With human induced climate change and fossil fuel energy shortages looming on the horizon, you would think alternative forms of energy like solar would really be starting to take off on a commercial basis. Unfortunately, for those of us with a concern in the future of the planet, this does not appear to be the case. Many small to medium sized businesses still refuse to install photovoltaic solar panels, despite the ever-decreasing price of solar panels and plentiful financing options. In this post we attempt to uncover the reasons for their hesitation. Read on below to find out, and learn more about solar in this article.

Many small to medium sized businesses cite that their major reason for not installing solar panels on their premises is simply that they are not the owner of the office, factory or warehouse where their business is held. Which is understandable. Yet, that doesn’t change the fact that commercial building owners are still not installing PV panels on their buildings. So, what are the reasons for their skepticism when it comes to the decision to install solar panels on their premises?

"The nation that leads in renewable energy will be the nation that leads the world ."

Fortunately for us, the non-profit group Clean Coalition have already laid out many of these reasons in their publication Solar Solutions Guide. Some of the concerns commercial property owners have concerning the adoption of solar power include:

  • The upfront cost (assuming the solar panels are purchased upfront)
  • The potential lien or claim on the property (if the purchase of the panels has to be financed)
  • Integrity of the property (fear about rainwater leakage and other damage or alteration to the roof if solar panels are mounted on top)
  • What will be the return on the solar investment over the long run
  • Reliability of the system
  • Concerns about gaining approvals and permits
  • Availability of government tax credits and other financial incentives
  • Desire to wait until solar technology is cheaper, more efficient and more reliable
  • According to several of the commercial property owners canvased in the study, they would adopt solar if their tenants expressed a clear interest in it – the problem is that in many cases this doesn’t happen

"It's not renewable energy, it's rational energy."

Having identified the barriers to the uptake of commercial solar, the next step is to work out solutions. From the point of view of commercial property owners, some solutions to the aforementioned concerns include:

Choosing innovative and risk-free financing options

Commercial property owners can look into more innovative and risk-free options for funding the installing of solar panels, rather than trying to come up with the money to install solar panels by, for example, taking out a loan. Some of these include solar leasing and solar panel renting.

Selecting manufacturers and installers with a proven track record

The second solution is to always do your research beforehand and select only those solar manufacturers and installers that have great reviews and therefore a proven track record with commercial solar projects. This will ensure qualitative service and make sure that you don’t have any problems with the solar panels in the future.

Selecting a developer who will manage all arising issues

Some of the issues that many people wanting to install solar panels on their commercial property face are: getting permits, rebate availability, property repair and roof replacement, setting up the actual installation, getting insurance and others. So, besides getting a solar manufacturer and installer that is accomplished and provides quality service, you should also get a developer who will manage all these problems and make sure that everything is taken care of.

Providing an open and transparent communication between tenants and landlords

And lastly, one of the solutions to slow uptake of commercial solar might also be an open and transparent communication between tenants and landlords. This will not only make sure that the property owners know that their tenants have an interest in installing solar panels on the property they are leasing. But will also help to make the actual solar panel installing process smooth and painless.

There we have it. Commercial solar has so much potential to reduce our impact on the planet but as of yet this potential has remained largely untapped. In this article we have explored some of the reasons why, and tentatively suggested a few solutions for overcoming the existing obstacles.

Interested in learning more about commercial solar?