What you need to know about solar-powered business

Published August 7, 2015

  

In 2012 and 2013, the owners of BgS American Storage installed solar energy systems in four of its facilities in Rutherford County. The systems are a “financial no-brainer,” co-owner Barry Royal said.

“After five and a half years, the systems will recoup the cost of the initial investment, and we will still have over 25 years of solar electric generation,” Royal said.

The company that installed Royal’s arrays, Lightwave Solar is presenting a workshop from 10-11:30 a.m. Friday at the Rutherford County Chamber of Commerce in Murfreesboro to help business owners learn more about the technology.

“Our solar 101 workshop will highlight the financial incentives for commercial solar installations including TVA’s solar incentive that ends later this year,” said Brian Bickel, sales director at LightWave Solar.

While an entire 50 kilowatt array costs about $145,000, Royal was able to reduce the cost with federal tax credits and selling the power generated back to the Tennessee Valley Authority.

With a current total installed solar capacity of 200 kilowatts, which generates about 220,375 kilowatt-hours annually, BgS America is making $47,300 per year through TVA’s Green Power program, Royal said.

The TVA’s solar incentive program, Green Power Providers, is currently accepting applications through November.

New applicants can lock in a 2-cent premium rate for 100 percent of their solar electricity for 10 years. For a typical commercial system of 50 kilowatts, the average annual revenue for the first 10 years is approximately $9,000 per year.

“Solar reduces operating costs, and as electric rates go up, solar becomes increasingly valuable because of the avoidance of exposure to fuel cost increases over time,” Bickel said.

Starting in 2016, TVA will not pay a premium for new solar projects approved in next year’s program.

Federal tax incentives for commercial solar installations include the 30 percent Investment Tax Credit and the Modified Accelerated Cost Recovery System, a method of depreciation in which a business’ investments in solar property are recovered over six years through annual deductions.

Royal liked the payback so much that BgS America Storage plans to install another 200 kilowatt solar array at its Smyrna location later this year.

FYI

Solar 101 Workshop for Business Owners

From 10 a.m.-11:30 a.m. Friday

Rutherford County Chamber of Commerce,

3050 Medical Center Parkway, Murfreesboro

RSVP at 615-641-4050.

Refreshments provided.