Are you thinking about going green by installing rooftop solar panels on your Chicago building? Rooftop solar panels are a great way to cut your energy expenses and general power with a renewable energy course, and here at Althoff, serving Chicago, we design and build solar panel systems for commercial, industrial and large residential buildings.
Why Install a Rooftop Solar Panel System for Your Facility?
1. Go Green with Renewable Energy
Installing solar panels allows you to go green. Traditional power plants use fossil fuels to create electricity. This means the generators may run on coal, gas or even nuclear power in order to produce electricity. By installing solar panels, you are reducing your reliance on municipally supplied power and lowering your carbon footprint. If you are seeking a LEED certification or an Energy Star certification for your building, installing solar panels can help you meet that criteria. Not to mention, Chicago has yearly Energy Benchmarking and requires compliance. If you are seeking ways to improve your score, installing solar panels can help you.
2. Attract Environmentally Conscious Residents, Employees and Clients
Saving the planet and reducing carbon footprints and fossil fuel consumption continues to grow with every generation. Installing solar panels can help you attract clients, customers, residents and employees who are environmentally conscious and wish to do business or work for companies that take the health of the planet seriously by reducing their reliance on non-renewable energy sources.
3. The Right Solar Panel Installation Can Help You Avoid Complete Power Outages
When your building is completely reliant on the electricity supplied by the power grid, it is also 100 percent susceptible to the power outages experienced by the grid. When the power goes out due to a storm, problem with the system or scheduled power grid maintenance, the building also loses power. However, if you have a solar panel installation that also has a battery system for power storage and use, you will not lose power during a power outage. Your panels will continue to supply power to your building’s electrical system as long as the sun is shining and your battery backups are functioning correctly. If you don’t have a battery system connected to your solar panels, you’ll still lose power because these systems send power through the energy grid to the utility company instead of utilizing that power for your own use.
4. Reduce the Operating Expenses of Your Business
Whether you have solar panels with or without a battery backup system, you’ll save money on your energy bills. When you have a solar panel system that is connected to your meter and the utility lines, your solar panels produce power that is sent to the utility company. This reduces the amount of municipal power that your building receives and during low power usage times and high solar power generating times, your meter may even run backward. This is called net metering, which is the difference between the power you use from the electric company and the power you generate from your solar panels.
When you have a solar panel system that is connected to a battery bank, you can directly use the power created by your solar panels. This is because the electricity generated by the panels is stored in the batteries, converted from DC to AC, and readily supplied to your building. If your building is using less power than the solar panels are generating, the battery system charges. When it is using more power than the system is generating, your batteries will deplete.
5. Better Control Your Future Energy Bills
Electricity costs are always rising. Current rates in Chicago for commercial buildings are 4.05 cents per Kilowatt. While this is less than the national average and even less than in other parts of Illinois, it still represents an increase in rates over the last several years. As a business that uses lots of electricity to power equipment and interior and exterior lights, the best way to control your costs is to find alternative energy sources, like solar panels. Solar panels have a typical useful life of between 20 and 25 years. Imagine how much money you’ll save by generating your own power for the next two decades, especially when you consider all the electricity rate hikes that will occur between now and 2040.
6. Increase the Property Value of Your Business
Solar panels can increase your property’s value and help your building sell faster if you ever intend to sell your commercial, industrial or multi-unit residential property in the future. This is because energy-efficiency sells. When a building has solar panels, some or all of the energy needed by the building is produced by the panels. This means that the short and long-term operating expenses of your building are lower than comparable buildings that do not have solar panels installed on the roof.
7. Take Advantage of Tax Credits
If you haven’t heard of Section 179 in the tax code, you could be missing out. Section 179 currently allows businesses to deduct 100 percent of the costs of certain business equipment and building upgrades, which could include the installation of solar panels. The IRS also has a specific solar panel tax credit. For 2019, the tax credit is 30 percent of the cost of the panels and installation. In 2020, the credit is reduced to 26 percent. In 2021, the tax credit is 21 percent. For all years after 2021, the solar tax credit is 10 percent.
8. Take Advantage of SERCS
SERC stands for Solar Energy Renewable Credits. These are certificates that you sell your electric company for a certain amount of renewable energy. Typically the states that buy SERCS have a LTRRPP, which stands for Long-Term Renewable Resources Procurement Plan, and these plans typically state that the geographical location will produce a certain amount of power from renewable energy sources by X year. For Illinois, the state goal is to have 25 percent of its power produced by renewable energy sources, including solar. The good news for your business is that Illinois wants to buy your excess solar panel power.
9. Enjoy Low Maintenance, Reliable Energy
Modern solar panel systems are extremely low maintenance and very reliable. The average lifespan of a new solar panel system ranges between 15 and 25 years, depending on the type of panel. This means that once the system is plugged in and online, it will start producing power, and you won’t have to do much maintenance. You won’t even have to clean snow or ice off the panels, because the snow and ice will melt off the panels within a day or two of the storm. They are also resistant to high winds and strong storms because the systems are designed to withstand certain weather events, like high winds and strong thunderstorms. The only recommended maintenance is to spray them with a water hose every three months in order to remove dust and dirt from the solar cells.
10. Enjoy Low Installation Costs
Today’s solar panels are incredibly affordable and getting more affordable every year. For example, today’s solar panels are about 23 percent more affordable than the panels produced just five years ago. You can also expect to pay between $2.99 and $3.36 for each watt of power your panels produce. Not to mention, there are numerous ways to pay for your panels. You can purchase them outright with cash. You can finance your solar panels with a loan, or you can lease your solar panels.
11. You can Control Your Costs by Installing the Right Size System for Your Needs
How much power do you wish to generate for your business? When you choose to install solar panels on your Chicago rooftop, you can choose the size of the system according to how much renewable energy you want to produce. For example, if you want a smaller system, you may choose to install one that produces 50 percent of your building’s power needs. If you want to go all-in, you can install a system that generates 90 to 100 percent of your building’s needs. It’s all up to you, your goals and your installation budget.
Solar Panel Installation with Althoff, Serving Chicago
When you need reliable solar panel installation on the roof of your commercial, industrial, large residential or municipal building in Chicago, you can count on our team of green energy engineers and solar panel installers to design and build the right system for your building. This means that we will take into consideration your solar panel budget, the number of kilowatts you want your system to generate and the amount of roof space you have available in order to custom design and build a system that helps you achieve your energy-efficiency goals. We can also design systems that adhere to any rebates or incentives that you may wish to use to help you make your panels more affordable.
For more information on our solar panels and how we can help you lower your carbon footprint and your monthly operating costs, give us a call at 800-225-2443.