This morning I attended a lecture / presentation on the investment case for solar energy for St. Louis companies. The event was held at the Missouri History Museum and featured four local leaders in providing solar energy to commercial businesses; Aaron Novack (President at JE Novack Construction Company), Rich Wright (Managing Exec., Renewables at Ameren Missouri), Bob Kaemmerlen (President at Kaemmerlen Electric), and Kirk Bedell (St. Louis Business Manager at Brightergy Solar Solutions).
The event was sponsored by Brightergy as part of the St. Louis Business Journal Seminar Series. Kirk Bedell of Brightergy conducted the presentation and lecture portion focusing on three main areas. What is solar energy? What types of solar energy solutions are available for St. Louis businesses to use? What incentives are there for St. Louis businesses to use solar energy?
Solar energy involves harnessing the power of the sun through solar panels. These panels transform sunlight in to DC power. An array of inverters are then required to convert this power to AC before sending it over to a service panel. This panel will either use this newly acquired power or send it over to a power station where a local electrical provider will purchase this from you (imagine Ameren paying you for electricity) or you can choose to use it like rollover minutes on a phone for the next month.
The are currently three main types of solar solutions for commercial use. The first is a self ballasted system which happens to be the most popular choice. On average, this system produces 25 kw. A few local examples of this in use include the Ballwin Government Center and the Robert A. Young Federal Building (the largest use of solar power in the region).
The second type of solar solution for commercial use is the roof attached system. This is very similar to what most residential consumers use for their homes. A great example would be the Ameren Headquarters building.
The last solar solution for commercial use is the building integration variety. While more expensive due to the additional labor needed for attaching solar supports to portions of a building’s structure, this option is the most stable for high winds. A great example of this last type of system is the Thomson Reuters building in Hazelwood.
After this portion of the presentation, Bedell answered a question on why Missouri is perfectly poised for harnessing solar power. One, the geographic location of our state allows for an abundance of sunshine that rivals portions of Florida. Two, federal and state incentives for renewable energy investment. And three, the SREC purchase program available from Ameren.
There is also an option for no upfront costs with the BrighterLease Program as well as a leasing option. The adjusted payback on the energy saved on this type of system would be a little under 4 years and with an annual energy production of 33,000 kw. Not a bad investment.
If you don’t own a commercial building but are interested in solar energy, there are many options for adding solar panels to your home, including tax incentives. As a real estate agent, I have found that any improvement to a home that saves money on energy expenses increases your property value considerably. Of course, that is on the back end if and when you want to sell your home. On the front end, there are Federal & state incentives that can reduce the these initial costs by over 66%.
A few examples of residential solar solutions that Brightergy has completed are below.
For a consultation on a personalized solar solution (commercial or residential), contact Brightergy.
Real Estate Professional
St. Louis Real Estate