Add cash flow to your industrial building’s roof

By Brian Leavitt

The roof area of larger warehouses, distribution centers, and industrial facilities has limited value beyond the physical protection of the contents. The traditional costs and revenues associated with industrial space are already set by market forces.

Creative strategies can leverage more cashflow from the same square footage and provide a business advantage.

Roof-mounted solar photovoltaic systems offer the best opportunity to use a spacious, low slope, and uninterrupted expanse of warehouse or industrial roof to generate passive cashflow, investment opportunities from renewable energy systems, and environmental solutions.

Adding a solar photovoltaic system can reduce or eliminate utility use, demand rate costs, and are eligible for public support incentives. Depending on the situation, they can also be installed with little or no initial capital costs for the property owner and may generate lease revenue.

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory also has online tools to help with initial feasibility. IMEG also hosts a rapid analysis tool to assess rooftop potential and payback.  For example, by aligning competitive bidding and incentive structures, 100,000 sf of rooftop solar PV can generate over $200,000 income each year with a 10%-plus ROI.

Once you have determined if the project is feasible, a professional engineering consultant can perform a complete non-biased site-specific feasibility study, evaluate other incentives, and design the system.

A consulting engineer can offer information and advice on:

  • Utility energy rates, demand charges, and fees
  • Implications to incoming electricity service
  • Federal, state, and local incentives
  • Building envelopes and shading by solar panels to reduce facility cooling loads
  • Structural analysis
  • Maximize system performance, panel orientation, shading evaluation, FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) glare evaluation near airports and heliports
  • Life cycle analysis
  • Energy storage evaluation
  • Project bidding and bid evaluation
  • Code compliant, best practice guidelines, project specific solutions
  • Construction oversight of contractor installation, system setup, commissioning
  • Align project design with owner goals

Having a professional engineer on your team can empower decision-making and positively affect the interests of the entire project, so you can focus on leveraging cashflow.

For more information, read the IMEG executive guide, “Rooftop ROI: A guide to how solar panels can add cash flow to industrial square footage.”