Commercial solar, a good investment for businesses?


Australian businesses looking to cut their energy costs might be considering investing in rooftop solar. Over the last 10 years, Australian power prices have doubled and are expected to rise by another 4% per year on average. Solar is officially the cheapest form of electricity available, and a very safe investment in 2021. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) recently reported that businesses with solar PV are saving up to 31% of their energy costs compared to those relying on grid electricity.

The case for Commercial Solar

For small businesses and large industrial properties alike, electricity is a significant operating cost and solar is a perfect solution as the bulk of their power usage is during daylight hours. Solar as an investment offers excellent returns, with quick payback and long-term savings. Even businesses with large systems, will recoup the cost of their solar investment in just a few short years, all the more for businesses that are heavily reliant on the grid.

Solar PV systems are easy to maintain, and also installing panels can also increase your property’s resale value. You are also able to promote your new environmentally-friendly status can help generate new business and referral opportunities.

Figures from (ACCC) report

Sizing your system

The amount of solar you would want, depends on:

  • Your energy usage
  • Your estimated savings and payback period
  • How much sunshine you receive in your location?
  • Angle and orientation of your roof, any potential shading
  • How much energy you consume in the winter/summer seasons

Keep in mind that solar panels can only generate energy throughout the day, excess energy generated not used by your household during that time could be sold back to the grid as a feed-in tariff. Obviously, you don’t use all your electricity during the day, your situation might be that you are away during the day and use most of your power during the night. Your energy requirements might differ so it is best to consult a solar company to tailor a system suited to your needs.

Read our post here, to learn more.

How much would it cost?

The cost of a commercial solar system varies and is influenced by factors such as: where you live, installation costs, rebates available and size of system.

The factors which would affect the price of a solar system are:

  • Installation costs
  • Number of panels
  • Inverter capacity
  • Other system components such as batteries
  • Current government rebates and incentives

Government rebates and subsidies

Incentives come in two types of Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs):

  • Small-scale Technology Certificates (STCs) – for solar panel systems < 100kW
  • Large-scale Generation Certificates (LGCs) – for solar panel systems > 100kW

STCs and LGCs are given to eligible installations of solar power systems, these are then converted into a point of sale discount, cutting down the up-front cost of commercial systems.

There is also the feed-in tariff, and though this amount varies, you are able to get cash back by feeding excess electricity back to the grid.

Feed-in tariffs are waning over the years, so it is advised to make the most of your self-consumption, keep this in mind when sizing your system to match your average consumption.

In South Australia, the Adelaide city council also provides financial incentives as part of the Sustainability Incentives Scheme for sustainable technology installation in apartments, houses and commercial buildings, to improve energy and water performance.

The following rebates are available:

  • Up to $5,000 for commercial solar systems
  • Up to $20,000 per site ($500 per premise) for shared solar systems that provide electricity to multiple spaces
  • Up to $5000 for electric vehicle charging equipment (cars and bikes)
  • Up to $10,000 available for advanced electric vehicle charging technology providing virtual power plant capability
  • Up to $5,000 for greenhouse gas inventory (plus additional up to $2,500 for other steps) towards carbon neutral certification for organizations, precincts, buildings or events
  • Up to $5,000 for NABERS or Green Star Ratings
  • Up to $500 for smart electricity management systems that optimize solar power or access ‘off peak’ tariffs.

In many cases, your entire system is a write-off and no upfront funding is required.

The Installation process

A typical commercial solar installation comprises of 6 key steps:

  1. Design and feasibility
  2. Product selection
  3. Quotation and agreement
  4. Applying for building approvals (if applicable)
  5. Installation / connecting to the grid
  6. Applying for government rebates / arranging feed-in-tariffs

Further information on this process can be found through the Clean Energy Council.

Do I need to own the building?

Building ownership is a potential barrier to installing solar PV systems in your business premises. Should you want to install one at some point, be aware that you’ll need space on the property and importantly the approval of the landlord.

It may be worth exploring the option of arranging a solar panel agreement with your body corporate or landlord as part of your lease terms. This agreement would detail your and the landlord’s responsibilities in installing and maintaining solar panels.

About Us

Natural Technology Systems are solar providers that have been in business for over 30 years, we are a business that South Australia trusts and provide expert, obligation free quotes and advice. We provide customers with the most cost-effective way to slash those power bills for your home or business.

Click here for a quick quote for your solar power needs or contact us today at (08) 7081 9830

You can also email us for expert, obligation-free advice

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