How To Choose the Best Solar Provider for Your Project

Last week saw the bankruptcy of SunEdison, one of the largest solar companies in the world.
This news might make you feel nervous if you are considering a solar installation for your home or commercial space, but worry not – there are some easy steps you can take to ensure you choose a solar company that can provide the service you need for the lifetime of your installation.

You have questions or concerns about choosing the right solar company to handle your projects. We have answers.

Last week saw the bankruptcy of SunEdison, one of the largest solar companies in the world.

This news might make you feel nervous if you are considering a solar installation for your home or commercial space, but worry not – there are some easy steps you can take to ensure you choose a solar company that can provide the service you need for the lifetime of your installation.

Today, solar is a better deal than ever with an even brighter future. Solar technologies have been proven over decades in the field. Large corporations are investing billions in the industry, powering a record number of installations in 2015. Total solar installations hit the 1 million mark in February, and total industry growth is projected to hit a staggering 119% this year. As the solar market expands logarithmically, prices are plummeting. Right now, solar can help business owners and homeowners around the country slash energy costs while going green.

That said, any maturing industry will see consolidation and growing pains from time to time, as the SunEdison situation demonstrates. If you’re wondering how to choose the best partner for your solar installation, we’ve identified some key questions you can ask. Even if your company has already selected a developer or installer, the guidelines below can help confirm if you are on the right track to finding a stable and sustainable solar energy partner:

  1. Track record. Check out the length of time in business — the longer the better. Ask your salesperson how many failed/unbuilt contracts the company has accrued.
  2. Financial strength. Are they cash flow positive or profitable? Can they weather an occasional downturn? Take a look at financial backing or the stability of a notable parent company or partner. For publicly traded companies like SolarCity, you can take a look at their earnings and analyses to review any skepticism about their financials. If the company is private but owned by a parent company, look at the financial strength of the parent.
  3. Delivering as promised. Request operations statistics, including first-year system performance, on-time delivery of projects and project cycle times. It’s always good to ask for existing customer referrals to get a real sense of how the project went from their perspective. Companies should have good monitoring capabilities and be able to explain how their maintenance teams are deployed.
  4. Customer base. Look for experience working with big brands, which will have already done some extensive vetting for you in choosing their partners.

While the bankruptcy of an industry trailblazer has many wondering what the future holds, we see sunny days ahead for commercial solar. REC Solar has been installing for 18 years, and we have adapted to each new challenge in this rapidly-growing field. In partnership with Duke Energy, we strive to run our business for the long-term, focusing on customer satisfaction and running a profitable company. Our experience and strong backing puts us in a position to be a responsible and reliable energy partner to our customers for decades.

If your solar provider is going out of business or you’ve been planning a solar installation but don’t yet have a provider, you may have additional questions about how to apply these guidelines to your search. The REC Solar team is happy to help review your options to ensure that you’re choosing the best solar partner for your business. Please contact us and our team will get back to you as soon as possible with the answers to your questions.

 

More Businesses Turned to Solar in 2015

The number of U.S. businesses with solar energy installations grew to a new high in 2015. Enterprises ranging from family-run companies to some of the country’s biggest corporations are producing their own energy, cutting operating expenses, and achieving environmental sustainability.

The number of U.S. businesses with solar energy installations grew to a new high in 2015. Enterprises ranging from family-run companies to some of the country’s biggest corporations are producing their own energy, cutting operating expenses, and achieving environmental sustainability.

recent report from the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) provides data and insights into the diverse mix of corporate offices, office buildings, retail, manufacturing, data centers, distribution and logistics centers, and convention centers that have gone solar.

A key reason for the commercial solar boom can be seen in the significant system price reductions over the past few years, according to the report. “The average price of a commercial photovoltaic (PV) system has dropped by nearly 30 percent in the past 3 years,” SEIA finds.

The companies sampled in the report, representing businesses in 37 states plus the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, have deployed 1,686 systems totaling 907 megawatts (MW-DC), producing enough electricity to power more than 158,000 homes. The amount of solar installed at the U.S. corporations and businesses surveyed offsets at least 890,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions annually.

