Installing solar PV on commercial roofs has a myriad of economic benefits. It reduces carbon emissions, offsets the need to purchase peak time electricity from the grid, helps insulate companies from future electricity price fluctuations and puts unused rooftop space to good use.
Solar panels work by capturing the sun’s energy using photovoltaic (PV) cells. These cells convert the sunlight into electricity, and is used to run electrical appliances, of which there are many in commercial buildings. Before installing Solar PV in your business, be in the know about how effective Solar PV can be for you.
What are the benefits of Commercial Solar Panels for Business?
One of the benefits are that you’re effectively forward buying your electricity at a set cost. This gives you a great measure of protection from fluctuating market prices and provides an extra safeguard against the effects of future regulation, making financial forecasting much easier. Delivering return on investment is critical when considering solar PV, especially with a predicated rise in energy prices in the next 10 years.
Not only do they future proof your electricity expense but also your current energy bills. Solar panels provide free, green energy throughout the day that can be used to power your business. This in turn lowers your demand for energy from the grid. If you don’t use all your generated solar power, you maybe able sell the surplus to your current electricity provide or even store it in a battery storage system.
Green marketing opportunities are another benefit of commercial solar PV. By showing strong corporate responsibility, it demonstrates a commitment to the environment. This appeals to customers as it shows a company’s dedication to clean, renewable energy.
An attractive quality of solar panels is that they are low maintenance. They need to be kept relatively clean; a 15o tilt or more means rainfall will clean the panels, ensuring optimal performance.
What is a solar inverter? Do I need one and, how much are they?
A solar inverter is what converts the direct current produced by your solar panels into ready-to-use alternating current to power your building. They typically have a conversion efficiency of between 93% and 96% and have a lifespan of approximately 10 years. In order to ensure maximum efficiency, regular maintenance is required. This large component is the brains of the system so they’re essential to a PV system; you will always need an inverter.
If you currently have an existing commercial solar PV system, to replace the current inverter it would be approx. £1,850 (10 kW) to £4,200 (60 kW). This is excluding VAT and includes supply and installation. It’s always worthwhile checking with your Feed-in Tariff licensee that any replacement wouldn’t affect your FIT payments..
How long does it take to install and commission solar PV?
The project process is split into three stages: feasibility, development, and installation, commissioning, connection and accreditation. The first stage can take between 2-4 weeks as it usually comprises of surveys to determine the viability of the project. The following stage can take between 1 and 10 weeks. This is taking into consideration response times from local planning departments and the Distribution Network Operator (DNO). This stage also includes designing the system, securing a grid connection agreement, producing a design and submitting a full planning application (if required, normally most installations are permitted developments). The final phase of a project can take between 2 and 8 weeks depending on the size and complexity of the project.
As with any solar PV installation, the timings differ depending on the site specifics and customer needs.
How long do solar panels last?
The majority of solar panels have a 10-15 year product warranty and come with a 25-year linear power output guarantee, which would usually see the efficiency of the panel drop to approximately 80%. Industry standard rule of thumb is that they last for 25-30 years, with the energy production declining in the later years.
How do I store the power my solar panels generate?
Without a storage system in place, whatever power you don’t use will essentially be sent back to the grid. One of the most economically viable ways to store the power generated from the PV system is through batteries. These make round-the-clock energy usage possible and can improve self-consumption efficiency by up to 85%. What’s more, if there was ever a power outage, a solar battery could prevent any electronic downtime. Read our guide to solar batteries here.