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Commercial

Frequently Asked Questions About Commercial Solar Panels

Why should my company invest in solar power from PPM Solar?

Installing in a new solar power system for your business can be a bit daunting if you do not have the right company helping you along the way. PPM Solar is that company!

  • PPM Solar has been in business for 14 years. We are committed to helping Florida’s communities become cleaner, for all of us, and our future generations.
  • We are locally owned and operated in the Gainesville area. PPM has the ability and experience to help clients all across the state of Florida.
  • There are no third-party contractors! We have in-house, highly trained solar system installers. 
  • At PPM, we have no outside sales & marketing company. Our clients deal directly with our experienced team members.
  • PPM only installs the most reliable equipment from highly reputable manufacturers.
  • We are constantly reviewing all Federal and state incentives, grants and rebates to ensure that our clients receive the lowest cost of solar for their needs.
  • PPM maintains credentials from the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners, the most respected certification organization for professionals working in renewable energy.
  • We have been part of SolarReviews since 2009. SolarReviews is an unbiased third-party review service that works directly with customers to gather reviews of solar contractors and help potential customers find the right contractor for their needs.
  • PPM also maintains the highest possible BBB rating with an A+ and zero complaints. 
  • We are ranked on the 2021 Top Solar Contractors List.
  • PPM Solar has been recognized twice as a Gator 100 Company.  Since both co-owners are University of Florida Graduates, PPM is eligible for the Gator 100 annual survey of the world’s 100 fastest-growing UF Alumnus owned companies. 
  • Our company is with our clients throughout the entire process, from consultation, design, installation, interconnection, commissioning and any future maintenance needs.

These are just a few of the many reasons why your company should invest with PPM Solar for all of your solar power needs.

What types of buildings can be solar powered?

Rooftop solar systems can be installed on most commercial, industrial, warehouse, retail and agricultural facilities. Your roof will be reviewed for suitability prior to finalizing a system plan.  Ground-mounted and carport systems are also great commercial solar options. PPM Solar has experience working with companies across Florida in a variety of industries and has helped our commercial customers lower their energy costs with their own solar power system.

What part of the solar installation process does PPM Solar manage?

PPM Solar has a dedicated commercial team that conducts project management from inception to full completion. One of our solar experts performs an energy audit of your business. We then use that data to design a solar power system that fits your financial and energy needs. Once the system design meets your approval, PPM Solar begins the installation process. We use only highly qualified commercial PV panel installers. These installers work with a variety of building and roof types and are trained to work with metal, asphalt, and TPO roofs. We take great care in roof protection and assuring that there are no roof leak concerns.

How much does my business need to invest to own a solar power system on my property?

For customers who opt to self-finance their solar array, the cost for a solar power installation on your commercial property varies depending on the rebates and incentives available to you.  Other factors include system size, how the roof is oriented toward the sun, roof type and location, among others. PPM Solar has a team of experts that can show you how affordable solar can be. We will work with you to choose an efficient solar power system for your goals and budget.  If you prefer, we can help arrange financing that may allow your business to install a new solar power system for little or no upfront capital investment.

How do I estimate my company’s potential savings?

The design, system size, and how the panels are oriented toward the sun, as well as the equipment you select, will impact the output you can expect. Your energy demand and local utility rates are just some of the factors that will determine your total savings. As a premier solar installer in Florida for 14 years, PPM Solar has the expertise to evaluate your business’s property, from design to installation. A custom solar power system can effectively reduce your operating costs. This analysis is provided to you without obligation.

After rebates, how affordable is solar power for my commercial property? Why invest in solar power?

With generous federal rebates and incentives available, the total cost for a commercial solar power system is often much lower than expected. These cost saving programs are:

  • The Federal Solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC)
  • Florida state sales tax exemption through Solar and CHP Sales Tax Exemption 
  • Florida Property Tax Abatement for Renewable Energy Property
  • Net Metering (sell your surplus energy back to the grid)
  • Government backed Florida PACE (Property Assessed Clean Energy) Loan Program

To learn more about rebates and incentives, visit site

A variety of financing options allow some businesses to install a new solar power system for no upfront capital expense and maintain a budget-neutral position – as energy savings are used in the short term to pay down any financing. After the note is satisfied, the energy your solar power system generates drops right to your bottom line. In addition, your new solar power system will provide greater price stability, acting as a safeguard against future electricity rate increases. The experienced team at PPM Solar can show you how solar is most often more affordable than staying with electricity from the grid.

