Commercial Solar Installation Chicago – Everything You Need to Know

Solar panels in Chicago

Chicago is the third-largest business center in the USA, housing offices of many global companies, including the headquarters of Fortune 500’s Northern Trust, Archer Daniels Midland, State Farm Insurance, and many more.

Why is this even important? Well, these companies are often located in massive buildings that consume huge volumes of energy, translating into a growing need for cost-effective commercial solar installations. It’s no secret solar systems have appeared on rooftops and facades in various corners of Chicago – and more to come.

Read on to learn everything you need to know about Chicago solar panel installation at an enterprise level, including how to calculate the commercial solar installation cost and receive relevant permits and regulatory approvals.

What Is Commercial Solar Installation?

Commercial solar system installation involves exactly what its name suggests: installing solar panels on the roofs of commercial offices, factories, warehouses, and stores. These panels convert sunlight into electricity that powers the building, reducing dependence on the traditional power grid and lowering electricity bills.

As you can see, the concept of commercial solar panel installation is much about the details and nuances of installing solar panels on commercial properties – and there are quite a few ones to discuss.

Factors Influencing the Commercial Solar Panel Installation Cost

Power The bigger the building, the more powerful solar panels should be to power it up, typically from 300 watts to 5 megawatts. On the other hand, to understand the required solar panel surface, commercial solar installers use solar trackers that track the amount of sunlight throughout the day. At the end of the day, the energy needs and supply shape the cost of solar panels for commercial buildings.
Complexity If installing residential panels is relatively straightforward, commercial installation will require more effort. Tasks for commercial solar installation companies include obtaining and checking permits and sometimes also synchronizing system components located hundreds of meters apart. This may require special mounting systems and specific connectors.
Scale Typically, commercial solar panel contractors specializing in commercial installations take on projects with systems ranging from 30 kW to several MW. In 99% of cases, they are installed for the needs of factories, warehouses, stores, and office buildings.

The payback period of the system depends on its scale, with an expected net benefit from commercial solar systems installation starting after around 7 years of operation.

Overall, commercial solar installations offer businesses a solar power solution to reduce energy resource costs and environmental impact.

Types of Commercial Solar Projects

The popularity of solar installations at businesses is rapidly increasing every year due to the environmental benefits and economic advantages of clean energy.

Here are the main types of commercial solar systems:

  • Roof-mounted solar system. This type of project requires a standard roof structure – ideally straight and spacious. Thus, the panels will provide energy on-site in a decentralized manner.
  • Ground-mounted solar system. Such solar panels are suitable for spacious businesses. Typically, the installation takes place close to the business to avoid energy losses during electricity transportation.
  • Solar carports. Solar panels that are mounted on the carport’s roof can generate electricity while providing cover for the vehicle as part of the carport system.
  • Community solar systems. Such systems are installed in centralized locations where businesses or individuals can purchase a share of the generated energy.

The variety of types of commercial solar systems allows each business to choose the option that best meets their energy needs and fits their budget.

Large-scale solar panel project

Understanding the Benefits of Commercial Solar Panel Solutions

A high initial solar panel cost in Chicago, bureaucratic hurdles, and limited roof availability make business owners think twice before implementing commercial solar panel solutions. However, those bold enough to proceed reap numerous benefits.

Cost Savings
  • Reduction in electricity bills
  • Fixed-price tax payments for at least 20 years
  • Reduced dependence on volatile fossil fuel prices
CO2 Emissions Reduction
  • Improved air quality and less greenhouse gas emissions
Image Enhancement
  • Increase in the market value of the company and investment potential
  • Increase in environmental responsibility, resulting in increased customer and partner loyalty
Energy Independence
  • Increase in business resilience
  • Reduced dependence on Illinois energy companies

That said, commercial solar installation in Chicago can be challenging. One major obstacle is that commercial solar companies in Chicago must require an authorized permit from the owner to install commercial solar panels.

Key Participants in a Commercial Solar Project

Any commercial project requires selecting and purchasing appropriate equipment, obtaining construction permits, and possibly coordinating legal matters with nearby commercial solar companies Chicago, IL.

