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Solar for small business – what to understand

One of the most common questions we encounter every day is ‘I have a small business, is solar suitable for me?’. Well, the short answer is YES. If you use electricity in your business, then a commercial solar system can reduce your ongoing costs, and in some cases can even make you and your business money.

But like most things these days, there are an abundant of choices and options on the market. This is where selecting the right size system is important. If you use a small amount of power each month, there’s no point in investing in a huge system. Or if you use the majority of your electricity in the evening, then a solar system may not be a viable option without battery storage.

To make it a little easier, we’ve highlighted some of the factors to consider when looking at solar for your small (or large) business:

When do you use most of your power?
To arm yourself with as much information as possible, it’s best to get to know your electricity bill inside and out. The main things to look for are;

  • How much power do you use on a daily & monthly basis
  • When do you use most of your power? Is it during that day, at night, and what days use the most power?
  • What are you being charged per kWh by your energy company?

By understanding your bill, you can gauge how solar will affect your costs. If you operate during normal business hours (9-5 Mon-Fri), then generally solar will be well suited. For businesses that operate at night, then solar on its own may not be as suitable. The goal of rooftop solar energy systems is to offset power used from the grid during sunlight hours.

Do you own the building or premises?
Most of our commercial clients don’t own their business premises, which is no problem when installing solar. Most property owners will allow a solar system to be installed for a variety of reasons, and we see a range of agreements between tenants and landlords to get it installed.

Some landlords will even invest in solar for a small increase in rent, or allow the tenant to install the system at their own cost. Whatever the case, it’s best to discuss your options with the property owner first. Our team are experts in negotiating with landlords when it comes to solar, and we’re more than happy to help. And hey, if you own the building, that’s even better!  

How much do you want to invest and what payment options to consider?
If you you’re lucky to have some cash already set aside for solar energy, then you’re pretty much ready to look at installers. Unfortunately, most small businesses are not cash-rich, meaning any investment must offer significant benefits for it to make sense. Luckily we have several purchase options for investing in solar, including no upfront cost rental agreements, financing or loans, power purchasing agreements (PPA) and more. Click here for a more detailed list of payment options.

And your initial investment can be further reduced if you are eligible for government rebates and incentives. In most cases, solar systems for small-medium businesses are eligible for the Federal Government STC rebate, saving you thousands off the installation cost.

And depending on your situation, the right payment solution with the right sized solar system can save you over 90% on your energy costs and provide positive cashflow for your business (ie. your energy savings are greater than your ongoing lease payments).

What sized solar system is right for me?
It all depends on your usage and what you want to achieve, plus the amount of roofspace available for solar panels. It’s best to offset as much of your daytime electricity use as possible with solar energy.

Our energy experts can assist in determining the best size system for your business, giving you the best possible return on your investment. Get in touch for a no obligation chat.

What return or savings can I expect?
For most commercial solar systems, a payback period within 4-5 years is considered standard. This will depend on a range of factors, including the initial investment and your usage. We’ve had clients you have wiped their entire electricity usage from their bill, while others have saved around 80% on their electricity costs.

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