The report breaks down the Top 25 companies by the number of solar systems and by installed solar capacity in megawatts (MW). Topping the list in both categories is one of the royals of retail, Walmart. The big-box giant has 348 mostly rooftop PV systems accounting for 142MW, or about 407 kilowatts (KW) per system—very close to the overall average commercial rooftop system size of 419KW found in the SEIA data set. Walmart is also a driver of the booming category of carport-style installations, with at least 23 such systems coming online over the past three years.

The report notes that large retailers with prodigious square footage and unutilized roof space, the largest single commercial solar sector, “…have seen perhaps the most consistent and steady growth over the years as they typically have a similar building structure, which allows them to make large solar installation deals for multiple locations throughout the country.” These projects account for 397MW of the total and range from 4.4KW to a 1.63MW system powering an IKEA in Round Rock, TX.

The steady growth of massive ground-mount commercial solar projects represents another key sector to the SEIA database. The likes of Apple and Amazon are already benefitting from 20MW and larger solar projects supplying clean energy to their big data centers and server farms.

Another key driver of commercial solar growth has been solar financing options now available to businesses. Electricity bills are a non-discretionary annual expense for almost all organizations, and financing solutions allow businesses to reduce those annual bills with little to no capital outlay.

With the extension of the Investment Tax Credit and continued declines in solar system prices, 2016 will be a great year for businesses to go solar. Our flexible financing solutions and turnkey capabilities make the decision easy for business owners. In the end, thousands of solar-powered businesses will see millions of dollars in energy savings and returns on their clean energy investments.

Congress Extends Solar Investment Tax Credit for Five Years

Great news for businesses looking to go solar! On the heels of the landmark global climateagreement in Paris, the U.S. Congress today voted to extend the Investment Tax Credit (ITC) for solar energy investments by five years. The bill now goes to President Obama who plans to sign the bill today. This decision will help thousands of businesses across America achieve savings and sustainability with advanced solar technology.

Great news for businesses looking to go solar! On the heels of the landmark global climate agreement in Paris, the U.S. Congress today voted to extend the Investment Tax Credit (ITC) for solar energy investments by five years. The bill now goes to President Obama who plans to sign the bill today. This decision will help thousands of businesses across America achieve savings and sustainability with advanced solar technology.

The federal government currently provides businesses that install solar panels a tax credit equal to 30% of the total solar installation price. Just last week, that credit was set to drop down to 10% for solar projects unfinished by the end of 2016.

Now, thanks to a massive national outpouring of support for solar energy, the full 30% tax credit for commercial solar installations has been extended through 2019. Then, it will ramp down to 26% in 2020, 22% in 2021, and to 10% in 2022 for commercial solar installations. The bill also includes an important “commence construction clause” that extends the credit to solar projects that have started development before the deadlines listed above, as long as they are completed by the end of 2023. In other words, new solar projects need not accelerate dramatically to finish construction in order to qualify for these tax credits.

This vote of confidence in the American solar industry is testament to the incredible progress we’ve made since the tax credit was created in the Energy Policy Act of 2005. Solar installations in America have grown by an average 76% annually as our industry has achieved maturity and economies of scale. Looking forward, a five-year extension of the ITC will allow for an additional 25 gigawatts of solar installations across the country, a 54% increase compared to projections without the ITC extension, according to GTM Research.

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The extension of the investment tax credit provides more flexibility for businesses looking to go solar in 2016, and it will help to alleviate the anticipated operational bottleneck for commercial solar providers. With this news, we can now focus all of our energy on providing our commercial energy customers with the most financially beneficial and environmentally responsible energy solutions, without having to accommodate policy-driven market volatility.

If your business is looking for ways to reduce operating expenses next year, now is the perfect time to consider an advanced solar energy installation. The extension of the solar ITC, coupled with flexible financing solutions, will help to ensure strong IRRs and ROIs for new commercial solar projects. With the possibility of slowly rising interest rates and changes coming to California’s net metering policy, now is a prudent time to finance a commercial solar project and start saving on your energy bills.

Our team of solar experts is ready to examine your energy bills and to provide a no-obligation commercial solar evaluation. Let us show you how solar technology could help your company’s bottom line and our planet.