Solar is now more viable than ever before, with solar prices providing a return in as little as 3 years for a business system.
Switching your business to solar energy can provide some excellent returns as it is likely your business will consume what it generates in it’s daily operation.
The Noosa Shire has seen a positive increase in solar installs since the Roadmap report was completed. Business solar now provides a cost effective solution to reducing our energy bills and emissions, while safe guarding against rising electricity costs.
Don’t forget, as a Queensland business, you have access to the free ecoBiz service to help assess energy use and provide possible solutions.
WHat to consider
There are several key factors to consider when looking at how solar can benefit your bottom line. Once you have reduced the electricity waste in your business and managed the peak demand, it is time to look at how much energy is actually used and how solar may be able to help reduce energy consumption.
Choosing a Solar Installer
A trusted solar installer will make the journey easy. Choose local wherever possible to support our local economy. A number of Noosa businesses have already made the switch to renewable technologies. A list of these businesses can be found here. Detailed case studies of some of these installations will soon be available from this website.
A solar photovoltaic system should provide electricity for many years so choose a reputable business. Ask for testimonials from other customers. Come to a Zero Emissions Noosa seminar and hear more on how to choose the right system for your needs. Your solar installer should be able to model the impacts of the proposed system on your business energy bills and should also follow up post installation to check the system is performing as they have suggested.
Monitoring of the systems performance should also be included as a standard for most inverter types offered in Australia.
Choosing a solar panel manufacturer
You will probably hear solar panel manufacturers referred to based on Tier. Buying panels from Tier 1 manufacturers who have an office in Australia is highly recommended. Choose an accredited installer and discuss the type of panel you would like them to quote on. A typical warranty for solar panels should be 25 years, make sure the warranty provided is for Australia. Both monocrystalline and polycrystalline panels operate well in Australia’s climate. Read the Clean Energy Council’s Guide to Purchasing Solar for Business and Industry.
The size and number of panels installed will depend on our daily electricity usage and roof space.
Choosing an Inverter
The inverter is the device that converts the direct current (DC) electricity into grid level alternating current (AC) which is the voltage required to power all the items in your business.
There are 2 types of inverters to consider. A string inverter means there is one inverter for the entire solar panel system or a micro inverter which has a small inverter connected to each panel. Micro inverters are particularly useful where there is partial shading over panels.
Inverters should come with a 8-15 year warranty. Choose a brand of inverter that has been on the market for many years. The Clean Energy Council maintains a list of approved modules and inverters that meet Australian Standards for use in the design and installation of solar photovoltaic (PV) systems. The solar panels will most likely be manufactured in China, as this is where most panels are now manufactured. Choose a Tier 1 panel manufacturer.
Racking and Mounting
Panels should face due north wherever possible. If this is not possible then the panels can be spread on the east and west roof spaces ensuring generation across the day with the east receiving the morning sun and west the afternoon sun. Securing the panels to a roof is also a very important part of the process. There are a wide variety of racking systems. We should ensure that the racking system chosen is best suited to our type of roof and that all connections are waterproof and grounded.
Your energy meter will need to be upgraded as part of the system install. This process is completed by the electricity provider and should be part of the solar installers process.
Zero Emissions Noosa Inc is commissioning a Toolkit on differing finance models to help our community navigate the world of solar financing. This Toolkit will be available in the second half of 2019 and will provide a good synopsis of the different approaches to help consumers decide.
Solar PV systems generate small scale generation certificates (STC’’s). Most solar providers will quote a price including the value of the STC’s, always confirm with the installer. In Queensland Energex is also offering an energy efficiency air-conditioning incentive.
There is also financial support for eligible small business customers.
The only restrictions on claiming the small scale technology rebate (STC) are:
the system installation must be less than 100kW in size
it must be installed and designed by a Clean Energy Council (CEC) accredited professional (ask the installer to provide proof of accreditation)
panels and inverters must be approved for use in Australia by the Clean Energy Council.
The amount of STC rebates available decreases each year till it is phased out in 2030, so this is another reason why buying solar now can benefit your bottom line.