Skip to content
Installing solar panels on your commercial building roof? Here’s everything…

Installing solar panels on your commercial building roof? Here’s everything…

    Solar Panel Cost. Commercial

    A 10 kW to 2 MW commercial solar panel system costs 1.83 per watt before any tax rebates or incentives. Larger fixed-tilt or one-axis tracking utility-scale systems greater than 2 MW cost 1.06 per watt on average.

    Commercial solar installation costs for small and mid-sized businesses range from 43,000 for a 25 kW system up to 175,000 for a 100 kW system. Businesses recover about 45 percent of solar panels costs within the first year through tax credits and rebate programs.


    Average Cost Before Tax Credits

    Solar Panel Cost. Residential

    The first step to calculating your solar panel costs is to estimate the system size you need. The average residential installation is 3 kW to 10 kW depending size, location, and energy needs.

    below include the Solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC), which reduces your overall costs by 30%. Additional solar incentives and rebates are available from individual states, utilities, and local governments, which further reduce your total costs.


    How Many Solar Panels Do I Need?

    The average family uses 11,000 kWh per year and needs 26 to 33 solar panels to power the whole house. One solar thermal panel generates enough energy to power a hot water heater for a family of four. The number of panels needed depends on your location and roof size.

    Most states have a solar production ratio of 1.3 to 1.6, which means an 8kW system produces 30% more energy, or 10,600 kWh annually on average. To calculate how many solar panels you need, look at your annual kWh (kilowatt-hours) usage on your utility bills and referenced the table and map below.


    installing, solar, panels, your, commercial

    Average kWh Produced Annually

    Table based on 250 watt panels at average solar production ratios of 1.3 to 1.6.

    Where you live is a significant factor when estimating how many solar panels you need to power your house. Regions with less sunlight require larger systems to produce 100% of their energy needs.

    Using the map below, take the number written in your shaded region and multiply by the estimated size of your system in kW. Then, multiply this number by 0.78 to account for inefficiencies and energy conversion losses.

    For example, let’s say you live in Texas with a score of 1700, and you believe you’ll need an 8 kW system. This formula calculates a good estimate on how much electricity (kWh) your 8 kW system will produce annually.

    1700 × 8 kW × 0.78 = 10,608 kWh

    Below are the rough calculations which estimate the system size needed in each region to produce 11,000 kWh for the average home.


    Solar Panel Cost Per Watt

    Residential solar panels cost 2.53 to 3.15 per watt, with most homeowners spending 2.70 per watt on average before any tax credits or incentives. Commercial solar costs 1.83 per watt on average. Solar systems have ratings based on the electricity produced annually in average conditions.

    Solar Energy Cost Per kWh

    Residential solar energy costs 0.08 to 0.10 per kWh on average, and commercial or utility-scale solar power costs 0.06 to 0.08 per kilowatt-hour. include the Federal Solar Tax Credit (ITC) and vary drastically based on the amount of sunlight and type of solar panels installed.


    These figures represent the Levelized Cost of Electricity (LCOE), which is the average revenue per unit of electricity generated that would be required to recover the costs of the solar panels over their life expectancy. Consult with solar installers to calculate savings.

    Cost of Solar Panels Per Square Foot

    The cost of solar panels to power your house are 4 to 10 per square foot. However, most installers estimate solar costs by the amount of energy needed, at 2.53 to 3.15 per watt before any tax credits or incentives.

    Below are cost estimates based on home size. Overall costs depend on the type of solar panels, the size and design of your roof, and your energy needs.


    Residential Cost of Solar Panels By State

    The average cost of solar varies significantly per state but overall is affordable. The local cost of electricity influences the cost of solar per watt in your area. Below are the average per watt and by system size across the United States, including the 30% federal solar rebate.


    Average Solar Panel Installation Costs By Brand

    Below are total installation costs for 6kW and 10kW residential solar systems by brand which includes the 30% tax credit. Most solar manufacturers offer similar pricing, however, the price you pay is typically reflective of panel quality.


    include 30% tax credit and reflect installation costs from solar contractors. Total costs depend on the location, installers experience, inverter, and other equipment.

