Commercial Solar Energy Systems: An Introductory Guide

by Solar Selections on December 6, 2011

Commercial solar energy systems are exciting prospects. Established to provide energy security for large corporate sites, small to mid scale power supply for remote operational energy, solar farming or purely investment interests, commercial solar power is big business. In places like the United States and Germany millions of pounds have been invested and made by intelligent business owners capitalising on unused roof or land space. Easy to contemplate when one considers the minimum long term performance warranties on systems, low maintenance costs and rising energy prices that organisations are experiencing the world over. This article will highlight some of the unique considerations that are associated with commercial solar energy systems in the UK.

The feed-in tariffs for commercial installations is proposed to be reduced after the 12th of December 2011. The new rates as a sole benefit for commercial applications would not be seen as sufficient to offset the large capital outlay required for commercial solar installations. However in combination with finance, the offsetting of energy costs and the unique tax benefits that are present the investment begins to gain traction.

Commercial Complications

There are a number of important considerations that step above residential installations for solar power systems. These include whether the system is ground mounted (as may be the only option with mW sized systems), flush mounted or installed with tilt frames, whether planning permission from a council or heritage protection body is needed and if connection to the grid of such a sized energy generator is straightforward or even possible. These are important considerations as ground mounting and council permission/heritage listing administration can be time consuming and expensive. In addition, the electrical grid in the region of the install needs to be suitable to handle the energy generation so this needs to be verified with the Distribution Network Operator (DNO). Commissioning extra power lines or transformers should the grid not be capable are both expensive undertakings.

Finance

One of the most prohibitive aspects to commercial solar installations is the large capital outlay involved upfront. When this can be avoided, either way way of finance, leasing or staggered payment options, viability increases dramatically. In the current European economic climate, the prospect of financing through large lenders has become more more difficult. To counter this, Solar Selections’ parent company Solar Choice in Australia has come up with a unique package for commercial customers that involves no upfront payments and no ceiling of finance needed to install commercial solar energy systems. The package, outlined here, is being introduced in the UK early in 2012, and only your Solar Selections Commercial Broker can help with further information. Contact us today for some preliminary details.

Return on Investment

Pricing for commercial sized solar systems can differ significantly depending on a large number of factors. Much like with residential price disparities it comes down to all relevant aspects of the project including but not limited to component manufacturing and sourcing, installation company, sources of finance and interest rates on loans, feed-in tariff rates, wholesale energy prices and technology type. There are a lot of factors to consider, and when it becomes apparent just how many thousands of panel brands, inverters and companies allege to offer services for commercial project managers it can become overwhelming. That’s where a Solar Selections Commercial project is different from any other source of independent project management; we carry out our research on an ongoing basis meaning we immediately have the right lines of interest and enquiry to move projects forward in an informed and collective manner. We also have connections with all corners of the industry, allowing us a bird’s eye view of the elements involved.

Solar Selections Commercial is confident in delivering objective based solutions that adhere to our clients returns and generation targets. This includes investments that maintain cash-flow positive positions from day one, returns on investment well above 10% and no upper ceilings on finance or system size. A concise and effective range of options exists, and any interested parties are encouraged to contact Solar Selections today to find out more.

Written by Jarrah Harburn

jarrah@solarselections.co.uk

T: 020 7205 2267

© Solar Selections Ltd 2011

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