Quick Guide to Solar Power for Multifamily and Mixed-Use Properties

Rooftop picture of solar system at Revisn in downtown Raleigh

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Basics of Solar for Multifamily, Mixed-Use, and Commercial Properties

With new energy efficiency and solar headlines making the news each day, you might be wondering what it is all about and whether you should look into going solar for your multifamily or mixed-use project. We’re here to simplify that process for you with a few of the benefits of adding solar to your next  project and the returns you might expect to see.

Here’s how you can get started with solar on your multifamily or commercial property, from the solar guru himself, Mickey.

Common Questions

How does solar work on a multifamily property?​

If you have a multifamily property, most of the time we look to offset the energy use of the shared space of your building with solar – this would be a clubhouse or lobby, hallways, pool, elevators – anything that affects your bill as the property manager. 

We evaluate your building plans and create a solar model to see how much energy use we can affect the available roof space, your budget constraints, and any other limitations. This will determine your solar savings and what your ROI will be.

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The Benefits of Solar for Multifamily and Mixed-Use Property Owners

As building performance and solar power experts, we can vouch for the many benefits that solar power can have on your multifamily project. We work with a lot of multifamily project owners, ranging from assisted living to market-rate multifamily or mixed-use office spaces. Right now, we’re seeing a lot of interest in adding solar to multifamily projects because of the different incentives and grants available for rooftop solar.

With solar and high-performance building measures, you’ll be able to lower the monthly utility costs in your common areas. Another significant advantage of being more sustainable is added marketability, giving your project a shiny benefit in hot markets.

Learn more from our building performance specialist, Grant!

Points Toward Efficiency Programs & Building Certifications

If you’re building a new construction project, our multifamily & commercial sustainability team can help you save even more by looking at a nationally-recognized green building certification. We work all across the United States, helping projects achieve their efficiency and wellness certifications.

Solar can help you gain more points toward a building program which could be the difference between achieving the next level of certification or not. Each building certification program looks at solar a little differently, so we’re here to guide you through these programs to find the most benefit for you and your project goals. 

Common Questions

What are the benefits of solar + high-performance building for renters?

Living in a high-performance building helps renters save more on monthly electricity bills by changing the way energy is used on a daily basis. More efficient buildings help renters avoid extra heating and cooling costs, and if paired with solar, those savings increase even more when electricity is factored into rent. 

Occupants also benefit from a more comfortable living space thanks to high-performance features that focus on indoor air quality and healthy living spaces. 

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Financing a Multifamily Solar Project

Common Questions

How much does solar cost for a multifamily project?

Similar to home solar, the cost of a multifamily solar project can vary depending on many factors like available roof space, the utility’s policies around solar, your budget, energy goals, and more. 

In 2021, our multifamily and commercial solar system install sizes ranged from 1.8 kW (a fun solar tree installation) all the way to 1.6 MW. Our average size system was 55 kW, at approx. $110,000 before incentives.

Rebates & Incentive Programs

When we talk about maximizing your savings, we can look at grants, tax incentives and utility rebates, and we can even help you with financing. We want to make sure that you’re getting the most value for your money. 

We know that multifamily projects can be complicated. That’s why we’re here, to make sure that we’re meeting the deadlines necessary to take advantage of incentives and also make sure the material costs stay down.

How to Finance Multifamily Solar Projects

If you’ve got bigger questions about the financials, we also include a free hour of consulting with our tax and CPA firm who’s at an arms length. They’ll give you guidance on your own tax situation, saving your CPAs a ton of billable hours trying to figure out the federal renewable energy incentives and all the bonus depreciation incentives that come with the new tax plan.

Aerial view of rooftop solar on Revisn in Downtown Raleigh, NC
Aerial view of rooftop solar on Revisn in Downtown Raleigh, NC

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Is solar right for your project?

No matter where your project is, we can help you determine if solar is a good fit for your goals. We’re here to help find a solar solution that meets your project goals — whether that’s offsetting utility costs in common areas, differentiating your project in a hot market, reducing your carbon footprint, or anything in between.

Whether it’s through a remote feasibility study or a complete start to finish install with our in-house solar team based in North Carolina, we’ve got you covered. For HOAs, we can also model your shared spaces — lobby, clubhouse, fitness center, or any other amenity and lighting space — to see how solar can be used to keep HOA expenses down!

Common Questions

How much solar power do you need for a multifamily project?

When we first start talking to project teams interested in solar, there are a few things we want to look at:

  • What is your roof look like? 
  • How many meters do you have? 
  • What are your energy goals?
  • What is your building’s usage history?

For multifamily and mixed-used buildings, we typically see a 30-90% electricity offset.

WHAT'S NEXT?

Let’s Get Started!

We’d love to hear your questions about adding solar to your next multifamily, mixed-use, or commercial project. Each solar project is a little different based on the building and ownership structure, but we’re confident our team can find the right solar solution for you. Schedule a meeting with Mike, our solar educator, to get started!

Green Building Starter Guide

This quick start PDF guide covers everything you need to know to get started with green building on your next multifamily project!
PDF Guide

Ready to Get Started?

Schedule a meeting with our green building specialists to review your project goals and challenges.

Request a Free Solar Assessment