By Sammy Chu, CEO, Edgewise Energy
In Part 1 of this conversation, we covered some community solar basics (link.) Now we will continue to drill down on how your commercial building could benefit from such an arrangement and we will also look at what you might be giving up.
Who are the perfect candidates for community solar hosting?
If you are not responsible for paying for the electricity on your property, or your roof is large, and your energy requirements are low, community solar hosting may be a great match. Here are some key factors to consider:
- Tenant Spaces – If you own buildings or property that you don’t pay electric bills, community solar can be a homerun for you. Owners of tenant spaces have an opportunity to increase their revenue on existing properties with relatively small risk. In addition to new revenue, property owners that invest directly into their system still have an opportunity to take advantage of the Solar Investment Tax Credit, which will remain at 30 percent through the end of 2019. Bottom Line – If you own a tenant space and your roof is in good shape, you should strongly consider community solar. If your roof needs work, community solar may still be a great option for you and can help to offset the capital costs involved in repair or replacement of your roof.
- Buildings with low electrical consumption – If you pay your own electrical bill, but your consumption is relatively low relative to the size of your roof, community solar may still be a good option for you. Although community solar won’t directly reduce your energy costs, after modelling projected revenue vs. cost savings yielded from a self-consumption, Value of Distributed Energy Resources (VDER) valued system, you may find that you are still much better off opting for community solar.
Who should think hard about community solar hosting?
If you are responsible for paying for the electricity on your property, considering community solar hosting is a more complicated decision. Here are some key factors to consider:
- The energy costs remain the same – While you are making money via monetized subscriptions on the energy your building generates, Community Solar hosting doesn’t lower your actual electric bill. You are still responsible for paying for the energy that your building consumes.
- The rate increases still hurt just as much – You are still exposed to utility rate increases approved by LIPA.
- You may be giving up other options – You may be giving up opportunities to stabilize your energy costs. If you are looking to reduce your own demand charges, there are other options available, including solar plus energy storage and fuel cells.