Going Solar

The need for clean energy

As successive IPCC reports become increasingly urgent and the global conversation on climate change becomes more pronounced, nations and multinational corporations alike are beginning to see not only the environmental benefits of solar, but the cost benefits as well.

Last year, businesses with a vast number of properties throughout the U.S. have installed enough solar capacity to offset 2.4 million tons of carbon dioxide annually, and they’re just getting started, according to SEIA’s “Solar Means Business 2017:”

  • IKEA, with nearly 45 MW installed, has announced its goal of total renewable energy offset for its operations by 2020.
  • Apple has announced that its global facilities are already 100% renewable-powered, with almost 80 MW of installed solar among the mix.
  • Walmart is eyeing a one billion metric ton emissions reduction by 2030
  • Target, which discloses its annual emissions through the Carbon Disclosure Project, has committed to solar installations on over 1/4 of its locations by 2020. 

Solar is not just viable for big businesses, but for small and mid-sized ones as well.  Businesses can take advantage of federal, state and local incentives to cut the initial cost of installation significantly.  While most installations pay for themselves within a decade (most ROI is realized sooner than that) the warranty for many components last much longer (up to 25 years depending on the component), so by committing to a healthy offset, companies can enjoy lower energy costs well after the system is originally purchased. 

Below are some of the current incentives available now:

Federal tax credit:  Currently, the federal government offers a 30% investment tax credit on the cost of the system after rebates. This incentive, however will begin to decrease as follows:

  • 2018 – 2019: The tax credit will remain at 30% of the system cost. 
  • 2020: The tax credit goes down to 26% of the system cost.
  • 2021: The tax credit dips down again to 22%.
  • 2022 forward: The tax credit will be 10%.

Maryland: 

Currently, the state’s RPS (Renewable Portfolio Standard) requires 1,200 MW of solar to be installed by 2020 (or 2% of the state’s energy mix).  As of the 2018 legislative session, Maryland is also now a member of the U.S. Climate Alliance which calls for Maryland to comply with the Paris Climate Accord standards.  As the Maryland legislature considers increases to the RPS, the renewable energy targets will increase.

Additional Maryland incentives:

SREC Program

Commercial Clean Energy Grant Program

Parking Lot Solar PV Canopy with EV Charger Grant Program

Certain counties and cities throughout Maryland offer additional incentives and financing options (such as CLEER through Montgomery County’s Green Bank)  Check with your site’s local jurisdiction for details

To check out more MEA incentives, click here.

Virginia:

With the passage of HB 1558/SB966, Virginia is emerging as a new solar state. The extensive bills call for sweeping clean energy measures, providing a base for more future targets to come. One of the main points of the legislation in to increase renewable capacity by calling for the construction of 5,000 MW of solar & wind facilities in the state.

Virginia SAVES Green Community Program

Energy Efficient Buildings Tax Exemption

For more information on Virginia’s solar incentives click here for the Virginia DEQ website.

Washington DC:

The city’s current  initiative calls for a 100% renewable energy by 2032.

DC’s incentives include:

DC Sustainable Energy Utility Program

Solar For All

Strong SREC Program

For a list of updated DC incentives, click here for the DOEE site.

State and local incentives change frequently.  Ask one of our knowledgeable staff members about further incentives that may apply for your site

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