If you are a business owner or thinking to start one, you must be aware of the electricity needs even a small business to require these days. These needs can cost up to thousands of dollars per month to fulfil using the Grid’s energy.
That’s why people like you must consider the solar way out. That means you should consider investing in a solar system to fulfil the energy needs of your business. Unlike residential solar installations, companies tend to use their energy between 9 am to 5 pm, making going solar a perfect decision for you as the sun is mostly shining bright outside during these times.
Today we will tell you everything you need to know to get your Commercial solar installation in Brisbane as soon as possible.
The size of the commercial solar system generally falls into three major categories, i.e. Less than 30 kW, 30 to 100 kW and over 100 kW. Of course, you can go more significant than that if you want, but for this to happen, all the information mentioned below will not be helpful to you as a commercial solar expert can guide you better than us. All of these are discussed briefly below
This solar system size is optimum for small businesses that are looking to reduce their energy bills. This system doesn’t require any specialized team of commercial solar installers and can be installed simply with the help of residential solar system installers.
This kind of system will generate around 120 kWh of energy daily, which could end you saving more than $2000 monthly on energy bills.
30 to 100 kW
This kind of system requires the proper guidance of professional commercial solar installers and special permission from your DNSP to operate in Australia. These systems are so robust that they also require permits to connect to the Grid to safeguard it from the immense amount of energy it will generate. A method of 30 to 100 kW power is optimal for small retailers or medium-sized offices that are looking to cut their energy bills.
Over 100 kW
At this point, you are talking about solar systems for big offices and factories to power. This system will end you having no rebates on installation, which will increase its cost even more. You will do get rebates annually on the amount of energy you are generating in that time frame. These rebates are called the LGC’s, and they require you to install a special meter with your solar system, which will take account of the energy you are generating.
Cost of Going Solar
An excellent quality commercial solar power system ranging between the 30 to 100 kW ranges will cost you around $1000 to $1300 per kW installed. This cost can boom up by 20% if you decide to get micro-inverters or power optimizers in your build.
If you fall under the 20 to 30 kW category, it will cost you around $700 per kW installed. The decrease in costs is because less than 30 kW systems require less engineering cost, which is a significant factor in increasing the price of a commercial solar system.
Maintenance and Monitoring
The monitoring of the solar system is a task as fundamental as brushing your teeth. It would help if you thought of it as mandatory during your install because this is the only machine that will tell you about whether your installation is paying off or not. A good solar installer will highly recommend that you get an energy generation and consumption monitor to know about your panel’s performance and keep track of the degradation on it regularly.
Some companies will try to sell you spin-off versions of solar monitors which tracks nothing but the energy generation of your solar system. Long story short: Don’t get these as they are a waste of money. Your seller will try to convince you on the point that you know that your solar will generate 50 kW and you generally be using 30 kW per day; hence the remaining energy will be sent to the Grid, and your energy needs will be fulfilled with a profit. But that’s not the case here as solar panels energy generation tend to shift daily. Your solar panels will generate X amount of energy on one day and Y amount on the other, and at the end of the month, the results will not be as pleasant as you were promised. That’s why investing in an excellent solar monitoring solution is recommended, and you should consider it mandatory.
Coming to the maintenance part, the Clean Energy Council require commercial solar installers to provide a maintenance schedule to its customers to ensure that the panels are working as good as they were promised at the time of installation. In most cases, if you get your solar system from a reputed manufacturer, you will receive an extensive schedule of maintenance which will be done by themselves or a third-party provider of their choice at no additional cost to you.
Some installers may also tell you that if you do the washing of the panels yourself or from third-party providers, then your warranty period will end there. It would be best to stay away from these kinds of people as these are their tactics to make more money from you.
The rebates for commercial installation
If your commercial solar installations are under 99 kW in size, you are eligible for the government rebates or financial incentives known as STC’s. But if your needs are more than that, you have been exempted from the government rebates on solar system installations. That might make you think that the cost of your solar system will now rise many folds due to the unavailability of rebates or incentives, but that’s only partially true.
