Solar PV makes commercial sense no matter the company or property size. Solar PV generated electricity typically costs 4-6p/kWh and is effectively fixed, compared to grid supplied electricity at rates of between 12-14p/kWh, which is likely to continue to rise year-on-year (cost statistics taken from Mypower).
For the majority of businesses, their energy use is predominantly during the day during daylight hours. This is why businesses from manufacturers to the hospitality trade are finding Solar PV has significantly reduced their electricity costs and therefore a large proportion of their overheads. Most properties are suitable for solar panels and it isn’t for those just with south-facing roofs either.
Whilst there is no denying that the south of the UK does experience more daylight hours, it doesn’t mean Solar PV is not financially viable for businesses in the north. It is more than possible to receive great returns of 12% or more in northern locations and that’s not forgetting the other benefits Solar PV offers like fixed price electricity at 5p/unit, huge reductions in your carbon footprint, FiT subsidy payments of 4p/unit and free fuel for electric cars.
It is commonly believed that a South facing roof is preferable for solar. Whilst this does offer the highest yield per sqm, in many circumstances where the site uses a high amount of electricity justifying as big a system as possible, an East West facing roof slope may be more beneficial. This can particularly be the case for roof pitches below 15 degrees. Monopitch buildings may also offer a better solution for Solar PV. Flat roofs can also benefit from solar PV with the right mounting system.
A roof space of just 38m x 9m roof can accommodate a 50kW system, enough to generate around 49,000kWh of electricity every year. Costing in the order of £42,000, it offers approximately £6,500 savings in the first year and a 15.5% ROI with a 6.5 year pay back.
Metal box profile sheets are the ideal structure to fit solar panels too. Fibre cement roof sheets are also not a problem but do incur higher installations costs.
If there is any potential shading from trees or other buildings then selecting the right performing solar panel can help. Reputable solar panel brands have invested a lot of money in technology which minimising shading losses and along with the high quality inverter any shading issue needn’t reduce yield too dramatically.
No roof, no problem
Even if you don’t have a roof, ground based systems or solar car ports are viable alternatives. As well as providing shelter they can reduce your electricity costs, provide an income through the Feed in Tariff and generate fuel to use in your Electric Vehicle.
Free source of light.
The sun is always going to be with us. Solar panels are now more efficient in converting daylight to energy and even on overcast days and during the winter, the solar panels still generate electricity. Furthermore, there is no cost to the “fuel” the sun is a free resource.
Even if you don’t own the building you operate from, you can approach your landlord and suggest installing solar PV. Not only will it help you reduce your electricity bills it will benefit your landlord as it will only add value to the building and earning them an income.