Installing photovoltaic systems or solar panels is a growing trend in the commercial industry because these systems provide plentiful benefits like cost reduction, a green approach, and improved brand recognition.
However, learning the cost of the photovoltaic system is a major element of installing them and is especially important for business owners who need to install these systems on a large scale.
Minor deviances between expected, and actual price makes all the difference in the world. Fortunately, determining its cost is not a big problem with the right factors in mind. For instance, the average cost for these systems is between the range of $50,211 and $502,113 in the U.S. in 2021. But first, let us understand the costs and inclination of commercial facility owners towards it.
Understanding Photovoltaic Systems Cost
The prices for solar panel systems have reduced over the past few years because governments want people to switch to better energy alternatives, and save fossil fuel reserves from getting exhausted.
The government offers all kinds of features and initiatives like tax relaxation, and Tariff options to help commercial building owners today.
Different states around the U.S. are also doing their part to make their world more energy efficient. For instance, the average cost of the commercial solar panel is 7.6% lower in Texas compared to the rest of the country. But, how much do these systems cost in reality? Let’s take a look.
Factors that Determine Photovoltaic System Costs
The cost of photovoltaic systems depends on the following factors
Size of the System
The first factor you will come across is the size of the system. It is the total installed cost of the DC system and also represents its capacity, usually measured in kWdc. What’s more, it is directly proportional to the “DC Capacity” or the expected electricity production.
Experts usually use the $/kWdc, which denotes the amount invested compared to the capacity of the designated system. In other commercial settings, experts, architects may use the term $/sq.foot. While the costs differ from area to area, a residential unit costs around $2 for every sq. foot.
The best part of the photovoltaic systems is that they are fully scalable. Simple arithmetic deductions produce fairly accurate results for costs. Therefore, you can fit the cost to almost any size of a commercial project.
Most commercial constructors start by dipping their feet into the project and testing the photovoltaic systems costs before determining the cost for a large-scale system. Bear in mind that the size of the system is directly proportional to the amount of energy required.
Number of Installations Required
Like other large-scale installations, the solar panel installation costs are also reduced with larger applications. This means that these installations have a bare minimum cost, which reduces naturally with large-scale applications, allowing commercial planners to save more than residential ones.
For instance, a small commercial system (below 20 kWdc) can cost more than $2500/kWdc. Larger commercial systems (above 1, 0000 kWdc, or 1 MWdc) could be below $1500/kWdc. Therefore, the payback or ROI from both these kinds of installations are great for commercial applications.
Ground-mount and rooftop installations are the most common methods of adding a commercial solar system to a building. The rooftop ones are added to a flat surface on the roof to get direct sun exposure as one may expect.
However, the ground-mounted ones require more space to accommodate the solar panel sheets in the system. Installing the panels on the ground naturally costs more considering the installers need to create a foundation for the system to settle in. The rooftop installation utilizes the roof as the foundation, which cuts the costs drastically.
That said, ground installations are great for several reasons. For starters, users can install the ground ones for as big of an area as they want, instead of being restricted by the roof parameters. This makes the ground installations more effective for larger, commercial projects. However, their initial investment is quite high too.
The cost of voltaic system production increases with the average need for electricity because more units, bigger space, and extra equipment are needed to set up systems for more use.
This increases the photovoltaic systems cost significantly. On average, a single size increase in solar panels can increase the overall costs by 10% to 15%.
This cost can also increase further if style considerations vary for each user. For instance, car installations are another popular variant of ground-based solar panel installations. These panels allow users to create structure and support in vehicles. However, this is only done in cases with no alternatives as it is very costly.
Moreover, car installations aren’t a practical solution for commercial applications, so it is best to leave them out.
Infrastructure and Design Considerations
The design and structure of your commercial area are major elements in determining the cost of the photovoltaic system. For instance, constructors working on a housing complex with solar power options need to consider the planning and placement of these systems.
Moreover, several facilities require AC energy source upgrades to make the system suitable for energy production and propagation.
Following some easy and logical steps can make this process simpler. For instance, commercial constructors consider the system size, while keeping the production below the threshold, which is quite effective because these systems provide a lower $/kWdc, without any costly system upgrades.
Moreover, Seismic considerations in areas with a chance of earthquakes are a big problem too. Fortunately, simple steps like additional anchoring can help the chances of destruction for such scenarios.
Photovoltaic systems cost varies for every commercial project. However, factors like infrastructure, design, electricity usage, solar panel style, number of required installations, and others impact the system costs.
Commercial project creators can easily get a cost approximation keeping all these factors in mind. Ensure consulting about this with a solar panel expert, engineer, and a dedicated team of experts before deciding.