    How Much Does One Solar Panel Cost?

    One 150 to 300-watt solar panel costs 112 to 450 on average, or between 0.75 to 1.50 per watt depending on the type of panel, energy-efficiency rating, and size. Solar companies that purchase in bulk typically spend 0.75 per watt, whereas homeowners spend 1 per watt.

    Most distributors only sell solar panels to local contractors at bulk wholesale prices. Hiring a solar installer will drastically reduce your overall equipment costs. These are for the panels only, additional fees for installation includes inverters, batteries, mounting hardware, wiring, and more.


    installing, solar, panels, your, commercial

    Solar Panel Lease Cost

    A solar panel lease costs 100 per month on average, with most spending between 50 and 250 per month depending on their location and energy needs. Leasing solar panels is cost-effective and typically saves 50 to 100 per month on your electricity bills with little to no down payment.

    Solar leasing companies are responsible for the installation and maintenance fees for the duration of your contract. If you decide to move, expect to pay additional charges to end your leasing agreement because transferring the lease to another buyer can be difficult.

    If you own your solar system outright that generates 100% of your power, the monthly cost is less than 10 per month for minor grid-tied connection fees. An off-grid system has no monthly costs other than general maintenance.

    Tesla Solar Roof Cost

    A Tesla solar roof costs 22 to 45 per square foot, which includes the solar roof tiles, a Powerwall, roof and site repairs, and complete system installation. A 9.45 kW solar system installed on a 1,800 square foot roof costs between 39,600 and 81,000.

    On average, solar shingles cost up to 8,000 more than installing a new roof with traditional PV solar panels. Glass-faced solar shingles mimic the appearance of a tiled roof and cover more surface area than mounted PV panels to catch more sunlight.

    Solar tiles have a lower efficiency rating in producing electricity. They may not last as long as PV panels because their design doesn’t allow much room for ventilation, which can lead to overheating.

    Installing solar panels on your commercial building roof? Here’s everything you need to know

    Concerns over the security of supply, rising costs, and the need to decarbonise environments have quickly and permanently transformed our energy landscape.

    In the last year it has become increasingly clear that the way power is generated, purchased, and distributed today is not sustainable. Global supply chains have created a system that is simply too unstable to provide security in terms of supply and cost. And our reliance on fossil fuels is increasingly considered too damaging to an environment that’s already at breaking point.

    Simply put, now is the time to look at the alternatives. Because if we can be sure of anything, it’s that the disruptions of the last year will probably happen again.

    This is a great opportunity for commercial building owners to take advantage of cheap, clean, and sustainable energy sources. Solar PV is one of the most reliable investments in a turbulent market.

    You probably already know the many benefits of having solar panels on commercial rooftops – from energy security and lower costs to reduced risk and added value for your portfolio. You may even have decided that this is the way forward for you. But you might be less clear on what to do next and what to look for in a renewable energy partner.

    What to consider for your commercial rooftop solar installations

    Your specialist partner can help with the process of gaining commercial solar panel planning permission and accessing the right commercial solar panel grants. They can also design the configuration of your array, install it, and carry out the necessary maintenance and repairs.

    Since 2010, Mitie has developed, designed and installed, some of the largest commercial solar roof projects in the UK. And we’ve worked in some challenging environments. Our specialists know this world inside out, which is why we’re perfectly placed to guide you in your search for a new clean energy provider.

    Commercial solar installations are a lot for an organisation to take on. The process can be time-consuming and needs specialist knowledge so it’s always best to work with expert partners who know their way around.

    Design and installation of your solar PV

    The design and installation of solar is more than a two-step process. You must begin with a thorough understanding of your consumption, a clear idea of your goals, and a knowledge of the opportunity solar presents. You then need someone who can help you design the best system to meet these needs in your specific environment. And, trust us, this varies hugely from job to job.

