While many homeowners and private business owners are already taking advantage of the benefits of solar energy production, there are a number of organizations that still may be unsure if solar energy is right for them. It is becoming more common these days for large organizations like schools and universities, in particular, to weigh the pros and cons of adopting solar energy. Like most large organizations, these major financial decisions are not taken lightly, and many considerations are taken before coming to a final decision. Fortunately, there is plenty of data available these days that can help schools, universities and similar organizations determine the cost-effectiveness of adopting solar energy. Below, we have prepared a basic outline of the kind of costs associated with the installation and maintenance of solar panel systems for the average school in BC.
Once a school council, board or committee makes the decision to explore the financial costs and benefits of a solar panel system, there are a few key questions they need to consider. Whichever stakeholder(s) are in charge of the decision will need to consider two major components; financing and installation. When addressing these topics, it is important to consider the following questions:
- How much energy and money will the school save?
- What equipment is required for the installation and operation of the solar panel system?
- What financing options are available?
- What are the tax breaks and incentives available at this time?
Answering these questions in detail will give you a great initial idea about the cost associated with purchasing and installing the solar panel system, as well as the savings you can qualify for at this time. Keep in mind that certain rebates and credits associated with solar energy can change depending on the priorities and principles of a certain government. It is always best to make sure you are getting the most up to date information.
Paying for Solar Panel System
Since many schools are public, non-profit institutions, they may not qualify for all tax breaks and rebates associated with solar energy. In light of this, many schools will debate whether it makes sense to buy the solar equipment outright, or lease it from a third party. This decision weighs heavily on the contractor or third party the school chooses to work with. While leasing with a power purchase agreement, or PPA, can make financial sense initially, it can sometimes be more cost-effective to purchase the equipment. Getting multiple quotes on installation and equipment lease costs will help paint a more vivid picture of what you can expect to pay in either scenario.
Average Cost Factors
The positive thing to keep in mind about solar panels for large institutions like schools and universities in BC is the fact that the larger the solar panel system, the lower the cost per watt. This can make it much easier to recoup the initial investment in the purchase and installation of the solar panel equipment. In addition, a visible solar energy system on campus or school buildings can project a positive image of sustainability. Such a progressive image can attract more students, and therefore more funds to the institution.
The average cost of a solar panel system for a school will inevitably vary depending on available space, the size of the solar energy system, and the amount of future savings directly and indirectly related to adopting sustainable energy production. If you are interested in learning about how your school can benefit from installing a solar panel system on or off-campus, be sure to get in touch with us at Rikur Energy today!
Brad is proud to be of First Nation’s descent with ancestry traced back to the Manitoba Red River Band. With over 20 years’ experience in the construction industry, Brad offers an extensive background of project procurement in industries from agriculture, electrical distribution to commercial construction. Brad is a NABCEP certified professional with a thirst for ongoing education in the renewable field.