Yes, you indeed need to make full payment of your solar system installation at once at the time of installation. This is unlike the case in 99 kW and below sizes which enjoy the benefits of Small scale technology certificates or STC’s; these installations have the rebates pre-applied on their bill, and this helps in the reduction of the upfront cost of their system.
But in your case of a solar system more significant than 99 kW, you are only eligible for Large scale technology certificates or LGC’s. What happens in the case of LGC’s is that you claim your rebates annually based on the energy generated by you by the system. The main difference between the STC’s and the LGC’s is that the Small scale technology certificates or STC’s are applied upfront at the time of installation, making the cost of the solar system affordable for you. Whereas in the case of LGC’s, you have to claim the rebate each year for the coming ten years based on the energy produced by your system. It means that you have to pay the total amount of your solar system at the installation time without any discount on the bill.
To claim LGC’s your business needs to be registered as an accredited power station with a clean energy regulator. This step is essential as you generate loads of energy with your system, and your plant needs to be differentiated from other solar systems in Australia. Generally, your solar installer will take care of this, and you won’t have to be bothered by it. Then you need to install a metering system with your solar system, which complies with the National Electricity Market Standards. The metering you chose to get on your plant is the only thing that is responsible for you to get you the rebates.
NOTE – You should be aware of the decreasing rates of LGC’s or the rebates each year. The speed at which you get your rebates every year decreases since September 2019 and is predicted to drop further. This will add another year to the payback of your solar system.
Layouts of Commercial Solar System
The commercial solar systems you are planning to get are heavy and is not something that will fit on any roof you put them on. If you skipped the research of your building before reaching the solar systems installed, then your panels can cause structural damage to your property, inviting more costs to the already costly solar installation.
Sometimes the roof of your office building is not the best choice to get your solar panels installed. The age of your structure plays a significant role in this, and you must consult it with a related professional before getting one installed. If you chose a reputable installer, they would provide you with a detailed roof plan after the inspection of the site physically. If, for any reason, your roof proves to be unstable for the installation of your solar system, then you need to go the other way out, i.e. Ground Mount Solar Systems. But be prepared to invest the extra amount of money to get one in your building as they require a lot more planning than a roof mount installation.
Paying for the Solar System
Unless you are an absolute millionaire, you will buy your solar system through financing it. To sum up, there are majorly four ways to pay for your solar system here in Australia.
1) Power Purchasing Agreement (PPA)
You can think of Power Purchasing Agreements as you purchase the solar panels on lease from a person or a third party.
The working of this is pretty simple as you are only leasing or renting the solar panels rather than buying them personally. The retailer which leases out the boards to you take care of the installation process and the setup of the panels on your site, which makes you spend ZERO as an upfront cost. Then you and the retailer gets into an agreement of long term about the electricity consumptions and prices. The main benefit of getting this is that you can get the energy at a lot less cost than the Grid. The downside of this method is that you need to consume all the power generated by the panels and pay accordingly. If you aren’t able to use all of your energy, then you can send it to the Grid to enjoy the feed-in tariffs, but to be honest, those are a lot less valuable than self-consumption. So you must be careful about your energy needs while getting the solar panels, and you should aim to consume 100% of the energy generated yourself to get the maximum benefits.
You can get a business or a green loan to pay for your solar panels, and the solar installers will treat you as a cash buyer and provide you with all the discounts that a total cash buyer enjoys.
You can also get yourself the commercial solar system by paying total cash for it in the first place, but we will not recommend it to you for many reasons. Firstly the upfront cost of a commercial solar system is very high compared to the residential one, and it is not a manageable amount to pay. We would recommend you to either get a loan or a PPA for your solar system and use the cash in different aspects of your business for its growth.
Here you have it, our complete guide to getting a commercial solar system in Brisbane. We told you everything about getting a commercial solar system so that you can have a clear idea of what to bring and what to expect from it. If you have any doubts related to this, then we recommend you consult with a professional to get your doubts about anything cleared right away because misinformation is more dangerous than No Information.