Condo Owner

Spring 2017

Condo Owner publishes information vital to the business and pleasure of resort condominium ownership. Topics covered relate to real estate market trends, community association matters, rental management issues, tax and insurance updates and more.

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condo owner • S P R I N G 2 0 1 7 20 special feature not, you're still going to pay that electric bill for that common space." "Solar panels are a good way to reduce those fees," Herrick said. "What you're doing with photovoltaic cells just broadly, you have an asset that generates a commodity with a dollar value – electricity. You can use that electricity instead of buying it. Net metering laws in the state of Flori- da require the utility to buy that power back at retail rate. This is an investment that has a return that is increasing as the rates for electricity go up." Long-term savings "Solar is an attractive way to save money over time," O'Sullivan said. "Instead of just paying all the money out to the power company, you'll be able to pay for your system through the offset savings on that electric bill. Then once the the 30-year life system has paid for itself, typically in about six years or so, the association will benefit from that power for 20-plus years after the sys- tem has paid for itself." Investment Tax Credits & MACRS "It takes a capital expense, but there are federal tax credits available--up to 30 percent in some cases--on all the expenses involved," Herrick pointed out. According to Herrick, for a commercial prop- erty, it's very conceivable that a property could also qualify for Modified Accelerated Cost Re- covery System (MACRS), which is a five-year amortization or depreciation of the equipment value, thus amortizing the cost of the equipment sooner rather than later. The tax break and the MACRS are tangible benefits that a condo asso- ciation can secure for greater savings. Reducing your carbon footprint "Solar energy use also, of course, reduces the carbon footprint of any facility, so condo owners and association members can feel good about doing something that minimizes the increase in global warming," O'Sullivan said. Canopies offer a dual solution "When it comes to a high-rise facility with little rooftop space, the natural solution would be to put solar in the parking lot and cover it with canopied areas," O'Sullivan explained. "You can create the solar arrays and have dual-purpose in what is only being used for a parking lot. When you put the canopy over it, all of a sudden you've got prime parking that isn't being subjected to the direct heat of the sun all day. You don't lose the use of the parking lot, but by using the canopy you provide the dual-solution of getting enough solar to run the building and create a better parking situation." Maintenance, simplicity and insurability "There are no moving parts and the mainte- nance…if you're at a beachside location you probably need a soap-and-water cleanup once every two years," O'Sullivan said. "Anytime you have a good rain, it's washing any debris off that may have landed on them. And if one of these panels were to take a hit and be taken out of action, the optimized string inverter from SolarEdge that we prefer will work around any bad panel. And then you can replace it." As for insuring solar canopies, Matt Janicki, executive vice president of AmWINS Bro- kerage of Florida, Inc. said that each request would be considered on a case-by-case basis. "Since the solar panels aren't permanently attached to the building, they should be sched- uled separately on the Statement of Values," Janicki said. n "We have seen a dramatic increase in interest in so- lar over the last five years. People are moving here from out of the area from states like California, Colorado, Arizona, New Jersey – states where solar is a lot more prevalent. The exciting thing is these larger scale projects – commercial entities, com- munity solar, and the military is undergoing this big solar expansion right now." —Doug Herrick, Owner & Co-founder of SunFarm Energy

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