Yes – solar power systems can be one of the best investments you ever make, helping you slash overheads and adding value to your commercial property.
Investing in solar energy makes sense if you buy good quality equipment that’s designed to last. We’d encourage you to consider more than just the upfront cost. You also want to look at how much energy your system will produce and therefore how much money it will save you. This is where TheEnergyExperts.com.au can guide you in choosing the right solar power system for your business.
Solar Panel Benefits for Your Business
Reduced operating costs
Quick Return on Investment (ROI) – between 2.2 – 4 years
Maintenance free and reliable
Investing in renewables is a great marketing tool which generates a positive response from customers
Adds value to your commercial property
How Long Does It Take for Solar Panels to Pay Themselves Back?
For good quality mid–range panels/inverter, you’ll find that the Return On Investment (ROI) is as little as 3 years. For high-end equipment, the ROI is closer to 4.5 years. High-end systems will save you more money over the longer term due to their higher performance and slower rate of degradation. You can also achieve a larger system with limited roof space.
How Do Solar Panels Work?
A solar panel system uses light to generate electricity which you can then use to power your business. Here is how it happens:
• The sun’s light (photons) is absorbed by the solar panel
• The silicon and conductors in the panel convert the light into Direct Current (DC) electricity which then flows to the inverter.
• The inverter converts the Direct Current (DC) into Alternate Current (AC) which you can use in your business.
• Any additional electricity that’s not used by your business is then fed back into the grid (if you have battery storage, you can send your additional electricity to your battery bank and draw down on this when your panels aren’t producing electricity). E.g. early morning/late afternoon/overnight).
• When you need more power than your solar system can produce, you draw this from the grid.
What’s the Best Way to Use Solar Panels in a Business?
Most businesses use the bulk of their power during daylight hours. This ties in perfectly with solar, as your business can use all the energy that is produced at the time of generation. By using your own source of energy straight from the sun, you’re buying significantly less from the grid, therefore slashing the amount of power you buy from the utilities.
What Are The Best Solar Panel Systems for my Business?
There are some incredibly cheap solar systems available in Australia but be mindful that what’s far more important than the upfront cost is the amount of electricity your system will generate over its lifetime – and therefore how much it will save you. You are better off paying a bit more for a high performance system, than not paying enough for an inferior one. Buying solar panels and inverters made by major companies that have been manufacturing solar panel components for at least 10 years will pay off in the long run.
More than 90% of solar panels these days are made in China. TrinaSolar, SunTech and REC are all reputable Chinese brands, but many others are best avoided.
TheEnergyExperts.com.au preferred panels are the US-designed and made SunPower 435W modules and Korean-made LG NeON2 320W modules, which are independently ranked as the most efficient commercially solar panels worldwide. Higher-performance panels produce up to 30% more electricity and take up to 30% less roof space than conventional panels. If you start thinking of your roof space as an asset, it’s easy to see why high-output panels make sense.
Both SunPower and LG panels perform better in shady/low light/cloudy/rainy conditions, as well as in cold/frosty and hot/humid conditions (not to mention beautiful, sunny days). They’re also more durable, they degrade slower and come with a longer warranty than conventional panels. The warranty includes both the labour and/or transport for replacement panels.
Your inverter is one of the most important components of a solar power system. As far as brands go, it’s best to buy a European-designed and made inverter, such as SMA, Fronius. These have been independently proven to be the most efficient and reliable string inverters on the market.
DC Optimisers or micro-inverters are a good way to go if your roof is partially shaded or if your panels need to be oriented in more than 2 different orientations. We’re very comfortable recommending SolarEdge DC Optimisers or Enphase micro-inverters. Both DC Optimisers and micro-inverters are slightly dearer than string inverters, but they’re more efficient and come with a longer warranty. They also have lower operation and maintenance costs and panel level monitoring, which means you can see the individual performance of each panel and each panel operates individually. For example, if shade or bird droppings affect one panel, it doesn’t affect the rest of the system, which is the case with string inverters. The other good thing about DC Optimisers and micro-inverters is that you can install more panels on a limited roof space, by installing closer to obstructions/shade.
SolarEdge DC Optimiser
How Much Do Solar Power Systems Cost?
This depends on the size and type of system you buy and The Energy Efficiency Experts can advise you on the most effective solar power system for your requirements. Indicative pricing for a good quality mid-range system is below:
Expected savings over 10 yrs*
$5,000 – $10,000/qtr)
* Assumes tariff is 24c/kW inc GST; electricity prices will increase by 5% p.a.; 100% of electricity produced will be self consumed; panels will degrade at .025% p.a.
Affordable battery storage is available for SMEs that want some of their usage covered off by the batteries early in the morning and late in the afternoon. 14kWh of storage starts at around $12,000, plus the cost of a solar power system. These are scalable, so you may choose to start with 1-2 batteries and then add more as required.
Battery storage systems are too expensive for most large-scale commercial applications, but this will change over the next 2 – 3 years.
Who Should I Choose To Install My Solar Panel System?
Just as important as the quality of the components you choose is the quality of the installation, as corners can be cut by installers keen to take a shortcut.
We recommend having your system installation completed by a company that has over 5 years’ experience installing large scale commercial solar power systems (50-100kW), is accredited with the Clean Energy Council and consistently receives good (independent) reviews on solar comparison websites.
Are There Still Rebates Available?
There are still generous rebates towards the cost of systems. You can get as much as $78,000 covered by the Federal government.
Do I Get Paid for the Electricity My Solar Panel System Produces?
Yes. You’re paid for any surplus power that your system produces – between 6-10c/kWh, depending on which energy provider you’re with. By sizing your system correctly (or including battery storage), we ensure that very little excess electricity is fed back to the grid.
Solar Panel Quotes for Business
TheEnergyExperts.com.au fast-track the solar quotes process for you by sourcing multiple competitive quotes on your behalf from local, professional companies.
We’ve cherry picked installers in your area that have a reputation for excellence and who are very competitively priced.
NEED MORE HELP FINDING THE RIGHT SOLAR PANELS FOR YOUR BUSINESS?
Contact TheEnergyExperts.com.au to receive a free quote/initial consultation about solar panels, battery storage, solar hot water, heat pumps, solar pool heating, LED lighting or insulation for your home or business.
We cover the following areas: St George and Sutherland Shire, Wollongong, Illawarra, Shellharbour, Kiama, Shoalhaven, NSW South Coast, Macarthur, Wollondilly, Southern Highlands, Goulburn, Canberra, Capital Country, Central Coast, Newcastle, NSW Mid North Coast, New England and Blue Mountains.