    You must consider planning restrictions, cabling solutions, safety measures and so much more. As a result, every solar installation is different so you need to make sure your partner has a breadth of experience working in different environments.

    Remote monitoring for maximum performance

    Once everything is in place, you need assurance that your solar panels are performing at their best to provide the maximum ROI. A good partner will use digital technology to remotely monitor your energy generation and identify any panels that are not performing at full capacity.

    Maintenance and repair

    Of course, there’s no point monitoring if you’re not going to use the data to take any necessary action. Commercial solar panel maintenance and repair is essential in reducing preventable downtime, ensuring your energy needs are met, and maximising ROI.

    In most instances, this will include:

    • Professional cleaning to remove dirt and debris from your panels and optimise their performance.
    • Maintenance on inverters to optimise generation.
    • Regular checks to mountings, electronics, fixtures and fittings to keep panels secure, safe and operational.

    End-to-end delivery for consistency

    At Mitie, we know from our own experience that a successful commercial solar project benefits hugely from end-to-end design and delivery services. A specialist partner, with expertise at each stage, from initial planning to installation and maintenance, can simplify the process.

    After all, who better to monitor, service, and repair your solar infrastructure than the people who designed it, installed it, and know its every intricacy?

    How Mitie helps organisations embrace solar power

    Our work helping organisations to decarbonise and embrace sustainable energy has seen us install solar arrays for some of the biggest brands in Britain. On behalf of our customers, we’ve been on the rooftops of supermarkets, warehouses, council buildings, carparks and transport terminals, and everything in between.

    Powering our ports

    Our recent work includes two projects with Associated British Ports (ABP), the UK’s leading port operator. ABP contributes billions to the British economy through a unique network of 21 ports, nationwide. The operator has a policy to deliver renewable technology to reduce energy consumption and CO2 emissions.

    In 2018, we delivered a 1MWp solar project across six operational buildings at the Port of Southampton, including the 500kWp installation on the UK’s largest terminal. Our specialists began with extensive harmonic studies to satisfy the requirements of the District Network Operator.

    Today, we provide full maintenance and annual servicing of the solar PV systems, including remote live monitoring, for the port. In total, the system has outperformed predicted yields by 10%.

    Following the success of this project, we’ve also installed a 6.5MWp solar system, made up of 21,000 solar panels, across the rooftops of terminals at the Port of Hull. The system now generates enough electricity, at its peak, for the port to run on clean energy alone.

    Overcoming the challenges

    Every commercial solar project has its own specific challenges. The Port of Hull project happened at the particularly challenging time of the Covid-19 outbreak. Also, we had to work with a building over 350 metres long, which required permanent pathways to be built to prevent surface damage from the installation. It also needed a specialist approach to cabling to prevent overheating.

    The positive thing about overcoming complexity, however, is that it can yield generous rewards. After two years of planning, the £6.8 million investment became the UK’s largest rooftop solar installation. And, in 2020, it received the accolade of the Solar and Storage Awards: Commercial Project of the Year.

    As with Southampton, we operate and maintain the systems across the port, providing live monitoring, full reactive maintenance and annual scheduled servicing.

    installing, solar, panels, your, commercial

    If you’re ready for solar, get in touch

    If your organisation is about to make the leap to solar, and you want to know the difference a clean energy partner can make, get in touch.

    Making Sense of Commercial Solar: What You Need to Know About CI

    Commercial solar is something of an enigma. Falling between the better-known residential and utility-scale solar industry sectors, commercial solar — or CI solar as it’s often called, referring to commercial and industrial scale — encompasses a wide variety of customer types, solar designs, and project sizes. It also differs from residential solar in some key ways.

    As Ian Clover, Manager of Corporate Communications for Hanwha Q Cells explains. “In the jargon-heavy world of solar-speak, CI handily condenses Commercial and Industrial into a snackable sub-section of the PV industry. But as subsections go, the CI space has perhaps the greatest scope for flexibility, offering a raft of possibilities from ground-mount through to ingenious use of rooftop space.”

