Money on the roof

CUNY is offering a new online tool to help owners determine if installing solar panels on their buildings makes sense. After a sophisticated aerial mapping of the entire city, researchers created a map where you can highlight any building address and see the experts’ estimate of electric savings potential. For example, we found a six story, 117 unit building taking up half a block in Queens that could save $21,178 a year on its electricity bill, and a narrow 45 story residential tower near Wall Street that might only save $808.

One of the most attractive benefits of solar energy is the potential for lower energy bills. After the panels are installed, you pay nothing for the electricity they generate from the sun’s rays. If your business is typical, you’ll recoup your investment in the panels and installation within 10 years. Keep in mind most solar panels come with a 25-year warranty. Better yet, many local electrical companies will buy any excess power your panels generate. That means you could eventually profit from the panels.

Solar panels reduce your dependency on the local power grid. If the power goes out due to a storm or another issue, you’ll still have electricity. You’ll be able to keep your business running and your customers comfortable at times when your competitors can’t.

While the cost of purchasing and installing commercial solar panels may seem off-putting, there are ways to reduce your expenses. Manufacturers and utilities providers often offer rebates that let you quickly recoup some of your investment, including the tools for insulation and roofing services. Federal and state tax breaks for energy-efficient equipment help also lower your total expenses.

Unlike coal-fired electrical plants, solar energy produces no harmful emissions. By using solar power instead of the municipal power supply, you’re helping to reduce the production of greenhouse gases that harm the environment and contribute to common health problems such as asthma. In fact, solar power poses even less of a threat to the environment than hydroelectrical dams and wind turbines.

Your solar panels visibly demonstrate your concern for the environment and public health. They help you stand out from your competitors and attract customers who value green living.

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