Solar energy is becoming a viable option for everybody who wants to use renewable energy to fulfil their energy needs cheaply. By going solar you can reduce your energy bills to even ZERO, which can be a great investment for your business. If you are a business owner or prospour to be one then you are at the right place because today we will tell you everything you need to understand the commercial solar systems and get one for yourself.
To make use of solar for your business, you need to first require some knowledge on what solar energy is and what is the process of getting one for your business. That’s what we tell you today so stick around and read through the end to know it all.
Introduction to Commercial solar systems
The commercial solar systems are used by businesses who want to put an end to their hefty energy bills. Saving on energy bills will mean more capital for the company which will in turn means more growth of the business. Also a solar system is very adequate for business needs because all the businesses operate between 9 to 5 and that’s the time when the sun is shining bright and making energy for you to use. It is unlike in the case of residential solar systems, because they require more energy in the evening, hence they end up buying it from the grid.
Types of Commercial Solar systems
We can categorise solar systems in many categories based on various parameters. Here we have categorized them into 3 types on the basis of their capacity.
1. Less than 30 kW
2. 30 kW to 100 kW
3. More than 100 kW
We will explain each of them briefly below:
Less than 30 kW
This size is suitable for small business owners who are looking to make themselves grid free. This system is considered the smallest in the commercial solar market and hence if you need you can get it installed by any residential solar installer because designing and installing a system of this size doesn’t require any special skills or engineering. This way as you can guess you will save a ton of money by leaving the experts who charge you big for designing and installing these systems. If you are thinking about what you can get from this, then an average 30 kW system will generate you around 120 kWh of energy on a bright sunny day, using which you will save more than $2,000 on your monthly energy bills.
30 kW to 100 kW
This kind of system is the most common one which is used widely among businesses of different levels. This system covers all types of business whether small or big, but all of it comes at a cost because for designing a system of this size you definitely require professionals who can design an adequate plan for your solar system and can install it as well on the site. Also, for a system of this size, you require permission certificates from your local electricity provider to connect your solar system to the grid. This step is required because your solar system is capable of generating hefty sums of energy which can cause harm to the grid if not handled properly. The grid officials will closely look through your system so that they can be sure before approving it. But don’t you worry because all of this will be done without you even being bothered, as the installer of your choice will handle all of this.
More than 100 kW
90% of people reading this will not require a system this big as this is only preferred by large business/factory owners who have really large requirements of electricity every day. This kind of setup requires many types of extra tasks which need to be completed before installation of the system. You will have to file a whole lot of documentation like the grid permission certificates, local area government certificates and many others. Added downside to it is that you will not enjoy the rebates or the STC’s (small scale technology certificates) offered by the government but that does not mean that you will not get any kind of rebates at all. You will be issued the large scale technology certificates or the LGC’s and we will discuss this one in detail further in this article and will understand how exactly it works. This system’s cost will be the maximum of all of the setups we have discussed above but if you really require this potential of electricity everyday and you also focus on self consumption than it will be only a matter of few years before your solar system will return all the money you have invested in it, and as you guessed it, after that it will be sheer profit.
Cost of Commercial Solar System
Cost of the solar system always depends upon what you choose to install. Quality, size and solar installer decide about what you will be charged for your solar system. The standard rates for which the panels are generally sold is as follows. If you chose to have a system in between the size of 20 to 30 kW then you will have to spend $700 for each kW of panels added to your system. But this cost will bump up to $1300 if you install your solar system in the category of 30 kW to 100 kW. You may wonder why the prices have nearly doubled for the same amount of solar panels in this category, so let us explain it to you that if you chose to have a solar system greater than 30 kW in size then you require commercial solar experts to install the system for you. The professionals command a high rate for their service of designing and installation of the solar system hence you have to pay nearly double for the same amount of solar panels installed.
The price can go up to 20% more if you choose to go the route of micro inverters and with them the power optimisers.
Keeping Track of your system
The tracking of your commercial solar system is very important to be done because that is what will tell you if your solar system is working as promised or not. Also if you regularly monitor your solar system then you will know when it requires service and maintenance, which is what you can’t guess if you opt out of monitoring. As a consequence of this, the system which is monitored regularly will have more life as compared to the one which is monitored regularly. As you are spending so much on the solar system itself then spending some on the consumption monitor will not be a big deal.
Maintaining your solar system
The CEC (Clean Energy Council) of Australia makes it mandatory for commercial solar installers to give a detailed schedule for maintenance of the solar system they install to the consumer. This is done to ensure that your solar system is working with the efficiency which it was promised at the time of install. If the solar installer of your choice is offering you this facility only then you should do business with it otherwise if this is missing you should always skip that one because it will cost you in the long run.
What are LGC Rebates?
Here is the part where we will explain to you what exactly is the LGC rebate, how it is different from the conventional STC rebate and how you can claim it yourself!
The rebates which are most commonly used are STC or small scale technology certificate rebates. The benefit of this rebate is that it is applied at the time of purchase so you have to pay a much lesser amount for your solar system than you would if these were not present. There are some conditions applied by clean energy council Australia to be eligible for these. One of those conditions is that your solar system size should be less than 99 kW in order to be eligible for the STC rebate. That doesn’t mean that you will not get any type of support from the government, but the Australian government will help you with the purchase by offering you LGC rebates.
The large scale technology certificates or the lgc rebates are offered by the Australian government on the basis of energy your system produces in a year. The energy your system produces in a year is measured by a clean energy council Australia approved consumption monitor which will count exactly how many kWh are generated by your solar system, and on the basis of that the government will credit you per kWh of the energy generated. You will keep getting paid until the age of your system becomes 10 years, after which these rebates will stop and you wont get any type of credit from the government. The downside of this rebate is that it is given to you gradually on the basis of energy generation, which means you have to pay the complete amount of your commercial solar system at once on the time of installation which is a really big amount to spend. Although you will get much of it in the coming years, you have to make a big investment in order to get that. Another downside which is observed in the recent years for the commercial solar systems greater than 100 kW is that the annual rate at which the GC’s are paid to you today are and will decrease gradually, which makes the amount of credit given to you even less. Hence, it is better to buy the system as soon as possible to get the maximum amount of rebate possible on your solar system.
Layout of a Commercial Solar System
Now you have made up your mind to get a solar system for your business, if you are reading till now, But is your property ready for this change. If you’re not getting this, let’s discuss it now.
Your solar system is seriously heavy, and to fit it on your property, it needs to be really strong structurally. To make sure it is, the clean energy council of Australia mandates it get a structural engineering certificate before approving your solar system to be installed. And to get your hands on one of those, you require an engineer who will personally visit the site and inspect it in every way possible to make sure it is structurally sound and will not cause any kind of problems post installation.
If in any case your property doesn’t pass the test of structural ability, then you can mount your solar panels to the ground, and it is a very viable option to refer to because it is used by most of the commercial solar owners who don’t have a big property to make a house for their systems. But this kind of system requires even more intense planning because in case of a roof the sunlight is present all the time on it, but in case of ground mounted systems it is not the case as the shade can come on go based on the location. Hence it is recommended to mount a ground solar system in open spaces in order to make sure that they are working on their maximum potential by getting solar energy for the better part of the day.
If you are planning to buy a commercial solar system, then make sure that the solar installer you chose for it has a proven track record of handling cases like yours before, while giving your contract to them because it is a big investment and you don’t want something to mess up.
If you still have any questions regarding commercial solar systems, then you can contact us and we will help you provide a solution to them easily. We hope that this guide proved useful to you and you now have a deep understanding of what commercial really is.