Georgia Strip Mall Goes Solar: A Case Study
3 Strip-Mall Solar Energy Strategies to Securing Loyal Tenants and Higher Profits
(Scroll down to see his numbers!)
See Eye Care’s Power Bills, Before and After Solar
This secret had to get out eventually.
There’s a huge untapped appetite for solar energy, all across the United States. And it’s coming from a place that’s struggling in the fight against the rabble of online businesses trying to cut in on their customers. What place is that?
You know them as strip malls.
They’re in every city, many small towns, and sometimes right beside the freeway. Some of them are struggling. But they have an unexpected and untapped asset that could tip the scales back in their direction. What this asset?
Long roofs with lots of unused space, and a series of small tenants – who are getting tired of paying higher and higher energy bills, in addition to the ever-increasing rent.
But what if strip-mall landlords could offer their tenants lower energy bills? Lower as in, almost non-existent.
That’s the epiphany Dr. Pittman, owner of Professional Eye Care center near Savannah, GA, had in late 2016. Dr. Pittman also owns the strip mall his practice is located in. He wants his tenants to succeed in their businesses too.
The Story: Professional Eye Care
Dr. Pittman’s story begins with the typical confusion we see all the time from utility companies. Why was he getting charged 17 cents per kWh, when a food shop in the exact same building was paying only 11 cents? He’s paying 30% more for the same power. How does that make any sense?
Fed up with that nonsense, Dr. Pittman decided to go solar.
But when he started looking into putting solar panels on his section of the roof, he realized something – why not put them on the rest of the roof too, hook them into my tenants’ power meters, and save all my tenants thousands of dollars a year on energy bills?
It seems Dr. Pittman has vision skills that go beyond what he learned in med school.
Dr. Pittman tapped in to three strategies that could actually be replicated by almost any strip-mall landlord with a similar vision for change and a desire for financial breakthrough. And, of course, he reached out to us because of our expertise with solar power for businesses.
Three Solar Energy Advantages for Strip-Mall Owners
1. Daytime Hours of Operation
Most strip-malls are daytime businesses. That means they use the majority of their electricity while the sun is shining. So at the same time solar energy’s currency (sunlight) is at a premium, strip-mall businesses need it the most.
In Professional Eye Care’s case, they’re open from nine to five. Perfect hours for solar energy production and use.
2. Offset 80% or More of Your Energy Costs
Most solar installations tend to shoot for 60-80% power bill offsets. There are a few reasons for this. But if your utility offers net-metering, you can go for 100%. And if you go over, you just sell back the excess to the grid.
Dr. Pittman decided reach for the limit, and installed an 18kW energy system, even though he only “needed” a 13kW one according to conventional approaches. What’s the result? See below for his new numbers.
Incentive to Renters
Imagine owning a strip-mall and meeting with a potential new tenant. The tenant asks:
“How much is a typical monthly power bill?”
And you respond:
“About ten bucks. Maybe twenty in the winter.”
After bellowing out a monstrous laugh at your “joke,” the tenant re-composes himself:
“Okay seriously, how much?”
But you just stare at him, smiling. Yes, it really is that cheap.
“Sometimes,” you finally say, “It’s even zero.”
Can you imagine having that conversation? How many small businesses would want to rent in your building? What kind of loyalty would you have?
The worst part about renting is having empty units. Offering your tenants a near-zero power bill is pretty smart business. And solar energy makes it possible.
In March of 2017, his first full month of solar power, Dr. Pittman’s power bill was $120.21. In March of 2016, it was $442.80. He saved even more in April.