Is Commercial Solar A Good Investment For Australian Businesses?
Ever since the commercial solar technology idea was floated in the Australian market, many things haven't been clear. There have been debates, myths and misconceptions surrounding commercial solar installation. For example, they say it’s difficult to install the panels, they're more expensive in the long run and only businesses of a larger scale can benefit from them.
On the contrary, these panels are suitable for businesses of all sizes and are fairly easy to install. As long as a business relies on electricity, it would be eligible for solar installation. It will need an initial investment, but the benefits would be long term. This article will try to dig deeper and find out if a commercial solar system is a good investment for Australian businesses or not.
Benefits of commercial solar installation
Before looking into whether your business should go the solar way, check out the benefits that installing commercial solar panels can bring:
- You’ll experience reduced energy costs. Energy costs in Australia have gone relatively high in the past 10 years. Having a solar system in place can help you bring down your energy costs significantly. (1)
- Your customers will regard your business as eco-friendly, building your public relations and significantly improving your brand's public image.
- You might be eligible for government or state incentives and rebates for choosing to use solar power. (2)
- It's an investment towards the future as energy costs will keep increasing, making installing commercial solar systems a smart choice.
- Installing solar panels in your commercial premises would increase your business’s value. It's an investment you're making on top of an existing asset.
How to know if your business will benefit from solar installation
To find out if your business will benefit from a commercial solar installation the first place you need to look is your energy bills.If your business spends a significant amount on energy costs, it’s a sign you may need to consider solar power.
Other indications your Australian business can benefit from a commercial solar installation are as follows:
- You require a high energy load to operate your business.
- You’re looking at ways to reduce the use of electricity.
- Installing solar panels will be a beneficial tagline in your marketing strategy and campaigns to impress your customers.
- You're looking to reduce business expenditure, inflated power bills included, and use the finances in other business functions or maximise profits.
- You're operating a business in states where high energy bills are common. Surveys show that South Australia and New South Wales top the states with the highest energy costs. Victoria and Queensland, on the other hand, are shown to have lower energy costs. (3)
- You're looking to expand your business in the future. Expanding a business means higher utility and electric costs. You can cushion your business from incurring high electric costs when you eventually expand.
If you’re operating a small and medium-sized enterprise (SME), you may assess if commercial solar installation has a place in your organization. Your answers can be based on the items listed above. Also, though commercial solar installation would require a substantial initial investment, it would lead to significant cost savings at the end of the day.
You need an upfront investment, something start-ups or many SMEs may find to be a big undertaking. But regardless of your business size, you can greatly benefit from commercial solar installation.
Commercial Solar Systems Sizes
There are three main commercial solar sizes, and they’re as follows.
- Systems under 30 kW
These are the smallest solar systems and are grouped with standard residential systems. They're easy to install, which any residential installer can do. They're a perfect choice for small businesses and can save you significant energy costs if your business has high daytime usage.
These panels generate about 120 kilowatts (kW) hours daily and require the installation of a Grid Protection Unit. Systems in this bracket also qualify for the small-scale technology (STC) certificate. (4)
- Systems between 30 kW and 100 kW
These systems are considered mid-size, which can be installed in medium-sized office blocks, retail shops or clubs. At this level, you need a commercial solar installer to undertake the project. It’s because at this level, you'll be generating quite a large amount of energy. You'll also need approval from your area's electricity provider. There are STC benefits as well in this bracket.
- Systems Over 100 kW
If you have a larger office, factory or hotel kind of business, systems in this bracket will suit your business best. If you require a commercial solar system this size, it means you consume a fair amount of energy. This category isn't eligible for the SCT certificate, which is meant for small businesses only. Instead, you get the large-scale generation certificate.
What is the cost of commercial solar systems?
Several factors determine the cost of installing a commercial solar system. These include the retailer, size of the system, solar technology involved, warranties and location. The factors below will contribute significantly to the cost of installation:
- Type of installation, for example, roof mounts, ground mounts and carports – the roof mount is the most common and easiest to install; the others might require additional costs for erecting a surface for the panels
- Energy consumption – the more energy you consume the more solar panels you will require.
- Available government incentives and discounts
- The size and type of inverter you need (2)
This article has hopefully clarified some of the questions and misconceptions you had about commercial solar installation. If your business suffers from high energy costs or is looking for a way to cut down expenditure and improve your profits, commercial solar can be quite a beneficial investment. However, you need to research and understand the installation process and the costs involved to determine if it's suitable for your business. Also, ensure you deal with reputable vendors or installers only so you can reap the full benefits of the system.
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