    What This Article Covers

    For a variety of reasons we’ll touch upon in this article, commercial solar has been slow to take off, but there are signs that this sector is poised for significant growth. And, for those who learn to navigate the complexity of these projects, the rewards can be big.

    This article is part of a series, in which we delve into a variety of aspects of commercial solar to help solar professionals understand the dynamics of this unique sector.

    In today’s article, we offer a brief intro on what commercial solar is, the scale of this sector, and some of the factors that have constrained its expansion, as well as forecasts for future growth.

    In other articles, we discuss the different players involved in commercial solar projects. how to sell a commercial solar project. and what financing for these projects may look like.

    What Is Commercial Solar?

    Commercial solar may seem straightforward — solar for businesses as opposed to residential solar for homes. However, commercial solar encompasses a variety of different types of customers and projects. In addition to businesses of different sizes, from large corporations to local small businesses, “commercial” solar customers can also include governments, schools and universities, and even nonprofits.

    Commercial solar projects may take the form of rooftop arrays on buildings or ground mounts, and can range widely in size from kilowatts to megawatts. According to Joe Naroditsky, Director, Solar Operations at the Community Purchasing Alliance (CPA). an organization that connects nonprofits with solar bids, the CI solar projects his organization facilitates can range in size from 50 kilowatts (kW) for small churches and synagogues to 300-400 kW for large schools.

    And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

    Commercial Solar Opportunity

    With the help of Aurora solar software. researchers at UC Davis have examined the real-world solar potential of some of the largest commercial buildings in the United States.

    Their review of the largest commercial building in the U.S., a Texas-based aerospace company with 770,000 square meters of rooftop, found that it could generate 88 million kilowatt hours (kWh) of clean energy! As explained in the Washington Post, “That’s enough to power nearly 5,200 homes for a year, offset 47,800 metric tons of CO2, and spare up to 388 acres of land.”

    Obviously, this is the extreme end of the spectrum, where building rooftops rival the scale of utility-scale projects, and this site has not been developed with solar. However, it serves to illustrate the variation in potential project sizes in a sector where the buildings and customers differ widely.

    Constraints on the Commercial Solar Market

    As you begin to read up on the commercial solar sector, one of the common refrains you’ll see is that this market has not grown nearly as rapidly as residential or utility-scale solar. As noted in PV Magazine. “The commercial and industrial (CI) solar markets have been a relative challenge for solar developers to exploit.”

    Cost of Commercial Electricity vs Residential

    There are a number of factors that have contributed to CI lagging behind residential solar. For one, commercial electricity are historically lower, which can make the economics of solar a little trickier.

    As Mark Berger explains in PV Magazine : “The CI sector has trouble competing against an average 15% or more lower price per kilowatt-hour rate than residential electricity prices, according to the U.S. Energy Information Agency. ”

    According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, in February of 2021 the average cost of electricity for U.S. residential customers was 13.3 cents per kilowatt hour (kWh), while the cost for commercial customers was 11.9 cents per kWh.

    Convincing building owners to purchase

    Another barrier relates to the fact that in many commercial buildings the occupant is not the building owner. This “split incentive” means that the building owners who would make the decision to install solar are often not the ones paying the utility bills, making solar energy savings less of an incentive for them.

    Complex commercial financing

    Financing is also more complex in the CI solar space, and according to some contractors we’ve spoken with, less accessible. That is beginning to change, however, as financing mechanisms for this space become better understood by financial actors and there are more successful projects for financiers to look at to assess risk.

    Financial viability is the first major hurdle in solar sales, as any solar installer knows. Commercial solar systems can therefore be a trickier sell.

    However, as explained in Solar Power World. “Commercial solar and now community solar are advancing beyond bureaucratic budgetary boundaries by systemizing structures for the private sector, consumers and third parties to partner and invest in energy infrastructure assets.”

    One of the major things easing financing is the introduction of power purchase agreements (or PPAs). PPAs have allowed investors to take on the pressure of large upfront commercial solar costs, with the consumers paying off the system a little bit at a time.

