A complete step by step guide to follow for Commercial Solar Installation
The first question that comes in every business owner’s mind is – How much value solar energy can bring to their business. Most businesses use electricity between 9 am and 5 pm, hence when the electricity generation is consumed on-site when the sun is shining, it provides the most rapid payback.
Now, the second question is – how to proceed further towards its installation.
- Get a detailed energy assessment done from an accredited installer: A thorough understanding of electricity charges will help you calculate the savings after solar installation. There are many factors involved in detailed energy assessment which your installer will help you understand such as hourly energy balance to make sure the electricity produced is getting utilized fully.
- Look for an experienced and accredited commercial solar installer: Commercial Solar system installation is quite complex compared to the residential solar system. It needs a detailed structural assessment of the roof area, system’s connection to the mains grid and a high-performance system tailored to your special requirements.
- Selection of PV equipment: It is a very crucial decision to make. Always go for components manufactured by companies with more than 5 years of experience in the industry and also make sure the warranty is supported locally. A good quality system lasts more than 25 years but there is a possibility that you need to avail assistance in some rare conditions so, a local installer and local assistance is a plus point.
Stop worrying about whether you can afford the cost of commercial Solar power or not as if you can pay the electricity bills, you can get the installation done. It also adds worth to your property and makes you a community leader as Australia seeks to reduce its dependence on fossil fuels. Read this article on commercial solar incentives for more details
Some tips to help you understand better:
Commercial system size break-ups:
- Less than 30 kW (Up to about 100 panels)
- 30-100 kW
- Over 100 kW
- Over 250kW
Less than 30 kW systems fall in the category of residential systems and use the same hardware and grid connection rules.
120 kWh of electricity is generated in a day on an average over a year by a 30-kW system and saves around $2000 per month (if 100% self-consumed).
Over 30 kW systems should consult specialist installers as these need special systems and permission from the local electricity network (DNSP).
For systems over 100 kW, you aren’t entitled to get STC (Small-scale Technology Certificates) rebate but you still get LGC’s.
LGC stands for Large-scale Generation certificates. LGC’s are paid every year depending upon the amount of energy your system generates. To claim LGC’s, a company needs to register its business with Clean Energy Regulator to become an “accredited power station”. A special meter needs to be installed to track power generation properly and the report of the same is to be submitted every year to claim ‘rebate’. Metering must be up to the National Electricity market standards.
- It is very important to take approval for connecting the Solar power system to Grid. Make sure to cover it with the solar installer.
- Cost varies as per the size of the system installed, panel and inverter brands being used, whether micro-inverters are needed or not. System size ranges between 30 kW to 100 kW, cost around $1000 – $1300 per kW installed, or 20-30 kW costs around $700 kW.
- Check with your energy retailer the terms of the contract signed and understand them.
- Do an analysis of the savings on electricity charges after Solar Installation like which charges will be reduced and by how much.
- A good monitoring system is must to see the reductions in a bill after solar installation. You get to see the gross consumption like the ‘before and after’ of solar installation for any particular hour. Solar Analytics offers a quality monitoring system.
- Make sure a detailed roof plan is shown before installation. A structural engineering certificate is of significant importance as physical inspection of the site by an engineer is a must.
- Sign your contracts wisely and it is advisable to show the contract to your lawyer once before signing it.