If you’re a commercial business owner in Georgia and considering converting your business to solar power, you’re not alone. Solar installations are booming in the Peach State. Just a decade ago, the solar industry in Georgia was virtually non-existent. Today that’s hardly the case. According to the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), as of Q2 2021, Georgia ranked 9th nationwide in installed solar capacity.
Solar Provides a Sunny Outlook for Businesses and Communities
According to the SEIA, solar installation prices in Georgia have fallen 36% over the last five years. With this sharp decline, the solar industry in the state has flourished. In addition, tech companies such as Facebook have backed the construction of solar farms in the state and located company data centers near these cheap renewable energy sources that power the centers 100 percent.
Additionally, rural communities across Georgia are turning to solar farms to help boost their local economy. These solar farms benefit all residents by increasing job opportunities, bringing new sources of tax credits for local governments, and providing new investment streams.
Several of the more notable solar installations in Georgia include:
- In September of 2020, Facebook announced that they are adding three huge data center buildings to its campus in Newton County. Facebook’s investment will total $1 billion and add around 200 jobs to the local community upon complete build-out.
- Major brands including Anheuser-Busch, General Growth Properties, and IKEA have converted to solar. IKEA installed one of the largest installations with 1 MW of solar capacity at their Port Wentworth location, part of the metropolitan Savannah area.
- Butler Solar Project 103, which was completed in 2016, can generate 103 MW of electricity — enough to power over 11,656 homes in Georgia.
While these installations are large-scale, each involving hundreds of thousands of solar panels. Businesses of any size and type can take advantage of the numerous benefits solar can provide. These benefits help increase profitability and ensure the success of both your business and local community.
Let’s look at the key benefits of bringing solar to your business.
Lower Energy Costs
Unlike electricity prices that continue to skyrocket, the cost of solar panels has gone down significantly over the last five years. EnergySage market data suggests that the average commercial property owner can save 75% on monthly electricity bills by converting to solar.
With electric costs ever-fluctuating due to demand, managing cash flow and planning for the future can be problematic. With solar, you essentially lock in the price of electricity. This makes budgeting and planning more manageable and more accurate. It also protects your bottom line from unpredictable and higher electricity rates.
Reduced Carbon Footprint
According to data from the SEIA, over one-third of U.S. greenhouse emissions come from burning fossil fuels for residential and commercial electricity usage. However, solar energy systems don’t produce air pollution or greenhouse gases, so solar can have a positive effect on the environment.
More Customers and Greater Employee Satisfaction
Consumers want to do business with companies committed to sustainability, so solar can help grow your customer base. Just as consumers, people want to work for companies that make sustainability a priority. To that end, solar can boost employee morale for happier and more productive employees who are committed to your company’s goals and mission.
Federal Investment Tax Credit (ITC)
The ITC is a significant incentive for converting to solar and gives you 26 percent of what you paid for your installed solar system. In addition, instead of a tax deduction, a tax credit directly offsets what you would otherwise owe in taxes. So instead of being taxed on a lower income, the ITC offsets what you owe in taxes. It can even come back to you in the form of a refund. (Some states also offer additional tax credits and cash rebates for solar systems).
PBIs pay you a per kilowatt-hour credit from the utility for the solar electricity produced by your system. PBIs can be significant and enhance your financial return over the lifetime of your system — typically 25 to 30 years, depending on installation conditions and the type of material used for production.
Although solar is more accessible and affordable than ever before, determining if it would be cost-effective and beneficial to your business requires careful consideration. The best place to start is a consultation with a local commercial solar installer who can determine your power needs, conduct a solar assessment of your site and provide the expertise to facilitate your decision-making.
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