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Posted on: October 06 2010 Tags:

2010 is the right time for Massachusetts businesses to use their under-utilized roof space to reduce operating costs and send a message to their customers and the community that they are leading the clean energy movement. How can they do this? By installing a solar power system on their building. Government incentives combined with recent decreases in solar equipment prices has made solar power more affordable than ever. Businesses that combine a solar project with the right financing strategy will be cash flow positive within the first year of an installation.

Framingham based SolarFlair Energy, Inc. works to help their commercial clients make solar power a reality for their buildings. TD Bank formulated a plan enabling Suburban Athletic Club to install an 110KW solar power system that will produce 20% of their electrical needs. The financing terms from TD Bank allows Suburban to enjoy the benefits of energy savings in the first year by avoiding up-front capital costs and replacing their utility bills with a lower monthly loan payment. In addition, Suburban will have protection from long-term price increases from their electric utility.

Thanks to the Green Communities Act of 2007, Massachusetts businesses are encouraged to invest in energy-saving technologies and reduce energy consumption through a number of generous programs including the Solar Renewable Energy Credit (SREC) program which pays the owner throughout the life of the system based on the solar energy produced. On the Federal side, The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) created a renewable energy grant program that is administered by the US Department of the Treasury. The grant pays 30% of the turn-key project cost within 60 days of completion as long as the project is completed by December 31, 2010. In addition, under the Federal Modified Accelerated Cost-Recovery System (MACRS), businesses may recover investments in solar power systems through depreciation deductions.

The solar power system at Suburban Athletic Club will receive a grant from the ARRA in the amount of $118,000. The system will produce 114,000 kilowatt hours (KWh) per year. Each KWh represents a savings of 17 cents NOT paid to the utility. In addition to utility savings, for every KWh of electricity produced, they'll earn an SREC which can be sold to electric utilities needing to meet state renewable energy mandates. In 2010, this market projects to add between 30 cents and 60 cents to the value of each KWh of electricity produced, dramatically reducing payback periods and improving the return on investment for solar system owners.

Generating electricity from solar energy means your company uses less fossil fuel, reducing pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. By switching to solar power your company does its part to fight global warming and to reduce our country's dependence of foreign and domestic oil sources. But the benefits go further - being a green business can not only reduce your operating costs, but can also be a positive public relations and marketing tool. Research shows that a growing number of consumers make their buying decisions based on companies' environmental responsibility.

Massachusetts' commitment to solar energy makes it one of the most affordable places to add solar photovoltaic systems in 2010. SolarFlair has everything you need to take advantage of the benefits of solar power for business.

From the MetroWest Chamber of Commerce Email Newsletter 9/21/2010