New Jersey Outlook for Commercial Solar in 2017
As we look towards 2017 in New Jersey, we are confident that commercial solar will continue to generate strong returns for landlords. In New Jersey, over 5,000 commercial properties have already adopted solar energy. Many more commercial property owners have considered solar energy. In addition, solar can help to differentiate a property and retain or attract tenants.
Reasons to be Optimistic about NJ Commercial Solar
1. Costs are Down
2. 30% ITC was Extended
3. Depreciation (Bonus MACRS) was Extended
4. SREC is Stable
5. Safety is Improved
Solar panel costs have declined 30% – in just the last 12 months. As the global solar manufacturing industry grows, manufacturing improvements and scale efficiencies continue to drive down the cost of a solar panel. If you received a quote for a commercial solar installation more than 6 months ago, it might be time to refresh that quote.
2) 30% ITC
The ITC or Investment Tax Credit is a 30% tax credit on the cost of a commercial solar project. So, if a solar project costs $1 million, then you are entitled to a tax credit of $300,000. This credit is not a deduction, but is a full credit against tax liability due to the IRS. The 30% ITC was extended by Congress in December 2015 and now extends through December 31, 2019.
3) DEPRECIATION (BONUS MACRS)
In addition to the 30% ITC, the IRS allows an accelerated depreciation schedule for solar – almost 70% of the project cost can be deducted in the first two years. Solar projects completed in 2017 still qualify for this 50% bonus. This benefit was extended by Congress in 2015 and greatly enhances the tax advantages from a solar installation.
The SREC is another source of income from a commercial solar project. The value of the NJ SRECs (Solar Renewable Energy Certificates) continues to support strong returns on investment (ROI). There are many strategies to secure stable SREC pricing for the long-term. Your solar developer/installer should establish the optimal SREC strategy for your project before starting construction.
New technologies allow for much safer commercial solar installations. Solar panels can now be monitored and shut down individually. This allows solar companies to de-energize the panels when personnel operate on the roof. In addition, monitoring each individual panel maximizes output and increases income generated. This safety configuration will become more common in 2017 and should be considered on every commercial installation. Again, if your commercial solar proposal is over 6 months old, it might be time to request a refreshed quote from an experienced solar installer that now includes these solar panel optimizers.
Keith Peltzman is president and founder of Independence Solar with offices in Cherry Hill, NJ and Boston, MA. Independence Solar is a turnkey installer of commercial solar energy. Since 2007, the team
has developed and built over $200 million of solar projects, including the largest rooftop solar array (9 MW) in North America at the Gloucester Marine Terminal in NJ. Independence Solar forges long-term partnerships to maximize returns on our customers’ commercial solar energy investments.
President & Founder
1008 Astoria Boulevard
Cherry Hill, NJ 08003