5 Reasons Why Commercial Businesses Are Choosing Solar


Solar has been in the commercial construction sight line for years, but it has recently taken a big leap into the spotlight. In March, Whole Foods announced that it would cover one-fourth of its stores with solar panels. This makes it among the 25 biggest commercial solar suppliers. Walmart, Apple, General Motors, Walgreens, and Target also fall into this category.

Here’s why commercial businesses are going solar:

Reducing costs. Whole Foods chose to undertake this huge construction project for both environmental stewardship, and to reduce energy costs. The Solar Energy Industry Association (SEIA) says that in 2015, solar systems for commercial businesses reduced every quarter in 2015, with the final cost 10% lower by the end of the year at $2 per watt. According to the SEIA, “While solar has long been viewed as an environmentally responsible energy choice, businesses now deploy solar because it is a smart fiscal choice as well.” According to the Illinois Solar Energy Assocation, photovoltaic panel costs are all up front, and then the energy is free and insulated from utility price increases. Only maintenance costs need to be considered.

Incentives. The federal and state government offer several tax credits, rebates or grants. You can see current Federal and State incentives at the Database of State Incentives for Renewable Energy (DSIRE). Choose your state, and filter by “Technology,” “Renewable Energy,” and “Solar.”

It’s popular. When you go solar, you aren’t the only one. In 2015, for the first time ever, more solar energy systems were installed in the U.S. than new natural gas plants. Solar supplied 29.5% of new energy sources built last year.

It can be installed in a variety of ways. Solar is available for a huge variety of building and facility layouts. According to the SEIA’s report “Solar Means Business”, companies are using it in office buildings, corporate campuses, retail, manufacturing, data centers, distribution centers and warehouses, convention centers, and more.

And of course, environmentally friendly. The energy produced from solar electric systems is clean, carbon free, and non-polluting.

Learn more about Solar Energy at the Solar Energy Industries Association. And for Illinois-specific questions, visit the Illinois Solar Energy Association. (If you’re looking out your window on a gloomy Illinois spring day and worried about whether it will work here, according to the Illinois Solar Energy Association, it works just as well here as in sunny Florida.)