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It’s Now Way Easier For Small Businesses To Go Solar

S'toon

Knows where his towel is
Apr 23, 2015
3,702
3,748
AB
In the past, small and medium-sized businesses that wanted to install solar panels were, for the most part, forced to buy them — meaning that companies that didn’t have enough money upfront to pay for the panels weren’t able to go solar. Now, that’s changing.


SolarCity announced Tuesday that it was starting to offer a leasing plan for small and medium-sized businesses. That’s a corner of the solar market that, so far, has been neglected, SolarCity Chief Executive Officer Lyndon Rive told ThinkProgress. And it’s a big corner — according to SolarCity, 99 percent of all businesses in the U.S. are small or medium-sized, a designation typically reserved for companies with fewer than 500 employees.


Until now, it’s been too expensive and too difficult for companies like SolarCity to find ways to finance solar arrays for smaller businesses. Under SolarCity’s new program, the company plans to use its own solar installers — instead of subcontractors — to put in the system, which SolarCity estimates will reduce the cost of installation by around 30 percent. The company has come up with a lightweight solar panel mounting design that allows businesses to fit 20 to 50 percent more solar panels on their roofs and takes takes just a few days to install, rather than two to three weeks.


SolarCity is also taking advantage of the Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) program, which helps finance private renewable energy installations. With the help of PACE, SolarCity pays the upfront cost for the solar system and small businesses pay off the cost over time on their property tax bills. Still, though the system does open up the market for small businesses that can’t afford the upfront costs of solar, it’s still likely a better deal for a business that can afford it to pay for its own system and earn tax credits itself, as ThinkProgress pointed out earlier this year.


SolarCity is planning to start offering the program to businesses in California, then expand across the country next year. According to the company, the new program will allow small and medium-sized businesses that go solar to pay 5 to 25 percent less than they typically do for electric bills. Rive said the company has had a “tremendous amount of interest” from small and medium-sized businesses over the last few years, so he expects the new program to be successful.
Full article at:
http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2015/07/29/3685286/solarcity-small-businesses-plan/
 

nwdiver

Well-Known Member
Feb 17, 2013
8,904
13,106
United States
SolarCity is really making some moves. They took themselves out a $125M loan this week to presumably buy up some more companies.

This industry is on the move and getting efficient!

Can't wait to see how this huge Buffalo factory affects solar in the US.

Agreed; The largest obstacle... possibly the ONLY obstacle will be utility acceptance... or to be more precise... how corrupt the utility commission is... Solar is DOA in very very sunny SE New Mexico... unless you want to get batteries and not tell Xcel that you're supplementing the grid with your own power. But... at some point the Solar Companies will be able to offer the bigger bribe...

Charging their customers ~$0.03/kWh for self-generated electricity... well played Xcel... Disgusting but well played...
 

TheTalkingMule

Distributed Energy Enthusiast
Oct 20, 2012
9,714
48,073
Philadelphia, PA
Everyone knows full well we're way behind on upgrading the grid to work with renewables, but what about proactive measures around how utilities will even exist? In Germany utilities went from huge profits to junk in a matter of maybe 3 years. That's in a socialist engineering base country that can adapt logically, what the heck are we gonna do when that happens?

Our utilities carry huge amounts of debt and as renewables enter their world there's an exponential plummet in profit. Solar eats the entire peak demand, so this transition won't really be a "transition" at all, more like a trainwreck. Monied interests will simply bail on utilities once there's no avenue to profit and we'll have no mechanism in place to sustain the grid. Or am I being paranoid? Admittedly I don't have much grid knowledge.

If you owned a small business park and you could get the financing, you'd shift right to your own solar/battery supply rather than pay the huge meter increases that will surely come, right? There needs to be a coordinated plan to deal with the aftermath of that.
 

Foghat

Active Member
Apr 21, 2015
1,214
5,842
Brentwood
Everyone knows full well we're way behind on upgrading the grid to work with renewables, but what about proactive measures around how utilities will even exist? In Germany utilities went from huge profits to junk in a matter of maybe 3 years. That's in a socialist engineering base country that can adapt logically, what the heck are we gonna do when that happens?

Our utilities carry huge amounts of debt and as renewables enter their world there's an exponential plummet in profit. Solar eats the entire peak demand, so this transition won't really be a "transition" at all, more like a trainwreck. Monied interests will simply bail on utilities once there's no avenue to profit and we'll have no mechanism in place to sustain the grid. Or am I being paranoid? Admittedly I don't have much grid knowledge.

If you owned a small business park and you could get the financing, you'd shift right to your own solar/battery supply rather than pay the huge meter increases that will surely come, right? There needs to be a coordinated plan to deal with the aftermath of that.

I think the reality is if some utilities can't hack it with DG solar taking revenue, they will be forced to sell to the highest bidder. All monopolies eventually get broken down into smaller chunks anyway. I feel many other utilities or energy companies will buy up assets at great prices.

The grid will continue on regardless of who owns it so worries are a little overestimated.

In Missouri, they are looking to separate revenue from profit, which is exactly how utitlies need to assess their business success. When profit isn't tied to revenues, they can sell off expensive assets and work to build the most cost effective grid while maintaining healthy profits for investors.

In New York, ConEdison is developing a non regulated DG business with sunpower. This shows not all utilities are against DG and see the massive benefit. It's only more proof some other utilities are clearly working from a monopoly preservation agenda(like warren buffet for example). Even in Arizona, we can see the irony of APS saying leased DG is cost shifting but then at the same time, offering 3000 of its customers leased DG for $30 off their bill.

The grid will transform. It's just a matter of who will be the new kings holding the cards in the end.
 

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