Here are the key participants in commercial solar installation in Chicago:

Property Owner</strong Have the final say regarding the feasibility of the project and investment
Solar Engineer Specializes in designing photovoltaic systems while considering solar exposure, roof strength, and energy requirements
Prime Contractor (EPC) Responsible for procuring materials, installing, and connecting the solar system to the grid in compliance with regulatory acts and safety standards
Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ) Responsible for reviewing and approving project documentation, ensuring compliance with building codes, electrical regulations, and eco-standards
Utility Company Grants permission to connect the solar system to the grid, handling net metering contract agreements
Installation Company Dispatches a team of specialists (solar performance assurance commercial installers and subcontractors) for solar panel installation Chicago
Financing Provider Covers the solar system expenses. It could be a bank, another financial institution, solar companies in Chicago, or the government (under ITC).
Insurance Agent Oversees the solar project according to the concluded insurance policy to protect it from risks such as theft, operational issues, weather-related damages, and more.

This is not an exhaustive list of participants in commercial solar Illinois. Depending on its specific structure, geodesists, environmental consultants, suppliers of specialized equipment, and others may also be involved.

Navigating Permits and Regulations for Commercial Solar Panel Installation Chicago

A surge in the number of commercial solar projects in Chicago is taking the state to a new level of energy autonomy. However, the implementation of such projects is complicated by numerous permits and regulations governing them.

Here’s what you can expect from commercial solar installation in Chicago:

  • Lengthy approval due to document verification
  • Delays due to zoning rules and land regulations
  • Permission to connect the solar system
  • Compliance checks regarding technical and fire safety
  • Possible public disputes with city residents

The variety of rules and procedures slows down the development of commercial solar projects, prolongs timelines, and affects the initial budget. This intimidates newcomers, so we suggest understanding the basic concepts.

On the other hand, though:

Thorough research and planning will help overcome barriers. Before starting work on the project, research the regulatory acts and permit requirements in Illinois. We recommend familiarizing yourself with the solar zoning policy in Chicago and the new law for standardizing local permits for renewable energy projects.

For complete and up-to-date information, consult with local authorities responsible for issuing permits for solar panel installation Illinois. They will assist in navigating bureaucratic procedures and provide advice on documentation.

Solar panel investment calculation

Exploring Options for Commercial Solar Financing in Chicago

Solar energy is environmentally and economically beneficial for many businesses, but the initial costs of solar panel installation commercial buildings can seem daunting. This has led to the emergence of alternative financial instruments that allow the implementation of renewable energy projects.

Here are the most common methods of financing commercial Chicago solar installation:

Cash Cash financing is the quickest and simplest method, as it does not involve additional expenses. However, it requires a significant initial investment.
Commercial Solar Loans in Chicago A commercial solar loan allows you to spread the costs over the long term to decrease the initial investment and even get favorable loan terms for using green technologies. However, you may not be approved for a loan if you have a poor credit history. Additionally, you will be required to pay interest, which may exceed the planned budget.
Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) Enrolling in a PPA exempts you from the initial investment because the system is owned by another person who installs and maintains it. Your organization can purchase the electricity it generates at a fixed rate for a certain period.

Finding the Right Commercial Solar Installation Company

SolarCC is a team of experienced electricians and energy specialists who can assist with transitioning to commercial and residential solar energy in Chicago.

We offer:

  • Professional consultations to determine the best equipment and financing options for your business
  • Commercial solar power installation services and design tailored to your needs and budget

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the typical payback period for commercial solar installers Chicago?

The payback period for a commercial solar company Chicago typically ranges from 7 to 10 years, depending on the system size, energy consumption, tariffs, and available Illinois commercial solar incentives.

Are there any tax incentives or rebates for commercial solar projects in Chicago?

At the federal level, there is an Investment Tax Credit (ITC) for solar energy investments, providing a 30% credit on the cost of panels in Chicago. At the state level, there are Illinois commercial solar incentives such as Illinois Shines, Illinois Solar for All, or Net Metering.

Is my commercial building suitable for solar panel installation?

To determine if your commercial building is suitable for solar panels, consider the roof area and orientation, its condition, and accessibility to the electrical grid. Better yet, consult with an expert. Alternatively, use your solar roof panel commercial installation company’s online calculator.