Why invest now?

The cost of solar equipment, particularly solar panels, has been decreasing while the efficiency of solar panels has been increasing.  Keep in mind that some incentives, such as the Federal Investment Tax Credit (ITC), are scheduled to expire soon. The current Federal ITC for systems installed in 2022 is 26%. The ITC for installations in 2023 decreases to 22% and will expire in 2024, so don’t miss out by postponing action. PPM Solar is knowledgeable of current legislation in Florida and can help you understand the most advantageous programs that apply to your business’s project. The sooner you go solar, the sooner you begin saving.

Are rebates/incentives guaranteed?

While there are no statewide rebates in Florida, there are several cities within the state that do have local rebates and/or grants. The rebates/grants amounts vary, city to city and some require pre-approval for eligibility.  Be sure to check with your local government before starting the solar installation process. Keep in mind, there is no guarantee that a commercial solar incentive will be in effect in the future.  However, PPM Solar guarantees to evaluate and access incentive programs in effect at the time you agree to have us install your new solar power system. If an incentive program is eliminated after you have signed our agreement and before we have installed your system, we will either compensate you for the amount that incentive would have provided or we will return your deposit and you will not be obligated to move forward with your solar power project. PPM Solar wants you to be confident that you made the right decision to install a new commercial solar power system with us.

In terms of financing, what loan options are typically available for commercial solar?

Florida has several options for commercial solar loans:

  • In-house financing through a solar installation company, such as PPM
  • Loans with banks, finance companies, credit unions, etc

   1. Small Business

   2. Secured Loans (with collateral)

   3. Unsecured Loans (no collateral)

What are the Commercial REAP (Rural Energy for America Program) and PACE (Property Assessed Clean Energy) programs?

REAP: Per “REAP provides solar panel grant funding for up to 25% for new solar installation. The loan guarantees can cover up to 75% of the solar project cost. These grants and loans are awarded on a competitive basis.”

PACE: Per  https://floridapace.us/ “The Florida PACE Program was created to facilitate and finance energy efficiency projects, renewable energy projects, and/or wind hardening projects for residents, organizations, institutions and businesses in participating municipalities in Florida, as authorized by Florida Statute 163.08.“ The PACE program is not a loan. It is a property assessment payback through your property taxes.

What size solar power system will my business need?

An energy expert at PPM Solar will meet with you and determine how much electricity your company uses and what space you have available for a solar power system. Based on that analysis and your budget, our in-house team of engineers will create a custom design for your facility that offers the best return on your investment. The optimum size of a solar array is not always the largest system, but the smartest system for your needs!

What manufacturers does PPM Solar use?

REC Group USA- 26 years of manufacturing Solar empowerment

Enphase- an American solar company established in 2006

SnapNrack- specializing in Solar Roof Mount Systems and Solar Ground Mount Systems

What happens to the excess electricity if my solar power system produces more energy than I need?

Any excess electricity generated is not useful to your business but may be useful to others in your community, so bi-directional meters are installed to allow for net metering.

What is a Net Metering?

Net metering is the process of providing a credit for any excess electricity your business’s solar power system produces and delivers to the power grid. While the state of Florida offers this program, the state’s net metering laws only applies to Investor-Owned Utilities (IOUs). There are four companies that currently cover 79% of statewide customers. 

  1. FPL- Florida Power & Light
  2. Duke Energy Florida
  3. TECO- Tampa Electric Company
  4. Florida Public Utilities Corporation

Municipal electric companies or rural electric co-ops cover the remainder of the Florida customers. 

PPM Solar’s experts can advise you about the programs available where your business is located.

How long will my solar power system last?

In Florida, there are two types of solar panel warranties: 

  1. Performance-typically 10year 90% production and 25year 80% production
  2. Equipment Guarantee-typically 10-12 years

https://news.energysage.com/shopping-solar-panels-pay-attention-to-solar-panels-warranty/

 

Testing and Certifications:

Solar systems manufactured or sold in Florida are required to comply with the standards of the Florida Solar Energy System (FSEC).

