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Solar Panels For Business

Invest in commercial solar panels for significant energy bill savings and a reduced business carbon footprint

Commercial solar panels are suitable for a range of different businesses, from small firms to office buildings to schools, warehouses, manufacturing plants and up to industrial-scale solar farms. Switchable can help businesses find cost-effective and sustainable solar energy solutions of varying scales.

Commercial solar PV systems help reduce business energy costs and carbon footprints. The right bespoke system tailored to your energy needs could not only provide you with sufficient supply to run your business, but could also produce a surplus of electricity which could be sold to generate an income for many years to come.

Why do you need commercial solar panels?

Purchasing commercial solar panels is generally a good option for the majority of businesses as it can have a real impact on reducing energy bills and a business’ impact on the environment. The benefits of installing solar panels at a commercial business are many and include:

Energy bill savings

Solar energy is effectively free energy. If a business is able to generate the majority of its energy needs from its own solar on site, then its mains electricity consumption will decrease and it won’t be overburdened by its electricity bills and will be protected from potential future price hikes.

Boosts energy security

Aside from protection from electricity price rises, commercial solar panels give businesses energy security as they will have confidence that their business can still function even if there are power outages in the area as their solar PV system will continue to produce during daylight hours.

Carbon emissions reduced

Solar power is clean, renewable energy and will have a positive impact on a business’ carbon footprint. Choosing to install commercial solar panels will reduce reliance on fossil fuels and contribute towards the overall UK-wide commitment to Net Zero carbon target by 2050.

Enhanced ‘green’ credentials

Today’s more eco-conscious customer is more concerned with a businesses’ approach to environmental matters, and may actively seek out those with a greener outlook using more renewable energy options. Producing your own clean energy, reducing your carbon footprint — and letting people know about it — will enhance your reputation and impress many more potential customers and clients.

What Size Commercial Solar Panel System Is Required?

Commercial solar panels cost a significant amount so you want to be certain that the PV system being installed is the right size for your needs to ensure you get the maximum return from it. Trusted solar panels for business installers recommended by Switchable will help you work out the optimal sized solar system for your business.

Commercial solar panel installations can range from the smallest, around 4kW set up, right up to a 300kW system. The size of your commercial PV system will be determined by a number of factors including:

  • roof space size
  • annual energy usage
  • the size of your business
    nature of your business (and resultant demand for energy)
  • number of daylight hours in your location

Work with Switchable’s recommended partners for a better understanding of the size of commercial solar panel setup you will need for your business.

Add battery storage to your commercial solar system

Installing commercial solar panels is advantageous, and when combined with battery storage allows you to get the maximum out of your solar PV system. Not only are you able to power your business during daylight hours and significantly reduce energy costs, solar batteries enable you to store energy for later use.

With battery storage you are making full use of the solar energy produced during the day at the times when your system is no longer producing or producing solar power at lower levels. Solar batteries also ensure that you have your own power source at times when there is a power outage.

A solar professional will be able to advise on the size of battery storage that will work best for your premises to ensure that you are not overspending on excessive battery storage or underutilising battery storage potential.

How much does commercial solar PV installation cost?

Business solar panels are bespoke so there are no standard costs to compare against. Some commercial solar PV installations may consist of multiple solar panels, each capable of producing around 200W, while others may require much larger set ups with panels capable of producing 500W per panel, which inevitably are more costly.

Other factors such as brand and technology used will also impact price. Add to this different requirements for solar battery storage, and you’ll have widely varying installation costs.

Many businesses will finance their commercial solar PV system with a business loan, and then make use of the savings on energy bills to cover their repayments. Another option is a power purchase agreement, whereby a business would just rent their roof space out and then purchase discounted solar energy from the solar panels on their roof. For a detailed business solar quote including discussion of your finance options, contact Switchable today.

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Are commercial solar panels suitable for all businesses?

Commercial solar panel systems aren’t always the right option for every business. The solar electricity produced has to be in sufficient quantities that the business will make enough in terms of bill savings to see a return on their investment over time.

If the business has plans to move from their current location before they’ve had payback on their solar investment, a commercial solar installation may not make financial sense. Typical payback on business solar investment is around 5-10 years, so moving within this period will affect the return on investment.

Additionally, not every business has sufficient available roof space (or land) to install a solar array large enough to meet their energy needs. The amount of solar power they are able to generate could be too small to generate any real payback on the investment.

Are commercial solar panels really worth it?

If the sums really add up for you and a solar investment nets you significant savings then making the move to solar can really pay off. The benefits of business solar panels extend beyond just saving money.

