar power before signing on with an installer or choosing a system size; some areas may require special permitting or zoning variances before starting construction on any new building additions or remodels (like adding solar panels). A qualified installer will discuss this with you so your system doesn’t violate any codes.
Free Pacific NW Solar Calculator
If you’re interested in commercial solar installation in the Pacific Northwest, you can use our free Oregon & Washington State Solar Calculators to estimate the potential savings and costs associated with your project in minutes!
These calculators take into account a variety of factors, including your location, energy usage, and the size of the solar array you’re considering. By inputting this information, you can get an accurate estimate of how much you can expect to save on your energy bill over time, as well as the costs associated with installation.
Free Consultation & Quote
Solar is a great way to save money and the environment, so’s no wonder that more businesses are investing in solar. If you’re interested in learning more about how commercial solar installation can benefit your business, sign-up for a free consultation or give us a call at 360-843-2592 to speak with one of our local solar experts today!
THE BEST FOR YOUR BOTTOM LINE
A Business Investment that See Returns Month One
Business owners are choosing to invest in solar because it offers a consistent ROI that is above many banks’ APY and much more than your typical 0.01% interest rate on a typical savings account.
Not only does it reduce your monthly electric bills, but it shows your customers you are invested in this community and care for the environment that keeps this economy running.
STORE YOUR EXCESS SUNSHINE
Enhance Your Business by Adding Battery Backup and a EV Charging Station
Store the excess solar power your business isn’t using into electricity for an EV charging station or your charge up an emergency battery backup system in times when the power goes out (e.g., due to weather, natural disaster, etc)