The FSEC protects the Florida consumers by working closely with the solar industry, research and development, and others, to encourage the use of renewable energy sources. 

http://www.floridaenergycenter.org/en/certification-testing/

What is an interconnection?

A Solar interconnection is the connection from your solar array to the utility grid. Most of the solar panels in the US are connected to the grid. This process must be approved by your utility company.  They will do an in-depth study to determine any potentially impacts your system may have to the grid.

What happens if the solar power goes out from a storm or rolling blackout?

In this case, your business solar power system will automatically turn off, and when the power comes back on, your business system will turn itself back on automatically.  Commercial property owners who want or need to have power available in storms or blackouts can invest in a battery backup system paired with their solar installation. PPM Solar can advise what energy storage options are available in this rapidly changing area related to solar power production. By installing batteries at the same time as solar, some or all of the battery costs may also be eligible for the Federal Investment Tax Credit.

How much sun does a solar power system need to generate electricity?

Two environmental factors are most significant in determining how much power your business’s solar energy system may generate: your position on the earth (latitude) and the history of weather conditions in your specific area. These factors are used to predict your business’s solar power system output. On average, Florida has 237 sunny days . The average length of each day and exposure to the sun in Florida is 5.67 hours, but solar panels still produce some power under cloudy skies.  The seasonal variation of the sun is very predictable and well-documented.  Most buildings in the northeast are well- suited for solar installations.  PPM understands the factors that can influence the solar output at your business and can make accurate predictions on what you can expect.

Can batteries be added to an existing commercial solar power system?

In a word, YES! The process is not as simple as just plugging in a new battery bank to the system, as most inverters are not designed to integrate with the battery bank. New Components will typically need to be added to make the batteries work with the existing inverter. Challenges can arise due to the strict guidelines for inverters and battery sizes. Adding new battery banks can be expensive, sometimes exceeding the cost of the solar system itself. 

  • During power outages, using AC Coupling allows you to charge the batteries. Essential appliances can be used, if the need arises. 
  • DC Coupling uses a charge controller to directly connect the battery bank to the solar array. When using the DC Coupling, you must be on site to turn on the solar charging to avoid drained batteries. The system will run, but the batteries will not recharge from solar unless the switch is manually turned on.
  • The most expensive option is to install a storage-ready inverter to replace the grid-tie inverter. While it is the most expensive option, it does work with all existing grid-tie systems, making this option the most flexible.

Does the Federal Investment Tax Credit (ITC) apply to new solar batteries?

If you are purchasing a new commercial solar power system and want it designed to include batteries, the entire cost of the new system may qualify for the ITC.  The I.R.S. has ruled that a taxpayer can claim a renewable energy tax credit to offset the cost of a battery system integrated with existing solar power equipment.  As tax regulations often change, PPM Solar strongly advises you to speak with your business’s financial advisers for tax advice before moving forward with your decision.

Can a battery replace my property’s generator?

One advantage of a commercial solar battery is that your business can draw from the stored power in the event of a blackout or system outage.  Depending on the size of the energy storage system and your business’s power requirements it is possible to design a solar storage solution that could eliminate the need for your business to have a generator

How much does a solar battery system cost?

Solar battery costs are widely varied and are higher for more significant batteries.  Smaller lead-acid batteries can be purchased for as little as $200. Lithium-ion battery costs range from $7,000 to $14,000. Costs are also determined by kWh. For example:

  • $4,500-9,600 for 6kWh
  • $9,800-14,000 for 10kWh
  • $8,000-18,000 for 13kWh

These costs are for the batteries only. Installation is an added expense. PPM Solar’s experts can help you through the decision process to ensure you get the size battery needed for your business.

How long will my solar battery last?

How long a battery lasts is dependent on a number of factors.  Major battery manufacturers rate the lifespan of their battery based upon how often it is charged and discharged, and warranties are typically available that tie to that estimated lifespan. Speak with a PPM Solar battery expert to learn what battery system may best meet your business’s needs and the lifespan of the battery and warranties will be part of that conversation.

 

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