Going solar — As technology advances, so do benefits of alternative energy


A solar energy system has a range of benefits that outweigh its one big drawback — the sun doesn’t shine 24 hours a day, says Matt Owens, president of Ameridian Commercial, a Cincinnati commercial roofing, maintenance and solar company.

“Current commercial roofs depreciate on a 39-year schedule, so you rarely see a financial payback. But a company can save money — and potentially earn money — by going green, too,” he says.

Financial solution

Solar has been called more than just an energy solution; it’s a financial solution that’s becoming more viable and cost-efficient. In fact, with current market conditions and various incentives available, the payback period can be a quick as 60 months.

Overall costs of solar panels, installation and upkeep have diminished considerably over the years, while quality, variety and versatility have improved. Additionally, the energy output of a solar system can be predicted with reasonable accuracy, so the expected monthly “income” can be identified and built into a company’s financial operating plans.

“The price of electricity can fluctuate significantly due to demand and market conditions,” Owens says. “This can create a huge problem for businesses that operate on tight profit margins and encounter unpredictable swings in operating costs. By utilizing a solar energy system, companies can take more control of electricity expenses.”

In Ohio alone, there are more than 75 loan, rebate and tax programs to encourage energy efficient practices. Funding and other credits are one of the driving forces pushing companies to take part in this growing industry. In some industries, there are performance requirements placed on suppliers by larger manufacturers in order to maintain business relationships. Renewable energy sources can be one way to meet those expectations.

“Aside from environmental implications, solar is a sound, long-term investment that can allow a company to fix and accurately predict a portion of their future operating costs,” Owens says. “No one knows what the price of electricity will be five or 10 years from now, but with solar energy, you can limit costs and minimize exposure to future market changes.”

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Hubert Starts Solar Project

The Hubert Co., a Harrison-based distribution company, is undertaking the largest roof-top solar project in the Greater Cincinnati area and one of the biggest in Ohio.

Earlier this month the company, which distributes non-food items to food service companies and retailers across North America, signed a $3 million-plus contract with Sharonville-based Ameridian Specialty Services Inc. to install 3,840 solar panels on the roof of its half-million square-foot distribution center on Dry Fork Road as part of a roof replacement project.

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