May 17, 2015
In the quest for efficiency and cost effectiveness in business, reducing overhead while maintaining high-quality is a never-ending battle. For many commercial establishments, electricity is a significant portion of their overhead. Electricity is a necessary component of industry, but there are ways to generate it without incurring heavy costs.
With the emergence of inexpensive solar panels across the globe, solar energy is becoming a more feasible option for businesses large and small. Generating your own electricity is a great way to reduce costs and improve the bottom line without making too many changes or sacrifices.
Affordability, Rebates and Incentives
Commercial solar panels’ costs have dramatically decreased in the last several years. Additionally, governments around the world offer rebates and tax credits to encourage the installation of residential and commercial solar power systems.
Between July of 2012 and 2013, the Australian government granted 25,100 rebates for small-scale solar installations. Since that time, commercial solar power has exploded in popularity. Now is the time to get affordable solar panels for your commercial property.
- The Clean Energy Council reports that in 2013 nearly 15% of Australia’s electricity was generated by renewable sources. That is enough energy to power 5 million homes for a year.
- 2013 marked the third consecutive year that Australia invested more than $5 billion in solar energy. That same year, 705 megawatts of energy was produced by solar panels and 21,000 new jobs were created.
- 3.1 million Australians either live or work at a premise with solar panels. Though populations are rising, demand for electricity from the grid decreased in Australia for the fifth consecutive year.
- Australia has the highest average solar radiation per square meter in the world. The untapped potential for solar electric generation is vast.
- If Renewable Energy Targets are removed, Australians will pay an additional $1.4 billion annually for their electricity bills after 2020.
Solar Power for Business
Solar photovoltaic (PV) panels convert sunlight to electricity using photovoltaic cells housed within the panels. These conversion systems can be integrated into new and existing structures and on rooftops. Commercial solar power panels can be scaled up to generate more megawatts of electricity with the use of concentrating mirrors or lenses. This allows large and small scale businesses to operate off of clean energy without relying upon too much backup power off the grid. In fact, some solar powered businesses are able to sell power back to the electric company.
Investing in Solar
Businesses can only succeed with their investments when there is a significant return on the initial cost of that investment. Assess the following factors to help make the choice to move to solar:
- Capital costs for converting to solar power
- Leasing options in order to convert to solar now without an initial investment
- Commercial solar financing options
- Megawatt needs – average electricity use
- Predicted megawatt yield of the solar system
- Tariffs on electricity you currently pull off the grid
- Available space and structural environment for installing solar panels
- Period of time before the investment provides returns
- Net Present Value of the solar system
Before choosing a dealer, be prepared to ask important questions and understand the implications of their answers. Australian commercial solar company, Infinite Energy offers the following questions to ask the salesman these questions and do independent research in order to ensure you are making the best possible investment for your business:
- Does the manufacturer have a strong presence in your country? If they are a foreign company and problems arise with the solar panels, making warranty claims will be difficult or impossible.
- Is the manufacturer well-known? If not, try to learn all you can about the company before making a purchase. In a decade when solar panels need maintenance, or you need to make a warranty claim, they could be out of business.
- All solar panel systems are comprised of various components. Look up the manufacturers of these components to see how much information is available and whether or not they even have a website.
- Learn about the mounting system to be used with each solar panel system. Are the components rust resistant?
- Research the required size of the wires needed with the system. Make sure that installers are using the proper gauge of AC (not DC) cable. If improper cables are used, the system will perform unimpressively.
- Can you receive a free consultation and comprehensive bid?
- Does the installer/manufacturer have a troubleshooting team? What about customer service?
- Can they give you ROI projections?
Doing your homework today ensures you avoid problems with your system in the years to come. Commercial solar is potentially an excellent investment for the future of your business. Not only does it reduce your business overhead, it is better for the environment than traditional means of generating energy. Lower your costs, get off the grid and do something great for the environment.
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