There has never been a better time to take advantage of the many benefits of commercial solar.
If your business is currently paying power bills of around $45,000 annually, a 100kW commercial solar power system could help you start reducing that bill immediately.
Even better, with the right system, advice, and financing options, you could start generating a positive cash return from day one. Some installers will even go as far as offering a 100% guaranteed cash flow positive investment for commercial solar installations.
Investing in commercial solar power today makes good economic sense.
• The cost of the systems has never been so low – costs associated with installing solar systems has fallen significantly in recent years, driven largely by advances in technology and greater competition amongst suppliers.
• Electricity prices are continuing to rise.
• And until 2030, you can still reap the benefits of the Australian Government’s financial incentives, which reduce the up-front cost of your system even further.
Going solar also offers a great selling point to the growing number of climate conscious consumers who are looking to purchase from companies that demonstrate strong environmental credentials. So, you could double your advantage through reduced power costs and increased business and sales.
How much can you save and how long will it take to pay back?
Commercial solar power systems start generating a return from day one. On average, it takes most businesses 3-5 years to break even on the costs of installation. Depending on how much electricity you can actually use in your business, with a 100kW system you could expect to see savings of $30,000 – $40,000 on your power bill each year.
What size system should you install?
There a number of factors you need to consider here, including how much space you have, how much power you are looking to generate; and whether you have sufficient space to install the panels with the correct orientation and pitch.
100kW solar systems have become one of the most commercially appealing systems for many different types of businesses. This is largely because once you get over this size, the Australian Government’s financial incentives change, and the upfront cost becomes less appealing.
How much does a 100kw commercial solar system cost?
The average price of a 100kW solar system (including solar panels and solar inverter) varies across Australia; with Sydney being the cheapest at around $92,500 and Canberra being the most expensive at just under $100,000. In Brisbane and Melbourne, the average price is around $97,500.
Of course, the price can go higher depending on the quality of each component and the brands you select. For the highest quality systems, you could expect to pay between $150,000-$200,000.
To show just how much prices have fallen, a smaller 50kW system purchased 10 years ago would have cost around $150,000.
How much space do you need for a 100kW system?
The size of solar panels differs slightly between brands and is constantly changing, becoming smaller and more efficient as technology improves. But most panels currently measure 1.6 metres x 1 metre.
In July 2020, you will need a minimum of 656m2 of roof space to allow the installation of around 380 to 410 PV panels. The roof space could be on your main building, sheds or even any shade structures over onsite car parks.
Getting your panels installed in the proper location is essential to the efficient operation of the system and to you getting the best return. Your installer will be able to assist you work out the best location taking into account a range of variables including direction, tilt, shade, temperature, aesthetics, structural issues such as the load-bearing capacity of roofs and risks for damage from things like harsh weather, wildlife and interference from people. They will also be able to advise on any local council restrictions.
How much CO2 will a 100kW system save?
This system will help your business to reduce your carbon emissions by around 125-135 tonnes a year, or 2,500-2,700 tonnes over 20 years.
What government incentives are available?
The world of government incentives for commercial solar is constantly shifting, changing and varies across the country.
Until 2030, the Australian Government is assisting businesses to reduce the costs of installing solar systems with a panel capacity of up to 100mW. This assistance is in the form of Small-scale Technology Certificates (STCs) that are created once an accredited solar installer has installed and commissioned your system.
Once created, STCs become a form of tradeable currency. If you elect to sign over your certificates to your installer, they can use them to apply an upfront discount on the price of your system.
This is good news because it means you not only get your system cheaper, but you also don’t have to deal with the red tape involved in trading or selling the certificates.
The Australian Government also provides incentives, in the form of Large-scale Generation Certificates for solar panel systems >100mW.
Depending on where you live, you may also be able to access a range of rebates, low interest loans, grants, and other financial assistance. Your installer should be able to give you specific advice on which of these incentives and/or financing options may be available to you.
What sort of businesses are best suited to going solar?
100kW commercial solar systems are suitable for a wide variety of businesses, including factories, processing plants, manufacturing facilities and large office buildings.
What else do you need to consider before investing in commercial solar?
As with any commercial decision, it is important that you do the figures and work out its cost viability for your business.
It makes sense to go for the biggest possible system you can accommodate and afford as the economies of scale associated with larger systems means they cost less money per watt of power generated.
The operation and maintenance costs associated with commercial solar systems are relatively low and may include visual or drone examinations and repair and infrequent cleaning of panels. From time-to-time you may also incur costs associated with replacing individual components or your inverter.
Different brands and components of your system will carry different manufacturer’s warranty periods. Make sure you understand what these are, and factor them into your assessment.
Most businesses invest in commercial solar to reduce their electricity costs and improve their bottom line. But you may also be able to connect your solar power system to the electricity network and benefit from selling off any excess power you generate onto the grid. This is getting harder to do as the recent boom in residential solar has led to an excess of solar on the network. Good installers should be able to help you work out if this is feasible for you and assist you go through all the necessary approvals.
But perhaps the most important consideration is ensuring you go with a reputable, experienced, and properly accredited installer. Each state and territory has its own licensing system for solar installers so you need to make sure your installer has a licence to operate in your location. The best installers will help guide you through making the decision on whether commercial solar is right for you, which systems could be best, your installation options and help you access the best financing and incentives.