A reduced carbon footprint and enhanced reputation as a ‘green’ or more eco-friendly business, plus increased energy independence, are all factors that add up to making commercial solar panels an investment that makes sense for the majority of businesses.

Add to this the fact that, depending on the size of your solar array and how much energy you produce and consume, you could actually produce a surplus with a commercial installation that could generate additional income. Businesses are able, under the Smart Export Guarantee (SEG), to sell excess energy that they don’t use to the national grid to receive SEG payments, so this might be another reason for your business to go solar.

Make the first steps to solar savings

The financial savings from solar panels for businesses make them an attractive proposition for many. While the initial cost of installing solar on commercial buildings can be off putting for some, the financial benefits are almost immediate and will be long-term.

Find out how much difference solar panels could make to your business by enquiring today. The solar panel experts we refer you to will carry out a full assessment and provide industry leading advice regarding the optimal commercial solar system that will bring you the best cost savings and return on investment.

While the time taken to install your solar panels will vary according to the scale and complexity of your solar project, you could have a solar set up in a matter of weeks and be making your day-to-day operations more efficient by reducing your energy consumption. Once you give the go-ahead, you’ll be provided with a detailed timescale for completion and projections of the sort of returns you could expect from your new solar PV installation.

Commercial Solar Panels FAQS:

Here are some of the common questions businesses ask about commercial solar panels.

The lifespan of commercial solar panels has improved over time as the renewable technology used has advanced. The industry standard lifespan for commercial solar panels is around 25-30 years, and many manufacturers offer warranties of up to 25 years.

Some modern solar panels are expected to last as much as 40-50 years, provided they are regularly maintained and cleaned. This sort of longevity can bring long-term savings over a considerable number of years.

Solar panels do not have to have direct sunlight to produce solar power. Essentially they can operate with any form of daylight, meaning that your solar panels will still be able to generate electricity even on cloudy or rainy days, although at a reduced rate. In fact, some rain can even be beneficial to some extent by washing away dust or dirt on the panels which may be affecting efficiency levels.

Your solar panels will generate free electricity for your business throughout the entire year, but it is inevitable that they will produce less in the winter when the number of daylight hours is less. Incidentally, colder temperatures can sometimes mean that the solar panels work more efficiently than they do during extreme hot weather.

While it is true that the prices of going solar have fallen significantly for business, especially since the early days of solar adoption, prices have stabilised to a large extent. Solar panel technology has advanced that panels are so efficient now that any further improvements will be somewhat incremental.

What has travelled in the other direction is energy prices. The high cost of powering your business will inevitably be putting a strain on your business finances, so there probably has never been a better time to embrace renewable technologies, make the shift to solar power, and save money.

The most commonly used for business installations are monocrystalline solar panels. These are considered the most efficient solar panel type with higher output, so you’ll need fewer panels and less space than for other types of solar panel for the same power output. They tend to have a longer lifespan than other solar panels and as such can be more expensive, but generally will deliver a return on investment far quicker.

An alternative for commercial buildings is polycrystalline panels. While less efficient, their lower performance makes them a more affordable option for businesses that need a large solar array but want to keep down their initial costs.

Other less common options include thin-film solar panels, which are generally the cheapest option but least energy efficient option so therefore require a much larger scale solar array. Passive Emitter and Rear Cell (PERC) solar panels which are a modification of monocrystalline panels and utilise technology on the rear layer to enhance efficiency and increase power output.

Solar installers will do their best to keep on site disruption to a minimum when installing your solar PV system. Since the bulk of work will involve the siting of the solar panels themselves outdoors, this can usually be done without much interruption to your business activities.

One of our recommended installers will take the time to understand your business, commercial building, and location and work with you on a set up and installation that will secure your future energy supply but cause minimal disruption to you.

Planning permission is not usually required for commercial solar panels that are sited on a roof space as they will be considered Permitted Development since they will be unlikely to impact on the look of the building or impact neighbouring properties. The only exceptions to this are if the business is located on a listed building or within a World Heritage Site or conservation area that’s subject to specific local rules time. A ground mounted array of solar panels (more than nine metres squared), however, will usually require planning permission.

There are a number of ways in which solar panels can be financed putting them within the reach of a lot of companies, but not everyone will be the right option for every business. Some available options include:

  • Loan providers supplying the finance for a solar system in the knowledge that the resulting energy bill savings will allow businesses to meet the loan repayments.
  • Offsetting the solar installation cost using the Annual Investment Allowance. This will save businesses 19% on the cost by effectively reducing their corporate tax bill.
  • Power Purchase Agreements (PPA) that allow businesses to have a solar PV system installed on their premises for minimal or no upfront cost. The business then buys the energy from the PPA provider at a reduced rate.