Commercial Solar FAQs
Thinking about installing solar for your business? We’re guessing you have a lot of questions!
Cherry Energy Solutions will conduct a free assessment of your property that takes approximately half an hour. It will be thorough and include analysis of your roof area, possible shading, roof material, pitch, structure and direction. Cherry will determine whether your current meter box, fuse box, wiring and switchboard are compliant and solar ready. Cherry use detailed satellite imaging to simulate how the sun moves over your property through the various seasons.
The installation requirements change slightly if your roof is tin or tiled. The optimum roof pitch depends on the latitude of your location, ranging from 12° in Darwin to 37° in Melbourne. Standard roof pitches in Australia are 15° or 22.5°, so if your roof requires additional tilt, we will discuss options for tilt frames, which can significantly improve the output of your system. Unfortunately, slate roofs are not suitable for solar.
A bi-directional meter is required for solar. A bi-directional meter can monitor and record the import and export of electricity. If you already have a smart meter, it will need to be installed. Three phase smart meters do exist and are solar enabled.
You must have your landlord's approval to install a solar system on the roof of rented premises, as only the property owner has the right to assign small-scale technology certificates (STCs) to a third party such as Cherry Energy Solutions. Environmental Upgrade Agreements (EUAs) are a financing mechanism available through the Sustainable Melbourne Fund and approved partners (such as Cherry) for tenants and landlords seeking to benefit from solar. EUAs are available in a number of Victorian and NSW local council areas and allow the cost of the solar system to be repaid via your council rates notice.
The payback will depend on the output of the system, c/kWh you pay on your electricity bill and your feed-in tariff. The typical payback achieved on commercial solar is now 4-6 years. With current electricity prices at an all-time high and escalation expected to continue, you are likely to see a generous ROI of between 15-20% which is well above current interest rates. Once you have paid for the cost of your solar system, you are looking get approximately 18-20 years of free energy from the sun! In most cases, solar is a cash flow positive investment.
Solar systems typically produce power between 8am and 4pm, with most of it consumed during the day in typical business environments. Where a system produces more electricity than is needed or consumed, excess electricity is exported to the grid. State governments in Australia have legislated that you will be eligible to receive financial compensation for exported energy. The value of FiTs varies by state, but has just increased to a minimum of 11.3c in Victoria! In any solar proposal from Cherry, your percentage export assumption will be detailed. Our aim is to minimise export where possible by sizing a system to meet your consumption patterns.
All warranties on our solar systems are manufacturer warranties. Cherry only uses trusted, proven supplies. Our mounting systems are provided by Clenergy with a 10-year structural warranty. Our top of the range solar panels are German engineered Q-Cells and come with 12-year structural warranty and 25-year output warranty. Our inverter range includes Fronius (10-year warranty), Solis (8-year warranty), Solar Edge (12-year warranty) and Solar Edge Optimisers (25-year warranty). All installation work is covered by a 5-year warranty. Electrical equipment, including circuit breakers, switches and wiring are covered by a 1-year warranty. In the event of a warranty claim, please contact our customer service team on 1300 740 784. Insurance on warranties is available for large installations.
Cherry Energy Solutions is part of Echo Group, a 100% Australian owned and operated company. Echo Group employees have more than 100 years of combined experience in solar and energy efficiency solutions. Cherry and affiliated businesses, have installed more than 10,000 solar PV system in Australia since 2007 (over 6MWs!). Cherry are the only specialist provider of 5 integrated energy efficiency solutions including solar PV systems, LED lighting, energy monitoring, energy storage and energy broking. We are proud to be a Clean Energy Council Approved Solar Retailer and the only company approved by the Sustainable Melbourne Fund to complete solar and LED installations. Both accreditations followed detailed due diligence processes. Cherry is a top 10 commercial solar company in Victoria and is a preferred supplier of LED, solar, energy monitoring and energy storage solutions to 12 Victorian councils.
We carefully manage our pool of installers and all our installers must be fully accredited by the Clean Energy Council. Where possible, we use local, trusted installers with a proven track record. Most of our installers have completed >500 projects each.
In the event of a loss of electricity to your property (a blackout), the solar system will turn off. This is in line with Australian Standard AS4777 - anti-islanding to protect people repairing the line from electric shocks. A commercial solar and battery storage solution with an Emergency Power Supply built in, will be triggered to provide power to a property in the event of a blackout.
There are two types of federal government subsidies for solar - Small-Scale Technology Certificates (STCs) and Large-Scale Generation Certificates (LGCs). STCs are issued for solar systems <99.9kW and are traded through the wholesale market. Their value is largely determined by supply and demand and wholesale prices can fluctuate considerably. LGCs can only be issued be accredited renewable energy power stations. Depending on the distributor and retailer, you could become an accredited renewable energy power station with a solar system >99.9kW. Once created and validated, LGCs act as a form of currency and can be sold and transferred to other individuals and businesses at a negotiated price. As an Accredited Provider, Cherry Energy Solutions can register LGCs for our customers in the REC Registry. In addition, some of our local council partners provide subsidies up to $5,000 for the installation of solar. Please contact us to find out if your business is in an eligible area.
First, it is good to know the difference between a kilowatt (kW) and a kilowatt hour (kWh). A kW is 1,000 Watts and is a measure of power. A kWh is a measure of energy equivalent to the power consumption of 1,000 Watts for one hour. The Clean Energy Council estimates that each 1,000W (1kW) of solar PV produces on average, 3.6 kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity per day in Victoria and 3.8 kWh in northern Victoria, New South Wales, South Australia and Queensland. You can quickly understand the amount of energy your system will generate in Victoria by calculating the system size in kWs x 3.6 kWhs. To calculate your system size, multiply the number of panels by the capacity per panel (265W). Eg. 19 panels x 265W = 5.035kW system. According to the Clean Energy Council, a 5.035kW system would therefore produce 18.126kWhs of electricity per day. A 5kW system producing 18.1kWhs per day x 365 days per year = 6,752kWhs.