How to Effectively Incorporate a Commercial Solar Program into ESG Reporting

by | Oct 30, 2023

Environmental impacts are a hot issue in the commercial property ownership community. From energy efficiency to water use, corporate brands everywhere are beginning to monitor their sustainability at a large scale. The key drivers for these initiatives are both the pending SEC carbon accounting guidelines and the notion that sustainable practices lead to efficiency, which in turn leads to cost savings and higher profits.

Many REITs and large commercial property owners use ESG (or Environmental, Social, and Governance), reporting as a way to evaluate the sustainability, efficiency, and ethical impacts of their investments. It’s an important part of operating a venture responsibly and achieving goals offers countless financial and global benefits. Furthermore, many property ownership structures are now required to report on the sustainability footprint of their properties, making effective data tracking and reporting a necessity.

One of the most direct ways to improve the sustainability and efficiency of a commercial property is to add solar. With the right tools and data tracking software, the benefits of solar can be seamlessly incorporated into broader ESG reporting needs. 


What are the benefits of a solar program?

Solar programs have dramatic impacts on sustainability initiatives in commercial buildings, so they should be a big part of your ESG strategy. Bringing solar to buildings in your commercial portfolio can:

1. Reduce costs

Sunlight is both abundant and free and can be harnessed to generate a tremendous amount of energy.  On the flip side, energy prices from the grid continue to skyrocket so adding solar will inevitably lead to greater resiliency and cost reduction.

2. Reduce carbon emissions

Unlike power from the grid, solar generates energy without greenhouse gas emissions. Solar use measurably reduces your carbon footprint and offsets any grid electricity used, which is essential for combating global warming, working towards becoming carbon neutral, and achieving ESG goals.

3. Foster energy independence

A solar system also improves your portfolio’s energy mix and creates stable sources of renewable electricity for tenants. It’ll reduce strain on the energy grid and avoid potential contingencies with the utility.

Plus, with grid energy prices fluctuating–especially in California–solar energy insulates your  commercial properties from any unexpected market shifts. While the price of utility energy may go up or down, your solar power will always remain stable.

4. Comply with regulations and standards

Solar’s wide-reaching effects also allow your real estate trust or commercial portfolio to meet other local regulations outside of ESG reporting or qualify for green building certifications. Depending on your region, you may be required to meet certain sustainability standards and energy efficiency regulations set by legislation.

5. Improve marketability

Whether you’re reporting to shareholders or potential triple-a tenants, a solar system is a tangible way to demonstrate your commitment to sustainability. And, with reporting capabilities, your locally-generated renewable energy could also help them meet their own ESG goals.


How do King Energy solar programs work?

We handle all installation and long-term maintenance costs for the system, paying rent to property owners for their roof space.

King Energy empowers owners and portfolio managers to bring solar energy to their commercial properties, typically at no cost to the property owner. We handle all installation and long-term maintenance costs for the system, paying rent to property owners for their roof space.

We make the solar process simple. Once your site is approved, our project managers handle the design, permitting, and installation of the solar system on your roof. After it’s live, we distribute discounted solar amongst your tenants and bill accordingly using our proprietary OneBill software. We also handle all maintenance and repairs for the life of the system.

It sounds easy because it is easy. Property owners get increased rent roll and sustainable energy at no cost, and their tenants get lower energy bills without hassle. 


How does King Energy integrate into broader sustainability reporting? 

While some ESG initiatives can be difficult to track, a solar system led by a reliable vendor offers robust data reporting and tracking mechanisms. 

Our white-glove treatment starts with a quarterly call and performance report led by your dedicated account manager. This live session provides a personalized deep-dive into your commercial solar system’s performance and a Q/A session tailored to meet your REIT’s ESG needs.

Outside of a quarterly report, King Energy’s software can also provide automated data that feeds directly into your sustainability reporting systems like Energy Star or Measurabl. It’s a seamless way to tie your external solar provider into your broader reporting initiatives.

With King Energy reporting on sustainability, you’ll get:

Reporting on kWh produced and energy allocation

King Energy ESG Reporting will allow you to see exactly how many kWh are being produced by the system and a detailed breakdown of the percentage used by each of your renters.

While content can vary depending on the partner, each session begins with a review of the system’s renewable energy generation and how it was distributed amongst your tenants. You’ll see exactly how many kWh are being produced by the system and a detailed breakdown of the percentage used by each of your renters. 

You can incorporate this data into your quarterly ESG reports for shareholders as direct proof of your reduction of greenhouse gasses. It’s a tangible, accurate number that you can easily drop directly into your reporting spreadsheets, or use an API to pull the data into the sustainability reporting system of your choice.

More importantly, the detailed breakdown of tenant use uniquely provides an opportunity to report on your commercial building’s scope 3 emissions. Without detailed metrics on tenant use, it’s difficult to determine who’s responsible for the indirect emissions outside of your portfolio’s control. 

Examples of ESG and sustainability progress

Your account manager will also provide tangible examples of your sustainability impact on your solar ESG reporting call. While many clients prefer the hard numbers, others appreciate seeing the material impact of their solar system and can use that info to publicize ESG internally or externally.

As a group, these examples center on the reduced greenhouse gasses from your commercial building because of solar. Frequently, we usually report on pounds of coal not consumed and potential tree seedlings planted, but can adjust for any metric needed.

Sum of savings to date

During the quarterly ESG reporting call, your rep will also cover how much your building has saved through the use of renewable energy, as well as how much each individual tenant has saved. Because of our OneBill software, King Energy is uniquely positioned to offer this segmented information from the multimeter.

While it may not directly impact your ESG goals, this breakdown offers valuable insight into prospective savings for incoming tenants and the economic impact of your sustainability initiatives. 

Environmental impact statistics

Your account manager will also share a side-by-side comparison of your commercial building’s cumulative solar vs grid usage. It’s an easy-to-digest breakdown that demonstrates exactly how important your solar system has been to reducing the building’s carbon footprint.

This improves your REIT’s ability to benchmark and compare your broader metrics to your peers, as well as meet any evolving regulatory requirements.

Custom, brand-specific metrics

If there are any organization-specific metrics that your REIT tracks, King Energy can provide data to support them. Because of our software-driven approach, it’s simple to unlock the ESG value of solar for your commercial site.

Your dedicated account manager will work closely with your sustainability contact to offer data that best meets your reporting needs. If your team requires specific metrics, talk with your contact during your onboarding call.


ESG reporting, simplified with King Energy

While ESG reporting may feel like a daunting task, working with a data-driven solar provider like King Energy makes metrics easy for your REIT or commercial portfolio. We’ll handle the details of implementation, management, and reporting, so your team can focus on the other letters in ESG.