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Will Solar Work?

To determine if solar will work at your business or nonprofit organization, and if your roof will work for solar, ask yourself these questions:

  • Do I own the business and the building?
  • Is a good deal of my roof free from obstructions like HVAC equipment?
  • Does one slope of my roof face south, east or west? (If you have a flat roof, or if you’re installing a ground-mounted system, roof “azimuth” doesn’t matter.)
  • Is my roof shade-free for most of the day?
  • Is my roof in good condition?
  • Do I pay the electric bill or does a tenant? If a tenant, have I determined how to bill my tenant for the “free” solar electricity?
  • Is my electric bill big enough that spending 40-80 hours of staff time over the next year to reduce it sounds like a worthwhile investment?
  • Will demonstrating sustainable business practices and/or financial savvy through solar benefit my business?
  • Do I know what maximum payback period (in years) I am comfortable with?
  • Do I have a hurdle rate for an IRR or NPV?
  • Do I feel good about a project that could pay for itself in less than 5 years and produce returns for more than 25 years?

If you answered “yes” to most or all of these, you could be a very good candidate for solar. If solar won’t work for you, there are other energy-efficient technologies you can invest in to improve your bottom line, such as ductless mini-split heating and cooling systems.

mass audubon“Solar reduced our operating costs and gave us long-term financial relief. We don’t have to worry what electricity prices are doing, because our prices are fixed for the solar we have installed. Solar just makes a whole lot of sense.”

—Bankroft Poor, Mass Audubon