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Going Solar - Q&A with Michigan Solar Solutions

March 18, 2020

JOOB is going on it's third month now with our solar panels fully functional, and we can't be more pleased with the initial results.  Based upon the first few months we are on track to have solar account for almost all of our electricity output.  

If you are a small business owner or resident, you may be considering solar as a way to reduce your carbon footprint, so we asked John Jevahirian, a Solar Consultant from Michigan Solar Solutions, to answer some of the most common questions individuals and businesses may have. 

What can a small business expect to benefit from installing solar?  How big a savings on their electric bill? What about for families?

It all depends upon consumption and site conditions for the amount of solar energy achieved, but we've seen yearly returns as high as 13% if perfect conditions are met.  We'll typically conduct an ROI analysis for businesses and residents to get a specific benefit expectation based upon their energy consumption and site conditions since no two sites are exactly the same.  

Businesses can receive other benefits including tax incentives, meeting climate neutral goals, attracting top talent that are environmentally focused, and attracting new customers who tend to buy from environmentally friendly companies.  

Residential implementations also receive tax breaks and cost savings on their electric bills as well.  Our project gallery is a great place to start to explore how we have helped others.   

How much does a typical installation cost and how long does it take?  How many panels do I need? How do I get started?

A typical small business solar array can cost anywhere from 15K-100K depending on consumption, site conditions and available budget. Most systems in this category are contracted and installed in 3-4 months. The amount of panels is determined by the buildings or homes consumption data (your bills!). To get started a business should identify what is important to your business going solar, is it reducing costs, reaching a carbon reduction goal, or other?  We then evaluate historic energy consumption and projected future consumption, and couple that with projected energy production from solar to understand the cost savings and payback on investment. 

Are their tax breaks for consumers and small businesses? 

​Yes the Federal Investment Tax credit (ITC) is 26% this year and 22% next year 2021, it will then phase out and leave only a 10% credit available for commercial properties only.  So now is the best time to take advantage of tax credits.

Can I track my savings by using solar?

Yes as long as you have the correct equipment and processes. Using monitoring apps (generally from the inverter manufacturer) someone can tell the systems generation during a specific time period, that data can then be compared to bills to identify the savings observed.

How well does solar work in cold snowy places?

Better than one might think! When snow is actually on the panels they do not perform well, However on a bright, cold day panels will produce far more than they do in dry, arid climates such as the southwest. This is because panels have negative temperature coefficients so for every degree below 25C we drop panel output can go up as much as .4%.  If there's a way to safely clear snow from your solar panels you should have no problem producing energy in winter. 

Thanks Michigan Solar Solutions!  


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