Can Solar Panels Save My Business Money?

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 The Energy Experts 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 high quality panels and premium inverter technology, you’ll find that the Return On Investment (ROI) is as little as 2 years. For premium panels and inverter technology, the ROI is closer to 3.5 years. Premium systems will save you more money over the longer term, due to higher output and a slower rate of degradation. With high-output panels, 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.

Solar House Diagram

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. SunTech, Trina and Jinko are all reputable Chinese brands, but many others are best avoided.

Transport For NSW RussellVale

The Energy Experts was chosen by Transport for NSW to arrange for the installation of a 64.8kW system on their Russell Vale works depot in November 2019. This system is producing over 250kWh/day on average.

The Energy Experts preferred panels are the Korean-made LG NeON2 modules or if your business is more budget-conscious, the LG MonoX Plus modules. Higher-performance panels produce up to 25% more electricity over their lifetime and take up to 25% 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.

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 much longer warranty than conventional panels. The NeON2’s 25 year warranty includes both performance and construction of the panel and includes the labour and/or transport for replacement panels.

Take a look at the LG Beginners Guide to Solar to get a good understanding of the importance of high performance panels.

2015 LG Logo

The Energy Experts is proud to be the preferred LG Dealer in the Illawarra.

Your inverter is one of the most important components of your solar power system. As far as brands go, it’s best to buy a European brands, such as Fronius, which is designed and made in Austria and German-engineered SMA inverters. 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 you want to be able to see the individual output of each panel (this is very helpful when picking up faults – particularly with a commercial system, which often has hundreds or even thousands of panels installed). We’re very comfortable recommending SolarEdge DC Optimisers or Enphase micro-inverters, but our preference is SolarEdge because:

  1. SolarEdge is compatible with any battery, whereas Enphase has to be matched with an AC-coupled battery, of which there aren’t many.
  2. you still have all the same functionality as with micro-inverters. eg. if shade, bird poo or leaf litter falls on them, each panel works independently and doesn’t bring down the rest of the array.
  3. you get panel level monitoring (where you can see the output of each module); with micro-inverters, you can have this functionality, but you have to pay extra for it.
  4. there are over 400 parts per micro inverter. With one micro inverter per panel, that’s a lot of components that can go wrong. DC Optimisers are much simpler units, as there’s still a central inverter to carry the load.
  5. SolarEdge technology comes with a much longer warranty than both a string inverter or micro-inverters: SolarEdge DC Optimisers come with a 25 year warranty, compared to a 10 year warranty with Enphase micro-inverters and the SolarEdge inverters come with a 12 year warranty.
  6. they’re cheaper than micro-inverters.
  7. they’re safe.

The other good thing about DC Optimisers is that you can install more panels on a limited roof space, by installing closer to obstructions/shade.

Fronius Inverter

Fronius Inverter

SMA Inverter

SMA Inverter

SolarEdge DC Optimiser

SolarEdge DC Optimiser

Enphase Micro-inverter

Enphase Micro-Inverter

How Much Do Solar Power Systems Cost?

This depends on the size and type of system you buy and The Energy 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:

Your Usage System Size High quality system
pricing
After rebate
Premium system
pricing
After rebate
Expected  annual savings Return on
Investment*
Small user
($900-$1,400/qtr)
10kW system $8,300 $11,700 $3,500 2.3 – 3.3 years*
Medium user
($1,500-$3,000/qtr)
20kW system $13,700 $20,500 $7,000 2 – 2.9 years*
Large user
($3,000-$6,000/qtr)
50kW system $27,800 $45,500 $17,500 1.5 – 2.6 years*
Industrial user
($6,000-$10,000/qtr)
100kW system $49,900** $85,200** $35,000 1.4 – 2.4 years*

* Assumes tariff is 24c/kWh inc GST; electricity tariffs will increase by 5% p.a.; 100% of solar energy produced will be self-consumed; panels will degrade at .025% p.a. The efficiency of the panel installed affects the return on investment.
** Does not include the cost of a DA (approx. $1,000) an Engineers Certificate (approx. $1,300) and network protection for systems over 30kW (approx. $5,500)

Gold System: SunTech monocrystalline half-cut 330W panels; Fronius inverter
Platinum system: LG NeON2 monocrystalline 350W panels; Fronius inverter

Batteries 

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 $13,000, plus the cost of a solar power system. Battery storage systems are scalable, so you may choose to start with 1-2 batteries and then add more as required.

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 commercial solar power systems, is accredited with the Clean Energy Council and consistently receives good (independent) reviews on solar comparison websites.

Solar Panels for Business

Are There Still Rebates Available?

There are still generous rebates towards the cost of systems. You can get as much as $53,000 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 11-15c/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

The Energy Experts can provide you with a solar quote that’s tailored to your business’ needs. We’ll also provide you with the estimated annual savings and the Return on Investment.

Although our home base is in the Illawarra, we have reputable and experienced installers across the state, from the NSW South Coast (Tura Beach; Narooma; Ulladulla) to the Shoalhaven (Nowra), Southern Highlands (Bowral), Sutherland Shire (Greenhills Beach), Sydney (Gladesville; Auburn; Minto; Smeaton Grange), the ACT (Canberra), the Central Coast (Tuggerah), Newcastle (Warabrook) and the North West Slopes (Moree), New England (Glen Innes), the Blue Mountains (Katoomba) and the Central Tablelands (Oberon) regions.

Get Your Free Quote Today – Solar Made Easy!

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