Renewable energy systems offer numerous benefits for customers, some of which are realized within the first year of installation while others grow over time. Increasing understanding of the long-term advantages of renewable energy is driving rapid expansion in the sustainable energy market, particularly solar PV. It is projected that solar energy, with aggressive cost reductions, supportive policies, and large-scale electrification, could potentially contribute up to 40% of the nation’s electricity supply by 2035, and 45% by 2050.

graph of solar deployment forecast from 2020 to 2050

Reduced Energy Costs Over Time

The industry standard for the performance life of a solar PV system is around 25 to 30 years. This means that a solar system installed today will continue to produce energy for the next 25 to 30 years with routine maintenance. Colite Technologies’ customers have seen energy offsets anywhere from 20% to over 100% for their facilities. On average, these customers saved nearly $15,000 per year in energy expenses and when calculated over a 25-year period, the savings accumulated to over $370,000.

Not only does solar directly reduce your energy use, but many utilities also offer programs that ensure excess energy generated by the solar system is not wasted. Net metering is a common option that power companies use to pay or credit a customer for any electricity that is fed back to the grid. It usually utilizes a bi-directional meter that measures both electricity consumed by the facility and unused electricity that goes to the grid. The company then calculates the net consumption and bills the customer accordingly. This is particularly beneficial for times where the solar system is generating more energy than the building uses, and you, the building owner, can get paid for the surplus power.

Other long-term benefits of commercial solar are tax credits and rebates that can be leveraged in your business’s finances. There are numerous tax credits from federal and state governments for renewable energy investments, the most popular one being the business Investment Tax Credit (ITC). The Inflation Reduction Act significantly expands and builds upon the ITC with extended eligibility and bonus credits for meeting additional criteria. Taking advantage of multiple tax credits helps decrease the initial costs of installing a solar system and spreads the remaining costs over time.

Long-Term Sustainability

With a project size of 100 kW, you could avoid 3,227 metric tons of CO2 emissions over 25 years. To put this into perspective, this amount is equivalent to the emissions resulting from driving 8,272,910 miles in a standard gasoline-powered vehicle or burning 3,614,883 pounds of coal. This is a significant reduction in carbon dioxide emissions and can help support a business’s Corporate Social Responsibility efforts. We see younger adults prioritize environmental action, influencing their decisions regarding which brands to buy from and which companies to work for. A company with a clear commitment to sustainability is more likely to stand out against competitors and attract the attention of young adults. As such, investing in solar energy is a great way to meet your sustainability goals and draw new customers.

100kW solar system GHG equal graphic

Solar energy plays an important role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and mitigating climate change, which is crucial for protecting the future of humans, wildlife, and ecosystems. Solar is also beneficial to both air quality and water use as it can improve air quality and uses less water than traditional energy sources. Especially if the solar array is located on the roof of an existing building, there is no impact on the surrounding land. With climate change being one of the biggest environmental issues, solar offers a solution to slow these changes and give the environment a better chance for the future.

Energy Independence

On-site solar also reduces reliance on the electric grid, establishing a self-generating energy source that is less susceptible to outside interruption. By ensuring energy security, businesses can prioritize other critical aspects of their operations, such as employee and customer safety, without the concern of power outages. Microgrids paired with battery energy storage are a popular option for adding stability and allow users to independently support their energy needs.

Additionally, investing in solar power offers the reassurance that a portion of energy expenses is shielded from rising energy prices. From 2021 to 2022, commercial electricity rates increased 6.2% and industrial electricity rates jumped 8.7%. Electricity generated from a solar system is not subject to utility rate increases, thus ensuring long-term financial security and eliminating the uncertainty of fluctuating costs.

Still Worried About the Long-term?

When you work with Colite Technologies, our team will develop a commercial solar system design that meets your needs and include an economic model overviewing the 25-year performance of the system. We will help you visualize energy production as well as identify any tax credit or rebate programs that would be applicable to your project. The graph below is an example of one aspect of the economic model developed by Colite Technologies. The model illustrates the comparison between annual utility costs and annual utility costs after installing a solar system over a 25-year period, assuming an average annual electricity price escalation of 2.5%. You immediately see that the solar PV system can offset a significant portion of your utility costs for the entire period.

Utility Cost Comparison w Solar 25 years

In summary, the long-term benefits of solar include reduced energy costs, smaller carbon footprint, energy independence, and energy security. Here at Colite Technologies, we make sure that your solar system is designed to maximize your benefits and performs for years to come. You can be confident that your investment in a commercial or industrial solar system is fully evaluated for the long-term and supports you, your business, and the environment.