Commercial Solar Panels - Iddea

Best Commercial Solar Panels for Your Business

Installing solar panels at your home or commercial property, allows you to harness the power of the sun and reduce your energy bill by as much as fifty percent. Not only will you be saving money, but you can make it; with the government’s feed-in tariff scheme, you can earn as much as £5,500 – and all earnings are tax free and index linked.

There are lots of misconceptions about solar panel installation in the U.K.; people may think it’s too cloudy here, or that there’s no funding available. However, from Wiltshire to Inverness, from Scarborough to South-End, across each stretch of this country, installing solar panels can save home owners money.

Why You Should Install Solar Panels

  • Reduce Your Electricity Bills. Sunshine doesn’t cost a penny. Once you’ve paid for an installation, you’ll only have to switch to the National Grid at night, meaning your energy bills could reduce by as much as fifty percent. Sit back and watch your electricity outgoings get smaller and smaller.
  • Get Paid. Thanks to the government’s feed-in tariff scheme, you can get paid just for installing solar panels.
  • Sell Electricity Back to the Grid. Look to generate a passive income? Thanks to the FiT, you can earn a tax-free income of up to £5,500 pounds a year.
  • Live a Little Greener. Unlike the electricity coming from the grid, you’ll know yours is coming from a clean energy source. So, you can sleep a little easier at night knowing you’re doing your bit to save the planet.

How Effective is Solar PV?

The average domestic system for solar panels averages at 4kWp, and commercial systems can be much bigger. However, if you think of the energy generated by commercial solar panels alone, it’s truly astonishing.

In the South East England, an average size commercial solar PV system can generate as much as 3,800 kilowatt hours of electricity a year. That’s the same amount of energy needed to turn the London Eye fifty times.

The same system in Scotland will generate just a little less electricity, at 3,200 kilowatts a year. However, that’s still enough energy to keep the Falkirk Wheel turning over 2,100 times.

As you can see, solar photovoltaic panels are effective at producing substantial amounts of energy, wherever you are in the country. All this green energy production means that just one, average sized, commercial solar panel installation eliminates 1.4 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions each year.

Why Solar Works for Businesses

Solar panels are a wise investment for businesses. Most operate over a larger territory than commercial premises, which means their larger installations are more cost effective.

Solar panels can save businesses money in many ways:

  • Free Energy. Instead of shelling out, your business will harness the power of light for its energy requirements. After the initial outgoing, all energy is free.
  • Reduced Energy Outgoings. Most businesses use the lion’s share of their energy during the daytime. Now solar panels are covering that, the cost of energy outgoings should reduce dramatically – improving your profit margins.
  • Cash-in on the Feed-in Tariff. Thanks to the FiT, your business will be making money for at least twenty years, just by installing solar panels. If you include the amount you’ll be paid for putting electricity back into the grid, you’ll be lining your pockets nicely.
  • Look Good to Customers. These days, many consumers care about how green their businesses are. If you’re shown to be an environmentally conscious enterprise, you may just attract more custom.

How Does Solar PV Work?

There’s often a bit of confusion between the difference between solar panels and photovoltaics. Photovoltaic comes from the Greek photo, for light, and voltaic, which is the origin of our modern word ‘volt’ and means electricity.

However, there is no real difference between solar panels and solar PV – a.k.a. photovoltaics. Solar panel is the colloquial name, and photovoltaic the technical name. As the origin of the name suggests, what solar panels do is convert light into electricity.

A common misconception is that solar panels need heat to work; but they actually run off light. Much like how a plant can photosynthesise in cloudy weather, so can photo panels produce energy. The fact that the U.K. is cloudy doesn’t impact on the ability for solar panels to function.

Using photovoltaic cells, the panels take the sun’s rays and transform them into energy. As light hits a photovoltaic cell, an electric field is created across the material. The material is a semiconductor – the most popular of which is silicon – and this semiconductor absorbs the photons from the light, and as a result, releases electrons from the atoms. These electrons can be captured, and then harnessed to produce electricity.

Photovoltaic panels produce DC current energy, which is converted into AC current to allow the energy to be used in your home. This electricity is channelled into your home, where it can be used to power your lighting, your television, and any other household appliance.

Thanks to the government’s feed-in tariff scheme, any excess energy you produce in Dorset, Surrey and anywhere else in the U.K. can be sold back to the national grid. It’s converted from AC to DC and sent back into the national grid – meaning that, thanks to the feed-in tariff scheme, solar panels can make you money.

What is the Feed-in Tariff?

The feed-in tariff (FiT) is a scheme set up by the U.K. government, and is also known as the Clean Energy Cashback – with good reason. Not only can you get payments just for installing panels under the scheme, you can also begin to generate a passive income.

The U.K. has a legally binding target to make by 2020; 15% of our energy must be sourced from renewables, or we run foul of international law. The government wanted to incentivise the adoption of renewable energy technology in our homes and our businesses, so the feed-in tariff was introduced.

Photovoltaic solar panels are a renewable energy source which are eligible for FiT, meaning that if you own a solar panel generator, you’re able to start earning an income off that basis alone. How much money you can earn is dependent on the amount of space you’ve dedicated to your solar panels.

How Much Can You be Paid Under the FiT?

  • Generation Tariff. For each unit (kilowatt per hour) of electricity you generate, your electricity supplier will pay you a set rate. Once you have a registered system, these payments are guaranteed for up to twenty years and are index-linked. Sit back and let the money roll-in.
  • Export Tariff. Any electricity you don’t use yourself, thanks to the FiT, can be sold back to the National Grid. Most domestic systems are too small to have a smart meter installed, so instead it is estimated that your system is selling 50% of its energy to the grid – and you will be paid accordingly. For commercial system, a smart meter will be installed only if your system is over a whopping 30kWp.
  • Energy Bill Savings. Prepare to reduce the cost of your energy bills by as much as 50%. Now you have your own system generating your own electricity, you won’t have to buy as much electricity from your supplier – and your bills should decline dramatically. Now you’ll only have to switch to the National Grid at night – meaning your energy bills can plummet by as much as half.

The payment levels you receive from the FiT makes photovoltaic solar panel installation a great idea. Not only do you make money without having to do anything, you also contribute to reducing the UK’s carbon footprint.

Factors that Affect PV Installation Costs:

  • The more electricity a photovoltaic system can generate, the greater the initial cost of solar panel installation. However – that means the greater amount of savings.
  • Larger systems, such as commercial systems over a wide area, are even more cost-effective than an average sized domestic system.
  • Panels which are mounted into a roof are more effective than panels which just sit atop a roof.
  • PV tiles cost more than a typical PV panel system.

Solar PV Maintenance

Once you have installed a photovoltaic system, they will need very little maintenance. Most panels will last at least 25 years; but many more are expected to last much longer.

To maintain the effectiveness of your panels, it’s advised to keep them clean, but you don’t have to do that yourself – at a tilt of 15° or more, rainfall will clean them and guarantee optimal performance. If they are mounted, the rainfall cleaning will be less effective, so you would be advised to clean away debris yourself to ensure they work as best they can.

Panels should be installed without trees blocking the sun’s light – if any trees grow and start to block the light of your solar panels, just make sure you trim them.

As long as your panels are at a good tilt and your trees aren’t in the way, your panels should require almost no maintenance at all – for over 25 years of great performance.