Top 5 FAQs Businesses Have About Solar

Sabrina Lopez
March 10, 2021
4 min read

Are you considering adding solar to your business but need help figuring out where to start? Going solar is a big investment and should be considered carefully. Understanding the ever-evolving landscape of local utility rates and local and federal incentive programs is critical.

To help get you started, we compiled a quick list of the most frequently asked questions businesses have about solar. While hardly comprehensive, there’s enough here to get your wheels turning. As always, we’re standing by to answer any questions you may have about solar and your business.


Commercial Solar FAQ

Q 1: It seems the utilities are working against solar. How do I know my investment won’t be minimized or obsolete by future utility shifts?

A. Precedent is on the side of solar in Arizona where the local utilities have always grandfathered current solar customers into their existing plans as new rates are introduced. Even as recently as the 2017 APS Rate Case, existing solar customers were the only ones allowed to keep their legacy rate plans.

The story is a little murkier in Nevada but still very pro-solar overall. After a temporary loss of net metering between 2016-2017, the Nevada State Legislature voted to revive an energy buyback program in late 2017. After a legal and national PR backlash, all indications suggest that Nevada is unlikely to open any new anti-solar legislation shortly.


Q 2: How would my bottom line improve with solar?

A. Obviously, one of the most popular motivations for going solar is financial savings. Most companies can reap major financial benefits from solar—most directly regarding utility bills. This happens in three primary ways:

  • We reduce utility grid reliance by generating electricity with a purchased or leased solar energy system.

  • We are paying lower prices for electricity through a solar service agreement (SSA) or a power purchase agreement (PPA).

  • We reduce expensive on-peak utility fees using an energy storage solution or other demand mitigation technology.



Q 3: How can solar directly improve my business?

A. Financial and brand reputation reasons are good motivations to go solar. Companies that have invested in large-scale commercial solar report immediate improvements in several key areas, including:

  • A reduced electricity bill (see above) frees up money for other business initiatives, which can increase sales and profitability.

  • They appeal to a growing audience of environmentally conscious consumers—the number of people who embrace and prefer green businesses is rising. Multiple studies have shown that consumers consciously choose companies that show their environmental and corporate social responsibility.



Q 4: Why should I go solar now? Won’t the price drop or technology improve?

A. We did indeed see a reduction in panel pricing in the first few years after the technology became mainstream, but price drops have been far less dramatic in recent years as the industry matures. More important than panel pricing alone are state and federal incentive programs, which generally dramatically impact system price. The large federal 26% tax credit is ramping to 10% in 2024, so now is the time to do your research. When evaluating commercial solar, company leadership should be sure to consider the following fully: 

  • Policies and incentives for installing commercial solar that might not exist.

  • Even if better policies or incentive programs are rolled out, or slightly improved technology increases panel efficiency, the money you’d save in the near term with your solar power plant could easily outweigh the benefits from waiting for an incremental decrease in panel pricing.

  • As part of the new tax plan passed in late 2017, companies can now take 100% depreciation in the first year the system is in service.

Q 5: If solar is all it's cracked up to be, why don't all businesses install it?

A. Just because you can’t see the panels doesn’t mean they’re not installed. In actuality, commercial solar adoption is on the rise, and the list of solar-powered companies reads like a “who’s who” of successful businesses. Companies like Walmart, Apple, Target, and Amazon are reaping the benefits of cheap, clean energy from the sun. Here's the top ten list of 2019’s top US corporate solar users.

In other cases, some businesses might believe purchasing a system outright (versus leasing or entering into an SSA or PPA) is their only solution. As a result, they believe they must first acquire the necessary capital or secure a loan.


We invite you to learn about the Sun Valley Solar difference and talk to one of our commercial solar experts to see how solar can help you achieve your business goals.