3 Jul 2020
Choose the Right Solar System Size
Fortunately, many businesses find that taking this route sets them back no more than paying for electricity from the grid, with dramatically reduced exposure to fluctuating energy prices. Your office or government building, commercial site or school may be perfect for a solar energy solution bearing countless benefits.
When the right design decisions are made, offsetting a high proportion of your energy usage is an achievable goal.
With that in mind, here are a few key points to factor in for a cost-effective outcome – you may even end up with a positive cash-flow
By choosing a solar system size that’s appropriate for your building and the nature of your activities, you’ll be set up to meet your energy needs with optimal efficiency.
Small to Medium Size Business Solar Systems: 20 – 50 kW
These commercial solar systems are larger than residential arrays and are suited to the needs of small/medium businesses such as office buildings, retailers, primary schools, childcare, kindergartens, clubs, hospitality and leisure venues and other establishments with energy demands of 150kWh plus per day. 20kW solar systems generate around 72kWh on average.
Projects may qualify for Small Scale Technology Certificates under the STC Renewable Energy Scheme.
Commercial Grade Solar Systems: 50 – 100 kW
Depending on the size of the building and energy demands, larger multi-storey office buildings, secondary schools and other sites that use 350kWh plus would require commercial solar systems sized between 50-100kW for day to day operations.
Did you know that solar systems under 100kW could qualify for Small Scale Technology Certificates under the Federal Government STC Renewable Energy Scheme?
Additionally, there are many different funding options available for renewable energy projects including funding over a longer period of time where you pay nothing up front and are cash flow positive from the start with an Environmental Upgrade Agreements (EUA)* or, get a solar system installed with a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA), and only pay a reduced rate on your electricity for an agreed period then own it for $1!
*In New South Wales, Environmental Upgrade Agreements (EUA) are referred to as Building Upgrade Finance (BUF).
Larger Commercial Grade Solar Systems: 100 – 300 kW
Large commercial solar systems over 100kW may be eligible for Large-Scale Generation Certificates. Commercial solar systems over 100kW can support a vast range of high energy consuming business types typically indicative of the following industries:
- Large Commercial Offices
- Shopping Centres
- Warehouses and Industrial Spaces
- Transport and Logistics Sites
- Food Processing, Beverage and Manufacturing Facilities
- Storage Facilities
Industrial Grade Solar Systems: Over 300 kW
These industrial solar power systems are installed on large roofs of buildings and businesses with very high energy demands. These businesses include sizable factories, super complexes and plants.
Solar systems above 100kW can also be ground mounted and/or constructed as solar farms.
Opt for High Quality Panels
High quality PV panels are worth investing in – they have better longevity, reliability and efficiency than their cheaper counterparts, saving you money in the long term. Cherry Energy Solutions recommends panels from these manufacturers:
A well-known market leader that you can trust boasting a 10% global market share, JA Solar panels are backed by 25-year linear power output warranty and 12-year product warranty.
Another industry-leading PV manufacturer, Hanwha Q CELLS solar panels are known for their stability, certified quality and high level of performance. Q CELLS products are also backed by an impressive 12-year product warranty and a 25 year performance warranty with 83% original rated power at 25 years.
SunPower solar panels incorporate cutting-edge technology, with cells designed to capture and convert more sunlight than conventional commercial cells. SunPower is a highly reputable brand for commercial applications boasting a market leading 25 year product quality AND performance warranty.
Add a Solar Storage System
All solar systems will generate varying amounts of power throughout the year – for example, summer may see more power generated due to increased sunlight.
By adding solar storage capabilities, you can store excess power generated by your solar system for use in the evening or early morning, dramatically reducing your reliance on the grid and further slashing your energy bills.
Cherry Energy Solutions is a Certified Installer of the Tesla Powerpack. These fully integrated, AC-connected commercial battery storage systems feature state-of-the-art technology, and can be scaled to your site’s energy needs, whether it be an office block or large-scale regional utility.
Monitor Energy Usage
Keeping track of energy usage is essential in getting the most from your commercial solar system.
With this in mind, Cherry Energy Solutions has developed Cherry Pulse, an intelligent energy monitoring system that allows you to keep tabs on how your business is consuming electricity in real time.
By enabling you to manage energy usage at a circuit and appliance level, using actual energy tariffs, it gives you the tools to stay in control of your business’ energy spend.
Weigh Up the Cost
When investing in solar panels for commercial buildings, cost can be a deciding factor in what level of energy offset can be achieved.
Ultimately, the cost will depend on the solar system size and type of panels you choose, together with the inclusion of add-ons such as storage and energy monitoring. The key thing to keep in mind is that these same factors will determine the capacity of your solar system to save you money in the long term.
The longevity, efficiency and overall performance of your solar system will reflect the quality of the installation, so it’s worth getting advice from a solar company experienced in commercial installations.
Look for a company that offers additional products, services and benefits such as a sustainability partner program and post installation packages to compliment your solar installation including performance reviews, monitoring, an emergency response team, longer installation warranties and proactive maintenance.
Cherry Energy Solutions is fully equipped to help transition your business to solar power, as well as advise on the range of financial incentives available from state and federal governments.