Solar for Business Top Tips

20 November 2017

For the month of November, Albury and Wodonga have been rolling out a program of events for the Sustainable Living Festival 2017. Of particular interest to the business community was the Business Efficiency Breakfast which covered everything from methods by which energy consumption / costs can be reduced and successful case studies, to grant information and solar installation.

AlburyCity provides a successful example of the how solar installation can make good business sense, not just from a sustainability point of view, but also an economic one.

Having rolled out solar across eight of its properties, AlburyCity saved an estimated $54,700 in 2016/17. With solar generally accepted to last 25 years, AlburyCity’s projects have a five year payback rate at current electricity rates, meaning that the systems will more than pay for themselves over the life of the units.

Solar systems owned by council produced 283,678kWh in 2016/17, of which 1,470kWh were exported back to the grid. As a result, council consumed close to 100 per cent of the energy it created via solar.

With electricity prices on the rise and the cost of solar photovoltaic (PV) systems on the decline, solar is becoming increasingly more affordable for a range of businesses looking to offset energy consumption.

The Clean Energy Council (CEC) has produced a Guide to Installing Solar PV for Businesses in New South Wales which provides some handy tips and things to consider if you’re thinking of investing in solar.

The top six tips for businesses considering solar are:

  1. Understand the electricity consumption of your business to determine the viability of PV for your business and choose the right size system for your needs.
  2. Investigate the different financial models available – upfront purchase, leasing, power purchase and Environmental Upgrade Agreements etc.
  3. Understand your electricity tariffs and how they might change; this will affect your investment business case.
  4. Check if the solar retailer you’re using has signed onto the CEC Solar Retailer Code of Conduct and CEC-accredited installers are used.
  5. There are a diverse range of products, technology and warranties available – do your due diligence.
  6. Engage with your electricity distributor early to understand technical grid connection requirements.

Additionally, it's best to implement energy efficiency projects first, otherwise your energy needs may change, resulting in the installation of an oversized solar system.

Generally, sites operating during the day will benefit most from solar installation and paybacks are improved for those operating seven days a week.

For businesses or residents interested in exploring renewable energy opportunities, a Renewable Energy Forum will be held at the Thurgoona Golf Club on 30 November from 6.30-8.30pm, as part of the Sustainable Living Festival 2017.

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