How to Buy The Right Solar System for Your Business

Collis Roofing Commercial Solar Installation for Businesses in Florida

While paying a high utility bill is a huge overhead expense, trying to figure out how to buy the right solar system can seem time consuming and overwhelming. The savings are out there, but trying to understand what size you need, how much it costs, what rebates are out there, what financing is right for you and what savings can you expect can feel overwhelming without professional, expert guidance in the field of solar energy for business owners.  

Do you need extra insurance for having a large system?  Who requires it and how much is it? Do I need PV or just Thermal Solar for my business?

The commercial solar experts at Collis Roofing can help you navigate the process, understand your options and have more than just sales experience.  The manager of Solar and Energy Efficiency, Denise, has on the ground field experience from installing solar fields, solar topped roofs and more. 

What Size Solar System Do I Need?

The solar size system you need for your business depends entirely on 4 factors:

  • How much energy does your business use on average each month?
  • How much of your business involves hot water and how much is just electricity?
  • How much roof space or lot space does your business have?
  • Do I want to eliminate or reduce my utility bill?
Monthly Energy Usage for Your Business

Your average monthly energy usage is actually found on your company's utility bill in kWh - kilowatt hours.  Locate the total number of monthly kWh your business uses each month.  If you need help reading your utility bill, then you can contact us to help you!  These numbers help you understand what size system you need for your business. 

Calculating the Energy Production Needed to Match Your Energy Usage

Each panel is 85-92% efficient.  No panel is 100% efficient and some panels, including our newest product edition, offers a 25 year warranty not to be less than 85% efficient.  We offer two different online 24 hour monitoring systems, Enphase and Solar Edge, that are accessible from any mobile, tablet or computer device with internet access.   Each panel is mapped so you can check at any time and see how efficient it is.  

One average, a typical Florida day has 5.2 hours of ideal sunlight a day over 30 days.  This accounts for days when it may be cloudy as well, but cloudy days do not stop you from gaining solar power, but it is less than an ideal day.  Ideal days, are of course, sunny with clear skies. 

Hot Water Usage for Your Company

On average, the hot water portion of your business is a pretty nominal percent, sometimes about 15% of your electrical usage, but can impact up a 30% reduction in your bill when switching to thermal solar.  That is only because of tiered kWh rates with utility bills.  The more you use, the more they charge as you pass certain levels of usage that month per kWh.

However, if you own a restaurant, hair salon, professional laundry service or other business that requires a lot of hot water for your services, please talk to our Solar and Energy Efficiency Manager to ensure you know how much thermal energy you may need.

How to Calculate the PV Energy Usage for Your Business

Florida Business owner, Dr. Paul, runs a pediatrics office, and after receiving help from Collis Roofing to find his average energy usage on his bills, sees his average energy usage is about 1300 kWh.  .  

Average monthly energy usage X 85% for non hot water heating power = PV kWh energy usage

1300 X 85% = 1105

Dr. Paul then has about 1105 of kWh of energy usage each month that doesn't come from hot water heating

How to Calculate the Size of the PV Solar System You Need for Your Business

After combining the average hours of sunlight, 30 days in the average month, 85% efficiency in the panels and 15% usage for hot water only, Dr. Paul calculates the size system he needs for PV if he wants to eliminate his bill.

5.2 Hours X 30 Days a Month X .85 PV Solar Panel Efficiency = 132.6 Energy Production

1105 kWh Used at Dr. Paul's pediatric office each Month / 132.6 Energy Production = 8.3 kW System

How to Eliminate the PV Energy Cost at Your  Business

Whatever the number you get when you calculate your business using the formula below, round your kW size UP to the nearest whole number. 

Number of kWh Used / 132.6 Energy Production = kW System Size

To Eliminate the PV Electrical Portion of Dr. Paul's office, he needs a 9 kWh system because he is slightly over the 8 kW system size. 

How to Reduce the PV Energy Cost at Your Business

Whatever the number you get when you calculate your business using the formula below, round your kW size DOWN to the nearest whole number. 

Number of kWh Used / 132.6 Energy Production = kW System Size

To reduce the PV Electrical Portion of Dr.Paul's business, he needs a 2.5 to 8 kWh system. a 2.5kW system is typically the smallest PV solar system sold.

How Much Space Do I Need for My PV Solar System for My Business?

PV Solar systems require more panels than a Thermal Solar System. Depending on the size system you need, the larger the system the more space needed. A single PV, Photovoltaic, solar panel takes up about 20 Sq Ft. A 2.5k system is 10 panels, and takes up approximately 200 Sq Ft.

If Dr. Paul gets a 5 kWh system, he'll need 20 panels and about 400 SqFt. If Dr. Paul wants to eliminate his PV portion of his utility bill each month, he'll need 36 PV Solar Panels and 720 Sq Ft of space.  This space can be unblocked roof space or ground space if your roof is blocked by trees.

How do I Go Net Zero on My Florida Business?

After installing a PV Solar System that eliminates your PV usage, then you will need a Thermal Solar System for hot water for things such as baths and showers, laundry machines and dishwashers. Thermal Solar systems require significantly less space than a PV system.  Speak with your commercial solar estimator about your business and the types of uses and the amount of use your business has for hot water heating.

How Much do Solar Panels Cost for My Business

How Much Will Solar Panels for My Business Really Cost?

The price is dependent on the size you need or want. Once we know the size system you need, if you want to reduce or eliminate your power bill, know the local utility company you have, then we can give you a straight forward price and expectation.

All PV and Thermal Solar Systems, if installed in 2015, will qualify for a 30% Federal Tax Rebate. The federal tax credit is good until 2019.

Speak with your solar estimator to make sure you are getting any and all commercial rebates for PV and Thermal solar installations for 2016. Many of these rebates frequently change, and your estimator will have the most accurate information available to you.

Speak to your accountant or tax facilitator for more information on how this can directly impact your business in a positive way during your tax filing.

Systems that exceed 10 kW will need additional insurance per Florida law, but it is often very inexpensive. The reason Florida has this law in place is that Florida basically says you are your own power company. The Collis Roofing Solar and Energy Efficiency Manager can help you coordinate setting this up.

Collis Roofing also offers a variety of financing options and terms from lenders who specialize in low interest solar loans in Florida. Available financing options are subject to change at any time. Talk to your estimator for more information or our financing specialist.