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A Tenant for Your Commercial Rooftops-Commercial Rooftop Solar Installations

Commercial Rooftop Solar InstallationsCan rooftop solar installations increase the profitability of your commercial buildings? Lets explore your options. Experts say the US is past the point where solar is ‘alternative energy.’ In 2018 alone, a new solar project was installed in the US every 100 seconds. Although regulations and incentives vary state-by-state, commercial real estate owners in all 50 states are taking advantage of the benefits of adding rooftop solar installations to the buildings in their portfolio.

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Up to now, the owner of the real estate also owned the solar system and was responsible for all maintenance. Starting in 2019, this isn’t necessarily the case for commercial real estate owners and investors in New Jersey. Now, commercial real estate owners in NJ can take advantage of Community Solar due to the newly unveiled/ launched NJ Community Solar Pilot program. Real estate owners in other states, such as Rhode Island, New York, and Maryland, have found great success with similar programs.

About the Program:

The Community Solar Energy Pilot Program enables utility customers to participate in a solar energy project that is remotely located from their property and is currently under development. Subscribers from the community pay for subscriptions. Funds from the subscriptions go to a Community Solar Project Owner or a Subscription Organization. The solar energy from that project goes into the electricity grid. The power from the grid is then delivered to the subscribers, who receive credit on their electric bills for their involvement.

Commercial real estate owners in NJ can take advantage of this program by working with an experienced Community Solar Project Owner. The Community Solar Project Owner pays the commercial real estate owner for use of their rooftop and is responsible for all aspects of the Community Solar Energy Pilot Program. The Community Solar Project Owner applies for the program, builds and maintains the solar system, and pays the taxes. Commercial real estate owners simply collect the checks!

Top 5 Perks for Commercial Real Estate Owners:
• Portfolio’s net operating income is immediately increased
• Additional positive cash flow line item is added to the corporate balance sheet
• All costs for the solar projects’ viability and development process are paid for by the Community Solar Project Owner
Ongoing ownerships costs are absorbed by the Community Solar Project Owner
• Additional property tax on the solar equipment is paid by the Community Solar Project Owner

For more information, NJ C/I Real Estate Owners can contact:

Jacob Yaeger
Managing Principal
Green Skyline Solar

Green Skyline Solar is a vertically integrated partner in the deal-flow process in utility scale, Community Solar, and large net-metered solar projects. Green Skyline Solar’s investor consortium has leased/ purchased and developed 75% of the first Rhode Island Community Solar program equaling $50M in investment capital and 20% of the first Maryland Community Solar program equaling $30Min investment capital. Green Skyline Solar’s team has developed over 500mW nationwide.


The Importance of Maintenance for Commercial Solar Installations

Commercial Solar InstallationsCommercial solar installations have no moving parts and require little maintenance. Unlike major mechanical systems, there is no replacing lubricants, inspecting fan belts or cleaning fuel tanks. Does this mean that solar requires no ongoing attention? No, it is critical that your commercial solar installation receive ongoing attention on a regular basis.

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There are many reasons to have an experienced solar company maintain your existing commercial solar installation:

1. Safety
2. Preventative Maintenance
3. Output

Commercial solar installations are generally safe and have redundant safety systems in-place. However, a regular inspection would identify any failing conditions. These failures could include blown fuses, overheated terminations, worn wires and separated connections. Electrical equipment that is compromised can cause arcing, heat or fire and should be corrected immediately.

In many cases, catastrophic system failures will present warning signs in advance. A regular, proactive solar inspection can identify potentially dangerous conditions and prevent future failures. Experienced commercial solar technicians would look for indications such as loose or dangling connections, solar panel “hot spots”, moisture infiltration and stressed wires. By correcting these warning signs proactively, you may be able to prevent safety
hazards in the future.

A regular inspection could also ensure that your commercial solar installation is maximizing output. Typically, most solar owners believe that their installation is operating at peak, but it hard to know for certain. With many monitoring applications, the solar output is captured at a high-level and minor system under performance is lost. Commercial solar installations may suffer from minor losses caused by panel-level issues such as bypass diodes, “snail trails”, degradation or soiling. In addition, inverters or combiner boxes may have issues that are not obvious when monitoring at a system-wide level. The cost of a regular solar review is easily recouped by correcting these under performance issues.

Commercial Solar Installation Maintenance Checklist

A regular solar inspection should include a thorough review of all system components and should be performed at least on an annual basis. Some key items on the inspection checklist would include:

1. Visual Inspection
• Check racking, ballast, wires, connectors

2. Electrical Inspection
• Check electrical readings at all termination points

3. IR Scan
• Check for signs of heat on modules, terminations and electrical gear

4. Torque Check
• Check hardware for loose or failing fasteners

5. IV Curve Trace
• Check module strings for actual vs. expected performance

6. Dirt/Debris
• Inspect for excessive dirt and debris and replace/clean air filters

7. Corrective Plan
• Summarize findings to establish baseline and provide recommended action plan

Solar is generally a low-maintenance investment, but a proper maintenance plan is essential to safe operations. In addition, regular inspections can ensure that your solar installation maximizes its electricity yield. This will increase not only the savings to your bottom line, but also help increase the carbon savings for our planet.

Keith Peltzman
President & Founder

Independence Solar
1008 Astoria Boulevard
Suite E
Cherry Hill, NJ 08003

P: 856.393.1250

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’ solar energy investments.