Grid tied solar electric systems are a great way for businesses to showcase their commitment to sustainability, all the while saving money on their utility bills. The most common solution for on grid solar is to take advantage of the local utility’s Net Metering Program.

Net Metering

These types of systems make use of the utility’s Net Metering program to offset electrical consumption with an alternative power source; most commonly solar.

Net Metering systems allow solar energy production to be fed directly into the building’s electrical distribution. That energy production will first help to offset electrical loads. If solar is not providing all of the energy, the grid will supply rest. If solar is providing an excess amount of energy, it will be sent to the grid and the smart meter will keep track of it.

It allows a Net Metering customer to use the utility like a big battery over the course of the year.

Net Metering programs for BC Utilities:

  • BC Hydro Net Metering Program
  • FortisBC Net Metering Program
  • City of Penticton Net Metering Program
Net Metering graphic

By using solar to your advantage, you can essentially lock in a portion of your electricity rates for the next 25 years. This will not only help with cash flow, it will also provide your business with a unique marketing opportunity. Because solar is highly visible and recognizable, it can be used as an effective Corporate showcase of social and environmental responsibility, both of which are becoming increasingly important for both corporations and their potential customers.

Mounting Options

As most commercial buildings tend to be flat roofs, mounting solar directly to the structure can be difficult. Penetrations in the roof membrane need to be done properly to maintain water tightness and the warranty on the roof. In many cases, adding roof penetrations to a flat roof is ill advised. For those reasons, Terratek Energy tends to incorporate ballasted racking systems into their commercial solar installations. Ballasted systems use the combined weight of the entire solar array plus some additional ballast to keep the array on the roof.

Any business with a flat roofed building will require a structural review to ensure that the existing structure will accommodate the additional solar loading, while continuing to accommodate the design snow and rain loads.