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Utility Rates are Rising: How Can Commercial Solar Help Your Business Reduce Operating Costs?

Written by Jack Garraty | Published on July 6th, 2020

Commercial Solar & Utility Costs Overview:

  • Fuels and utilities experienced an average inflation rate of 3.57% per year. This rate of change indicates significant inflation.
  • Utility companies in Maryland, Virginia, and Washington D.C. are planning substantial rate hikes within the next 10-20+ years.
  • Business owners are investing in commercial solar PV systems for energy predictability, diminished operating costs, and price point consistency.
  • The price of solar continues to decline at a substantial rate, making solar investments more feasible.
  • Investing in commercial solar means turning unpredictable utility expenses into stable, revenue-generating assets.

Businesses in Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C. face countless operating costs to maintain consistency and stability. Due to sporadic utility price rates, electricity can be one of the most uncertain costs to run a business. Baltimore Gas and Electric is planning a rate hike after 2022, while PEPCO’s recent grid upgrades could mean rate hikes for customers in Maryland and Washington, D.C. As utility rates are forecasted to increase in the long-term, businesses are looking at ways to lower utility costs, and are starting to focus on their own energy-efficiency initiatives. One of the most common ways business owners achieve energy independence is through the installation of commercial solar PV systems.

Source: SRECTrade

Commercial Utility Rates Continue to Rise

In Maryland, energy utility rates continue to rise at a steady rate. In a Baltimore Sun article concerning local energy monopolies, independent research has shown that energy bills are “soaring by as much as 50 percent to 75 percent” in some areas in Maryland.¹ Another article points to Baltimore Gas and Electricity’s push in 2019 to increase rates, “from 6.558 cents/kWh to 7.146 cents/kWh. This would add roughly $6 to the average Maryland resident’s supply charge each month.” ²

In Virginia, there are plans to continuously increase utility prices in an effort to reduce carbon emissions. These proposals will directly increase commercial utility costs, and Virginia business owners have already seen substantial bill changes. “Dominion Energy, which holds a monopoly over power generation and distribution in Virginia, offered state regulators a clean energy proposal with a stunning price tag: nearly $50 per month added to each customer’s power bill.” ³ These added costs are projected to rise for the next , given the current proposals presented by Dominion. Last Wednesday, Dominion’s 2020 Integrated Resource Plan (IRP), went into effect and will substantially change Virginia’s energy markets at least until 2050.

Lower Utility Costs with Commercial Solar

So how can business owners in Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C. lower utility costs using an efficient, stable, financial timeline? Energy experts have been advocating for a shift in business standards by proposing the installations of commercial solar photovoltaic systems to offset exponentially growing utility costs. Although it is understood that implementing a solar system can require some upfront capital financing, investing in solar for your commercial property is essentially turning an expense into an asset.

As the price of solar technology continues to decrease at a steady rate, business owners are becoming more interested in the predictability, diminished operating costs, and price point consistency that commercial solar can provide. Rather than letting energy companies set the standards for utility prices, a commercial solar PV system provides the customer with unique financial independence that will continue to provide passive income. Instead of viewing the costs of installing and maintaining a commercial solar system as operating losses, it should be seen as an unencumbered energy investment that is not subject to market change. 

The Future of Energy and Commercial Solar PV Systems

COVID-19 has categorically proven that markets are subject to extreme volatility. In an article published by Utility Dive, experts cite that “Electricity prices are falling due to low seasonal demand, reduced demand from quarantines, and from falling input energy prices. Oil, LNG, coal and domestic natural gas demand have all collapsed, with subsequent declines in prices for each commodity, LNG prices are notable for reaching record lows below $3/mmbtu.”³ 

While these trends do contradict prior projection models, these market factors will likely affect renewable energy regulation and demand. In the same article, it is stated, “According to IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol, the demand drop ‘fast-forwarded some power systems 10 years into the future’ in regards to integrating high percentages of renewable energy. As evidence of this, curtailment, a key form of renewable flexibility, has increased.”⁴

If your business or commercial enterprise is interested in seeking a more stable, cost-effective pipeline for energy, our solar experts are here to help. Capital Solar Group will provide you with a transparent consultation on the advantages of implementing a commercial solar system in your proposed project location and the lasting benefits that solar energy can offer to your business. 

Sources:

¹ Dance, Scott. “More Utility Competition Was Supposed to Drive down Prices, but Many Marylanders Are Paying More for Energy.” baltimoresun.com, December 7, 2018. https://www.baltimoresun.com/business/bs-md-energy-deregulation-20181205-story.html

² Weber, Aaron. “BGE Electricity Supply Rates Will Increase 8.3% Starting October 1st.” ElectricityRates.com, August 30, 2019. https://electricityrates.com/bge-electricity-rate-increase/

³ Snitchler, Tom. “Dominion’s nearly $50 monthly power bill hike in Virginia is a warning for other states” Utility Dive, May 11, 2020. https://www.utilitydive.com/news/dominions-nearly-50-monthly-power-bill-hike-in-virginia-is-a-warning-for/577666/

Gilbert, Alex, and Morgan Bazilian. “The Effects of Coronavirus Measures on Electricity Markets.” Utility Dive, April 20, 2020. https://www.utilitydive.com/news/the-effects-of-coronavirus-measures-on-electricity-markets/576296/