Solar Power for Commercial Real Estate Buildings

Solar power has long been considered a potential solution to rising energy costs, but commercial buildings often have limited space available to place the large cells needed to capture sufficient amounts of sunlight. All of that may change as scientists from the University of California Los Angeles announced they have developed a see-through solar film that could eventually be used on windows, according to Fox News.

“We anticipate this device will offer new directions for solar cells, including the creation of solar windows on homes and office buildings,” Head Researcher Yang Yang told the source.

The material is able to absorb 80 percent of infrared light and convert it into usable power, the source explained. It may eventually be used on everything from cars to smartphones. This breakthrough could reduce dependence on fossil fuels and lower demand on electric grids.

The ability to produce electricity onsite could significantly lower utility costs in commercial buildings. This is one of the main reasons why property managers continue to investigate the use of renewable energy. The number of computers, printers, data centers and mobile devices needed to conduct daily activity within office buildings continues to grow, stretching utility networks to capacity. Building managers may be able to create value for their tenants by using solar power and other alternative solutions. While traditionally this technology has been expensive, advances in the developmental process have significantly reduced costs for solar cell producers.

So, why consider solar now? offered six reasons:

  • Prices have dropped enough to be financially advantageous.
  • Your business can lock in lower electricity costs.
  • Your business can then have more predictable electricity costs.
  • You might not need any upfront capital.
  • Many utilities need to hit RPS (renewable portfolio standard) goals and, in some cases, lower “peak time” generation costs.
  • Doing so can help your company achieve sustainability goals.

To determine if going solar is right for your CRE portfolio, property owners and managers need to conduct complete cost assessments. Property management software can help with this process by tracking all expenses and automatically sorting, cataloging and analyzing information. Building managers may be able to predict how much energy-saving technology and renewable energy sources can save them each year. This information makes it easier to make the right decision on spending.