If you’re a business owner who’s ready to start saving on monthly utility bills with clean energy, it’s helpful to know what to expect during the solar process. As you explore your options, be prepared to answer the questions that solar companies will ask so you can determine the best solar power options for your business.
While there will be more questions than these, here are 7 questions for any business owner who’s interested in installing a commercial solar system.
1. What is the service address where the solar system will be located?
Providing your business address or GPS coordinates allows solar companies to evaluate the site and determine the best placement for your solar panels. Satellite images are used to gather information on the available space, any potential physical obstructions that could impact sunlight exposure, and other important geographical considerations. By knowing the specific site information, your solar installer can design a customized system that maximizes energy production and efficiency for your business.
2. Do you own or lease the property?
Owning the property where your business operates will make it easier to secure financing options, determine what incentives are available and provide more flexibility for choosing the type and size of solar system that best suits your business needs. However, if your business is located on leased property, adding a commercial solar system can still benefit both you and your landlord since it increases property value and lowers the monthly electricity costs.
3. Can you provide your last 12 months of energy bills?
Before installing solar panels, your solar provider will need to take a look at your last 12 monthly energy bills. This information will help determine your energy consumption patterns so they can optimize your solar system to fit the unique energy needs of your business.
Your energy bills will show your business’s day-to-day and cyclical electricity needs, including peak periods of energy use, which can help determine the right size and configuration of solar panels to install. Providing your energy bill information is simple. You can send copies (digital or printouts) to your solar provider or work with your utility company to grant them access to your account.
4. Why are you considering solar?
In addition to the financial benefits of going solar, like reducing electricity bills and generating profits, organizations have many reasons for installing a solar panel system. For instance, companies may be interested in reducing their carbon footprint and improving their sustainability efforts. Others may be motivated by a desire for energy independence, especially if they operate in areas with unstable or unreliable energy supplies.
Whatever your reasons, clearly communicating your objectives to solar providers will help them tailor a solution to your specific energy needs and goals.
5. How much time have you put into researching solar energy options? Have you received other quotes?
Knowing the amount of research you’ve put into solar energy options will help your solar provider know how to explain the commercial solar process—whether that’s starting with the basics or having more detailed conversations about your solar options.
For example, if you’re just starting out, you may want a rough quote for future budget considerations. Or if you’ve done your research, you may want a firm quote so you can make a purchase decision. Either way, your solar provider will want to know where you’re at in the process so they can address any concerns and create a solution that meets your energy needs.
6. Do you have a budget? Do you know what financing method you plan to use?
Determining your solar energy budget is an important first step in going solar for your business. By establishing a budget, you can focus your search on solar solutions that are financially feasible and effective for your business.
Financing is another key aspect of going solar. Whether you choose to buy, lease or enter into a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA), it’s helpful to know the differences and benefits of each option.
While buying a solar system may require a larger upfront investment, you could potentially save money in the long term by avoiding monthly lease payments. Leasing, on the other hand, can provide more flexible payment options and may require little to no upfront costs. With a PPA, you can buy the energy produced by a solar system without owning or leasing the equipment.
7. Is there anything unique about your situation?
Communicating with your solar installer about any unique circumstances about your business is important. This open-ended question can lead to interesting discussions, like specific time requirements for completing the installation or time-sensitive funding because it might not be available in next year’s budget.
When discussing your solar needs with a provider, they may ask if there’s anything atypical with regard to budget, authority, need, or timeline. These “BANT” considerations help the provider understand your specific situation and tailor their solutions to your needs. It’s important to note that what may seem unique to you may not be out of the ordinary for an experienced solar company, which is a good thing.
If your organization is considering a do-it-yourself approach to save money, it’s important to inform your solar equipment provider beforehand. Many solar equipment manufacturers won’t sell directly to small businesses or individuals unless it’s a large installation (such as a multi-site project for a national retail chain). Instead, they work with certified and approved dealers like Solar Technologies, who can provide personalized attention and have greater knowledge of local weather patterns and incentives available.
Power Your Business With Clean, Reliable Energy
Investing in a commercial solar system can be a significant decision that can positively impact your business’s bottom line and help reduce its carbon footprint. By being prepared to answer these seven key questions before starting the solar process, you can streamline the conversation and get a customized solar quote.
For more detailed information for your upcoming clean energy project, contact us today for a free financial analysis that includes costs, finance options, ROI and more.