Available Rooftops And Incentives Prime Northeast For Commercial Solar Boom


California-based financial services firm Wiser Capital says the U.S. Northeast represents an untapped market for commercial solar that translates to approximately $67.5 billion in investment opportunity for the region.

According to new research from Wiser Capital, over 274,637 commercial buildings in the Northeast fit the site parameters required for a midscale commercial solar facility that collectively could produce 94,733 MW of renewable energy. The report defines a midscale commercial solar facility as being between 50 kW to 2 MW and, on average, capable of housing a 350 kW system.

The report says 29.71% of the commercial building sites optimal for solar in the Northeast are located in New York (28,401 MW) and 17.09% are in Massachusetts (15,975 MW). Taking costs and incentives into consideration, Wiser says these two states will lead a new solar energy boom in the Northeast.

The total number of suitable commercial solar sites in the Northeast and their percentage of the whole are as follows:

  • New York – 81,604 (29.71%);
  • Pennsylvania – 53,222 (19.38%);
  • Massachusetts – 46,938 (17.09%);
  • New Jersey – 36,963 (13.46%);
  • Connecticut – 25,357 (9.23%);
  • Maine – 9,388 (3.42%);
  • New Hampshire – 9,327 (3.40%);
  • Rhode Island – 7,417 (2.70%); and
  • Vermont – 4,421 (1.61%).

The report also says that the Northeast's commercial solar potential has the potential to deliver significant cost savings to corporations in these states, as well as environmental benefits. For example, a typical 350 kW system that covers 80% of the electricity usage for a commercial entity consuming approximately 38,500 kWh per month would achieve cumulative savings of $999,763 over a 25-year period, the report says. The returns are assisted by the commonwealth's strong solar renewable energy credit program and the considerably lower escalator rates of solar power purchase agreements over historical utility cost increases.

‘The untapped solar potential, now being made possible by strong policies and unlocking the midscale commercial solar investment market, stands to deliver significant electricity cost savings and electricity price certainty to corporations in the Northeast,’ says Nathan Homan, executive director of Wiser Capital. ‘We expect to see considerable movement, growth and activity in the midscale commercial solar space in the coming year as corporations look to take advantage of the environmental and now even more compelling economic benefits.’

Download Wiser Capital's ‘2015 Solar Economy Barometer’ report here.

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