Bright idea: how small businesses can benefit from installing solar panels

Setting up photovoltaic panels is one path to minimizing emissions and even recouping a little additional cash through lower energy bills. However for those not familiar with the setup options and actions included, the prospect can seem daunting..

With the overwhelming bulk of services in the UK classified as SMEs– 99.9 percent– it will be important that they play their part in fulfilling the governments 2050 net zero emissions targets.

Interested in solar PV for your business however uncertain where to start? A professional sheds light on some common concerns such as: who pays for what? Does your residential or commercial property requirement to deal with south? And how could your financial resources, and emissions targets, benefit?

Simon Nicholls (main image, above), handling director of UK renewable resource designer Olympus Power, shines some light on typical concerns that might be holding businesses back.

How much does it cost and what are possible cost savings to my electrical energy costs?

An option to purchasing your own panels up front is to go with Olympus purchase power agreement (PPA) design. In this setup, Olympus spends for and owns everything, consisting of the electricity produced, so to speak. They then sell the power back to business, over a 15-30 year agreement period. According to Nicholls, an SME with about 1MWp of solar set up might then expect to see in between ₤ 35,000- ₤ 60,000 in savings off their electrical energy bill each year.

Now, under the governments replacement scheme, the Smart Export Guarantee, which started in January 2020, businesses can continue to sell renewable energy back to the grid however the generation tariff is not consisted of. With solar panels being so reasonable, this is by the by.

An option to purchasing your own panels up front is to go with Olympus purchase power agreement design. Image: Olympus Power.

Keep in mind, however, that these price quotes are generally relevant to services that invest in a big solar panel setup. In terms of ballpark figures, a 20,000 sq feet warehouse will accommodate roughly 300kWp worth of panels at an expense of about ₤ 200,000 and a 50,000 sq ft warehouse will enable 1MWp to be installed at an expense of ₤ 625,000.

For smaller sized premises, Nicholls says the economics arent quite the very same, with purchase and installation tending to be self-funded rather than through a PPA. And with the cost of panels so much lower than they used to be– about ₤ 100, what you may pay for a classy mirror from a store, he states– preliminary investment ought to be fairly workable.

Such totally funded solar installations are proving a popular option. With financial support from renewable resource investment firm, Thrive Renewables, Olympus has up to ₤ 75m to perform these PPAs, and the business is busier than its ever been..

The repayment now is in fact much better than it was at the peak of the feed-in tariffs.

Setting up solar panels is one path to reducing emissions and decreasing overheads through lower energy costs. Image: Olympus Power.

The FiT plan paid out 2 kinds of tariffs, one for generation and one for export of additional renewable resource produced on your premises. The favourable rates implied that it would take five and a half to 6 years to recoup the costs of purchase and setup, describes Nicholls.

The bad news is that the governments feed-in tariff (FiT) scheme near brand-new candidates in March 2019. Fortunately is the expense of solar panels has actually fallen so much that the payback is even much better than what it was when the plan was in location, according to Nicholls..

Does your roof need to deal with south?

Contrary to popular belief, the UKs weather is really not so bad for solar. The factor being, panels end up being less efficient if temperatures reach 30C and above.

Not, says Nicholls. “If the service has an east-west roofing system, thats in fact better for them than a south roof in regards to getting sunlight for more hours of the day.” A south-facing roofing system will get greater energy yield, he describes, but an east-west roof will be exposed for longer. “The modern panels are so good that were now putting them on the north in addition to south ridges of a roofing.” Solar business will utilize software to figure out the very best spot and angle for maximum energy yield..

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Are there any other benefits?

Main image: Olympus Power.

“If you utilize a lot of electrical energy, and you have a huge roof or a lot of land, then solar is a good location to start in taking on those larger targets,” says Nicholls.

He also indicates the ever-increasing examination that companies are under, to meet targets and add to a cleaner and greener world. “There are providers out there that claim to be green, when actually what theyre doing is purchasing something called REGOs: renewable resource assurance of origin certificates. “Its therefore worth examining the small print to confirm that your electricity provider is purchasing direct from wind and solar tasks. On the other hand, creating your own electrical power on-site, he argues, is a clear indication that youre a service thats truly doing something about it..

Intrigued in solar PV for your company however not sure where to start? With solar panels being so affordable, this is by the by. Keep in mind, however, that these price quotes are typically suitable to services that invest in a big solar panel setup. According to Nicholls, an SME with about 1MWp of solar set up might then expect to see in between ₤ 35,000- ₤ 60,000 in cost savings off their electricity expense per year.

Services that have sustainability and emissions targets will be looking at all locations of business, from the supply chain to logistics and whatever in between. “If you use a great deal of electricity, and you have a big roofing or a great deal of land, then solar is an excellent place to begin in dealing with those bigger targets,” says Nicholls. Not least for the visual signal it sends to workers and consumers. “If you take a look at it from the perspective of recruitment, a lot of millennials are asking, what are you doing to save the world? You can then indicate this extremely visual message and say weve done this as part of our overall sustainability program.”.

” Its a really effective method of proving your green qualifications.”.

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