How It Works

Every commercial system and installation is unique. The size of your commercial system will depend on the available roof, canopy, land space, or even water bodies for floating solar panels, as well as your electricity needs and financial objectives. Due to the variations in designing and installing systems, a range of components may be required. For instance, the equipment used for a pitched roof differs from that used for a ballasted installation on a flat roof. Carport and ground installations require additional structures and cabling to connect to the meter.

The components required for a commercial solar system include the panels, an inverter power station, individual systems for cable management, mechanical mounting, and energy monitoring. The cost of the system will depend on the selection of the manufacturer, type, and quality of all components. Wolf River Electric will keep your goals in mind and consult with you to recommend the best combinations.

We will help you identify the optimal location for your panels—whether on your roof, over your parking lots, on vacant land, or even as floating solar installations on water bodies.

A close-up of solar panels installed on a roof with the label "Roof Mount" overlaid at the bottom of the image.
A solar canopy structure in a parking lot with integrated solar panels and the label "Solar Canopy" overlaid at the bottom of the image.
A ground-mounted solar panel array with a water tower and trees in the background, labeled "Ground Mount" at the bottom of the image.
A floating solar panel array on a body of water, surrounded by greenery, labeled "Floating" at the bottom of the image.
Explanation of Net Energy Metering/Demand Charges
If a business does not have solar, it buys every single kilowatt hour of electricity from the utility company. The utility company charges its commercial customers in three buckets.
  • Bucket 1: A fixed monthly fee, the amount of which depends on the rate tariff you are on. This fee remains even after you go solar.
  • Bucket 2: Time of use charges. Commercial customers are charged based on the time of year and time of day that a given kWh is consumed. Rates are higher in summer vs. winter and higher in the afternoons and evenings than in the middle of the night.
  • Bucket 3: Demand charges. The utility actually tracks usage in 15-minute increments, and the demand charge is based on the highest peak in a given month or quarter. The demand charge is often half of a commercial customer’s bill and sometimes even more!
Diagram of a net metering system for solar power with an inverter and power grid.

When a business adds solar, it enters into a “Net Energy Meter” agreement with the utility company. This agreement states that the utility will credit the customer at the same rate it would charge the customer for a given kWh. For the sake of explanation, let’s assume that a business is open 5 days a week, Monday through Friday. On Saturday and Sunday, very little electricity is being used, but the solar system is creating power; that power is going back out into the grid, and the customer is being credited for the power it created. On Monday morning, staff show up to work and turn everything on. The credit that was created over the weekend is used up before new electricity charges are billed. This give and take between kWh used and created is constant, hour by hour, day by day, and month by month.