    Other barriers

    Other barriers include, “contracting challenges, the mismatch in building lease and PV financing terms, and high transaction costs relative to project sizes,” according to a National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) report.

    Solutions to Commercial Solar Barriers

    Many of the challenges in this sector are already being surmounted. A white paper by the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) and SolarKal highlights the fact that commercial solar projects can be structured in a variety of ways that split the costs and benefits across building owners and tenants to meet different criteria. They also emphasize the variety of financing structures available to fit the needs of the parties involved, and the fact that solar is cost-competitive with utility energy.

    As discussed above, commercial PPAs are a great option for small businesses and nonprofits that want the benefits of solar but are unable to cover the upfront costs — despite the fact that the upfront cost is often almost negligible considering the offset of reduced energy bills.

    Schedule a demo to learn more about Aurora’s commercial solar capabilities.

    Commercial Solar’s Current Scale

    According to a Solar Energy Industries Association report, 1,286 megawatts (MW) of commercial solar were deployed in 2019, with two-thirds of all corporate capacity installed just since 2015. The report now tracks more than 8,300 megawatts (MW) of commercial solar projects in the U.S. — over 38,00 projects across 43 states — representing approximately 70% of all installed commercial capacity.

    Put another way, there is enough installed commercial solar to power 1.6 million homes.

    Still, commercial trails behind the residential market, despite larger project sizes, and is even far behind the utility-scale market. As of 2016, NREL reported that non-residential solar (another term often used for this market) comprised 24% of the total installed capacity in the U.S.

    In March 2021, SEIA reported that the 2020 pandemic affected commercial more than residential solar installs, with the numbers coming in at 4% less than in 2019.

    Despite this relatively slow start, there are a number of indications that this market is poised to take off.

    Potential for Growth in Commercial Solar

    Given the scale of many of the buildings in this sector, you can imagine that as barriers are knocked down, the potential for installed commercial capacity is significant.

    In a 2016 report. NREL examined the potential size of the CI solar sector if certain challenges were overcome. They concluded that, at the U.S Department of Energy’s “SunShot 2020 targets,” the “techno-economic” potential for offices was 54 GW, for hotels 16 GW, and for warehouses 34 GW for a combined potential across these building types of 104 GW in the U.S.! 1

    For context, at the end of 2017, the DOE reported that the combined capacity of all installed solar PV and wind power in the country was 144 GW.

    Commercial Solar Benefits

    Commercial solar can offer many benefits — to building owners, commercial tenants, financiers, installers, and the environment.

    For building owners, benefits include increased operating income and cash flow and longer lease terms, as the SEIA/SolarKal white paper notes.

    For tenants, reduced operating costs through utility bill savings are an obvious, and very real, benefit.

    Of course, there are also benefits for solar contractors that successfully navigate this sector. Commercial solar projects are often a tough sell, but they can have a great impact on overall numbers for solar companies.

    The economies of scale at play in these larger projects can make them more lucrative, and that’s on top of the significantly larger total project price tags compared to residential projects.

    Be sure to check out the other articles in this series to learn more about the ins and outs of the CI space. Whether you’re already actively involved in commercial solar, interested in transitioning into this space, or just want to increase your understanding of the industry, our goal with this series is to provide helpful perspectives on how the commercial solar sector works.

    We’re excited for the potential of CI solar as another key pillar in the growth of solar energy more broadly and hope you are too!

    1 – For context, DOE’s Sunshot Initiative was established with the goal of driving down the cost of solar energy. Its solar cost targets for 2020 were: “0.10 per kilowatt hour for residential solar, 0.08 per kilowatt hour for commercial solar, and 0.06 per kilowatt hour for utility-scale solar.” Sunshot’s target for utility-scale was reached in 2017. A Q1 2018 analysis by NREL reported that commercial solar cost per kWh in the U.S. had fallen to 91% of the 2020 target, so the conditions upon which these estimates are based are not far from reality.

