There are many benefits for commercial building owners and landlords with regards to a solar system on their building. A landlord can be involved in many different ways. Let’s look at some of the situations and then look at the risks and rewards and see if we can find the best path for the highest return on investment with the lowest risk profile.
A landlord may pay the electric bill on a property. In most cases, the landlord at least has the house meter in his responsibility. This covers the exterior lights, some other circuits for the fire marshal and maybe some other circuits. In this case, the bill comes to the landlord every month. In this case, the landlord has the same risk and reward profile as an owner occupied building. The solar system will generate electricity on site and offset that bill. If the landlord has an office building or some other application where the electricity is included with the rent, this is the same situation. We would design a solar system to offset this usage pattern and the landlord would see a 2-3.5 year payback, depending on many things. Some of the differences would be the available electric rates, the utility company, whether the system is on the roof, carports or the ground, and whether or not other energy saving upgrades are included with the solar installation such as an LED lighting upgrade.
The building occupant, not the landlord, pays the electric bill. Now you have to look at it from two points of view, the tenant purchases the solar system or the landlord purchases the solar system. If the tenant purchases the solar system, the landlord benefits because the tenant will be invested in the property and would not likely move quickly. The landlord is going to benefit also because the value of the building is increased due to the value of the electricity generated increases the income from the building, which increases its value. As a side note, the property taxes do not increase as a result of adding a solar system to a building, so there is no downside to the landlord. If the landlord purchases the system, the value of the building still increases, the property taxes still do not increase, but now you get a lot of other benefits. You can sell this power as a part of the lease payment to your tenant. You can give the tenant a discount to increase tenant loyalty, or just match the utility company. Ask your tenant how much his electric bill is, and you will find out that in many locations, depending on building usage, the electric bill can be as much as rent.
In other words, you can double the value of your building, with a very little down payment, and the income from selling the electricity making all the financing payments. Now, you may ask what happens if the tenant moves out and leaves you with a vacant building? The payments are still due every month. That is why we recommend installing a solar system when a new lease is signed. The system will be paid off before the tenant moves out. In any case, electricity generated by the solar system is sent back to the grid if it is not used on site. So you will not have a house meter electricity bill on your vacant building. At the end of the year, you can sell this excess power to the utility company, and get 25% to 50% of the amount you could sell it to your tenant. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a rent payment come in on a vacant building that was 25% to 50% of the amount of an occupied building? This income would probably be enough to pay the taxes and other building upkeep as it awaits a new tenant.
As you can see, there are many benefits to adding a solar system to your buildings.