Rooftop Solar Gains Traction at Commercial Properties
As more governments push their renewable energy agendas, more businesses are starting to see the benefits of solar energy from both financial and environmental perspectives.
As an example, Dina’s Interiors & Leather in Lakewood, N.J., has reduced the store’s electricity cost by more than 65 percent thanks to the installation of a 41.3-kW solar rooftop system by Arosa Solar Energy.
The installation also brings a financial boon to the furniture retailer. In addition to the cost savings, the power that the system produces is registered as Solar Renewable Energy Certificates (SRECs) that can be sold to generate additional income, says Arosa Energy. The photovoltaic system will pay for itself in less than 4 years.
Arosa Solar Energy also received substantial rebates from the state and federal grants to help defray the cost of installing the system. Businesses that opt for alternative energy are eligible for several different programs, says the solar installer.
Solar rebates are in such high demand that many states started to report shortages at the end of 2009.
In nearby New York state, Con Edison is pushing for more renewable energy. The utility filed a proposal with the New York State Public Service Commission (PSC) to support the development of 25 megawatts (MW) of solar energy resources in New York City by 2015, due to New York City’s urban roofscape, which has a significant potential to become a solar power center, says the utility.
Con Edison is recommending that the state set aside $24.8 million of its renewable energy funds for residential and commercial programs in New York City, with incentives targeting smaller solar panels.
The utility also proposes a $4 million set aside for a residential program in New York City and Westchester County to use solar energy for hot water.
The incentives would be in addition to a proposal to spend $125 million over five years throughout the entire Con Edison service area for larger installations, according to the company. The total proposed program funding would add more than 100 megawatts of new solar capacity in the company’s service area, which would offset 60,000 tons of CO2 emissions a year.
In March last year, Con Edison filed a proposal with the PSC for an 18-month solar energy pilot program, with the goal of generating 12 MW of solar electricity by 2011.
Renewable energy is also on the rise in Canada in part due to Ontario’s Green Energy Act. As an example, Canadian Solar installed Ontario’s first 250-kW photovoltaic (PV) rooftop system through its subsidiary Canadian Solutions. The installation, the first of its kind in Ontario, includes 1,326 solar panels on approximately 74,668 square feet with a total rated capacity of 305-kW direct current.
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