    Products. Commercial Industrial Solar Rooftop

    When it comes to businesses, investing in Commercial Solar Rooftop solutions guarantees return on investment by reducing your electricity bills. Mahindra Rooftop Solutions have helped multiple industrial and commercial customers get access to the best commercial solar panels. Our solar panels for factories and solar powered billboards get impeccable return on investments (ROI) amongst other solar solutions. Solar plants are now an essential source of energy in corporate offices and even warehouse roofs use solar power for their energy consumption.

    Here are a few projects

    Asian Paints Limited Capacity: 4700kW Location: Bhiwani, Haryana

    Hindustan Inox Limited Capacity: 1200kW Location: Raigad, Maharashtra

    Yamaha. Phase 3 Capacity: 1004.6kW Location: Chennai, Tamil Nadu

    Yamaha. Phase 4 Capacity: 1001kW Location: Chennai, Tamil Nadu

    We are pleased to be the owners of a solar rooftop installed by Mahindra Solarize. The installation crew worked steadily and finished on time and were very humble. Life is very easy after Solar.

    These Rooftops solutions are just so perfect by Mahindra Solarize. I must say, the process was very smooth and they’re right here on time for whenever I need them. Thank you Mahindra for Solarizing my home!

    Since the installation, my returns have seen an amazing leap. Innovation is surely everywhere, but not like Mahindra harnesses it. Thank you team!

    Savings Calculator

    Price Range

    EMI Per Month

    Cumulative Equivalent Trees Planted

    Here’s what our delighted customers have to say

    The solar project was completed and commissioned well on time. It is worth mentioning the high-quality standard maintained, observing all HSE norms and documents during the entire commissioning of the project. The project was executed under strict safety quality norms. The entire team exhibited good responsiveness to our requirements.

    Our teams said that they have never seen such a faultless grid synchronization.

    We congratulate the team for delivering our first solar project with highest quality standards and most importantly on time.


    Here’s what our delighted customers have to say

    “As part of Energy savings initiative, we decided to pursue clean energy option through Solar Rooftop installation by utilizing idle roof at our Kuppam, Facility.

    We are happy with quality of services and timely completion of our ~3 MWP Solar plant and would recommend Mahindra for Solarizing your premises”.

    Mr. Anurag Agarwal – Director RBA Textiles Pvt. Ltd.

    We are global specialist in electrical and digital building infrastructure. “Reduce our carbon footprint” is one of our main areas to improve lives and it is our CSR commitment as well. With this commitment, we decided to Solarize our Jalgaon factory, Maharashtra with one of the leading solar solution providers. Considering the brand, expertise, and client base, we decided to award Mahindra with 329 KWp Solar rooftop.

    We appreciate Mahindra team for the commitment quality of work and would recommend to any consumers for Solar rooftop solution.

    Mr. Prafulla B. Kandalkar DGM (Maint.) Novateur Electrical Digital Systems Pvt. Ltd. (Legrand Group)

    Kone has a mandate to “Go Green” globally before end of the year 2024 by all supply units. Kone India is the first to adopt Solar among Kone group.

    We selected Mahindra as our partner to Solarize for our rooftop solar.

    Despite tough times owing to Covid restrictions, Mahindra team executed the project to our satisfaction in terms of quality and safety. We are happy with the services offered by Mahindra and can recommend to companies who are looking for top quality Solar projects.

    R. AZHAKANNAN DGM – Facility ServicesKone Elevator India Pvt. Ltd.

    We wish to place on record our sincere appreciation for the excellent services rendered by Mahindra Solarize on the successful Design, Engineering, Supply, Installation, Testing and Commissioning of 500 Kwp Rooftop Solar Power System at our plant RR Parkon, Khopoli, Maharashtra.

    Mahindra Solarize is also maintaining the plant to our satisfaction. The response time and customer support has been outstanding.

    We wish the entire team all the very best for the future. Keep rising!

    Thanking you and with best regards,

    Mrs. Monal Kabra Team RR Parkon

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *