Commercial Buildings, Part I
You’ve heard about solar energy, maybe you think it’s great for some people’s houses, but have you considered what it might do to boost your revenue from your commercial building? Let’s consider for a moment what might have happened if you had Installed a solar energy system on your most recently-completed building.
For the first in this series, let’s look at commercial structures made for living.
If your most recent building was built for apartments, then you’re on the hook for operations and maintenance of that structure for as long as you choose to keep it. You get the bills for the plumber, the painter, the handyman, the electrician, and the ones who fix broken walls and trim. You also get the bills for electric use in the common areas. Maybe you even supply your tenants with electricity or water or gas. If you get any electric bills at all, you know that over the long term that cost is unpredictable. The utility can raise your rates or change your billing structure without much warning, and you only get to react to it.
A solar electric system that offsets those bills will allow you to be proactive in controlling those costs. Plus, in the long term once your savings has recouped the initial cost of the system, your operating costs are that much lower because the fuel that powers that system is free. If you’re planning to keep your building for more than a few years, you will get to the point where it will be paying you.
If your most recent building was built for condos, then your outlook may be fairly short-term. While some may be interested in continuing to hold the building for the long term, most do not. If you like to hold your condo structures long-term, then see the section above on “Apartments,” because that probably applies more to your situation. If your goal is to get the structure occupied, have the HOA take over, and then move on, then this section is for you.
What will make you most successful? Certainly, a fully-occupied condo structure. What will encourage that? It must be an attractive property. Obviously, solar can do nothing for the location of the structure, nor for its configuration, interior, amenities, etc. But solar can be attractive to many people. Studies have shown that as people’s personal wealth increases, so does their concern for the environment. A condo that comes with solar pre-installed can be a market differentiator for those people, and can attract them to your structure over a competing complex. Solar energy can be a cost-effective amenity to help sell condo units, at a dollar amount that can be quickly recovered (usually with margin to spare) in the price of the unit.
End of Part One
We haven’t even touched on non-residential buildings yet. There’s a whole world of commercial structures out there, and future installments to this blog should attempt to address these other structures. We’ll talk about solar on buildings made for small storefront retail, large retail, food service, hotel/motel, office space, manufacturing, and specialty structures like churches, convention centers, and other venues that are open to the public. Stay tuned…..