Commercial Solar Design & Construction
Energy Design has extensive knowledge in the field of commercial scale solar design and construction. Developing solar projects requires financial planning, a meticulous design, and a bit of luck.
Tax credits and utility incentives make commercial solar energy systems a cost effective strategy for controlling spiraling energy costs, while making a positive statement about who your company is to your potential clients. Federal tax credits are available but the State of Oregon eliminated the Business Energy Tax Credit (BETC) in 2012. Oregon does have a pay-for-production incentive available to investor-owned utility customers through the Solar Pilot Program established in 2010.
Utilizing the federal 30% investment tax credit (FITC) and a modified depreciation schedule for solar equipment allows a solar investment to become a net positive investment by the end of the 5th year in many cases; all while creating clean power on site that reduces the killowatt hours necessary to purchase from the utility.
It is rare to find commercial roof space that will allow for a megawatt-sized system. The majority of these larger systems are ground mounted, ideally in open fields. Typically, our commercial clients produce between 15% and 50% of their annual load with their solar installations, when installed to feed an existing business property or manufacturing facility. Larger systems are always designed to be direct generation, and involve negotiation of a power purchase agreement with the utility (e.g. the Solar Pilot Program). Careful planning is necessary, as there are many restrictions on siting renewable energy facilities. Each county and municipality has their own set of regulations to manage these facilities. There are also utility restraints on the capacity of existing power lines and distribution equipment in each district.
Energy Design has installed rooftop solar electric systems ranging from 2 killowatts (10 solar modules) to 100 killowatts (500 solar modules). Our ground-mounted systems have ranged up to 135 killowatts (600 solar modules). Our in-house design team has partnered with structural and electrical engineering firms to offer system design and project management for facilities 1 Megawatt and larger.
Energy Design holds a deep belief in land stewardship and recommends avoiding the installation of large solar facilities on federal lands, wilderness/scenic private lands, forest lands, and farm land. These sites are priceless, and often involve lengthy land use decisions, environmental studies and lawsuits that can take years to process. If you are interested in siting a large facility, we can assist you with accessing a database of superfund sites, landfills, etc. through the EPA’s Re-Powering America’s Land website. These previously disturbed lands are much better suited for the purpose, and further the efforts of promoting a renewable energy economy. We can also assist you with siting facilities in existing pastures & devalued sites that lie close-in to existing infrastructure. Energy Design has experience working on behalf of our clients to present projects to utilities, AHJ’s (Authority Having Jurisdiction), as well as state & federal regulatory bodies.
These systems are typically designed to be either net-metered (feeding the on-site, existing main electrical panel) or direct generation (feeding in to the utility owned grid directly). Each have their own benefits and disadvantages. Each utility and AHJ in Oregon has a unique set of rules and regulations governing the interconnection of these systems to the grid. Energy Design can assist you with wading through these complex laws and regulations to choose a path that best suits your site and the intended purpose of your solar investment.
Types of Commercial Installations:
- Sloped Roof installation (South Facing with minimal shading impact)
- Flat Roof Tilt up Arrays (Directly fastened to roof supports)
- Flat Roof Ballasted Racking (Racking is held fast with Bricks)
- Building Integrated (Roof is created from solar modules and aluminum racking)