Solar for business

Why choose solar?

Remember that solar generates when the sun is shining and if you can use the power at that time then you get it straight from your roof – for free!

Most businesses can benefit from solar as they use electricity during the day – when the sun is shining!

 

What size do I need?

Finding the system that best suits your needs will depend on:

  • How much electricity your business uses (daily usage)
  • Your roof size, its orientation and shade
  • The types of machinery and equipment your business uses
  • Your budget

What additional costs may be incurred?

If you don’t already have a smart meter then you will need to get one installed, which typically costs between $350 and $450.Some electricity retailers are offering free smart meter upgrades as part of new retail contracts, so ask your retailer (who you pay the bill to) if this is available.

Older buildings may also require an upgrade of the electricity meter board, which will cost at least $800.

Environmental Upgrade Agreements (EUA’s)

You may also be eligible for funding through Environmental Upgrade Agreements (EUAs). EUAs are a council based funding mechanism in NSW. EUAs are set up to help building owners, tenants and investors finance environmental upgrades such as LED lighting, insulation and solar energy.

The basics

  • Building owner agrees to upgrades
  • Building owner, council and finance provider enter into an EUA
  • Finance provider advances funds for the upgrade
  • Council collects repayments through a rates based system and then passes the repayments through to the finance provider
  • The building owner can ask the tenants to contribute or cover the cost of the upgrades through the savings made on their energy bills and running costs

 EUAs can offer excellent ways for businesses to:

  • Reduce running costs
  • Install renewable energy systems, such as solar
  • Reduce greenhouse gas emissions
  • Improve working conditions

What if I don’t own the building or it’s a shared roof?

Depending on your lease arrangement solar may still be a good option for you. Call one of the Our Energy Future experts to see how this might work for your business, on 1300 339 915.

Could the panels be damaged in a storm?

It is very unlikely that the weather can damage your panels. The panels are made with a low-iron tempered glass face and are specifically designed and certified to withstand large hailstones.  The aluminium frames are anodized for extra durability and long life.

Do I need to clean or maintain the panels?

Most people leave it to the rain to wash the panels but if there have been extended periods of dry weather it is worth considering giving the panels a clean. It is advisable to get a professional to clean the panels to avoid getting up on the roof yourself. This will remove a build up of dust, dirt and bird droppings (particularly after a long dry spell). In small amounts these won’t have much effect on the output but over time a build up can reduce the effectiveness of the solar panel. Once a year or even every few years should be sufficient, as part of overall system check.

Can I mount the panels in any direction?

Facing due north is the ideal orientation, but panels facing more east or west can still provide a high percentage of available power (perhaps 10–15% reduction).

The optimum tilt angle of the solar electricity panels in Sydney is 33.9 degrees. But most roof pitches are 20-25 degrees and the additional cost of installing a higher tilt framing is not justified compared to just adding an extra panel if you want to improve the annual generation from the lower pitch.

What happens in a power outage?

Your solar power system will instantly shut off if the grid fails. This is Australian law and is designed to protect electrical line workers.  When the grid power is shut off, the workers expect the lines to be dead so they can safely repair faults.  If your system keeps producing electricity, it can risk the lives of the line workers.  This also protects any electricians doing work within your business.

It is possible to get solar power systems that continue to generate independently of the grid (they include an isolation switch). However these are not standard, so will cost more and need to be specifically asked for from the installer.

What’s next?

The Our Energy Future experts can offer you free advice over the phone. If you would like to receive an energy assessment with tailored advice call one of the Our Energy Future experts on 1300 339 915 to book one in.

Help with the upfront cost of installing solar

Under state government schemes in both New South Wales and Victoria certain businesses qualify for varying levels of rebates on installing solar.

The following categories of businesses that qualify are:

  • Education
  • Industrial
  • Healthcare
  • Hospitality
  • Offices
  • Retail
  • Showrooms
  • Supermarkets

You may also be eligible for funding through Environmental Upgrade Agreements (EUAs). EUAs are a council based funding mechanism in Victorian and NSW. EUAs are set up to help building owners, tenants and investors finance environmental upgrades such as LED lighting, insulation and solar energy.

The basics

  • Building owner agrees to upgrades
  • Building owner, council and finance provider enter into an EUA
  • Finance provider advances funds for the upgrade
  • Council collects repayments through a rates based system and then passes the repayments through to the finance provider
  • The building owner can ask the tenants to contribute or cover the cost of the upgrades through the savings made on their energy bills and running costs

 EUAs can offer excellent ways for businesses to:

  • Reduce running costs
  • Install renewable energy systems, such as solar
  • Reduce greenhouse gas emissions
  • Improve working conditions

At present, council areas offering EUAs include:

Victoria

  • City of Greater Bendigo
  • Hobsons Bay City Council
  • Greater Geelong
  • Greater Shepperton
  • City of Maribyrnong
  • City of Melbourne
  • Moreland City Council
  • Mornington Peninsula
  • South Gippsland Shire
  • Wyndham City Council

And currently setting up:

  • Brimbank City Council
  • Dandenong City Council
  • Mildura Rural City Council

New South Wales

  • Blacktown City
  • Lake Macquarie City
  • City of Newcastle
  • North Sydney
  • Parramatta City
  • City of Sydney