Dipping your toe into solar power can be intimidating. With the kind of investment you’ll have to make, you want to be sure that you buy the exact right system, and that you won’t be throwing good money after bad.
If you’re a business owner based in the UK, however, you’re in luck. The government’s feed-in tariff program is so lucrative, it has nearly doubled solar power installations in the past few years.
Here at Modernize, we work with a lot of green-thinking businesses, and we know that you want to be as informed as you can be before you take the plunge into solar. Let’s take a look at some of the costs and incentives—as well as a few additional ideas for your business that will let you take advantage of maximum savings.
Calculating the cost of your business’s solar system is a somewhat murky matter, largely because cost depends on a few factors, like how big you want your system to be, and what kind of cells you use. The bigger your system, and the more efficient your panel’s cells, the more you’re going to have to put down on that initial installation investment. Generally, a good system size for a medium-sized business is about 10 kW, which costs approximately £20,000.
If your business is in a large building (or multiple buildings), or if your company uses a lot of power-hungry machinery, plan on buying a larger system in order to reap the benefits of a solar setup. You can use this calculator to give you an idea of what kind of system you’ll need.
Still, the best way to get a clear picture of your solar needs is to track your actual electricity usage over a year. Your electricity bills will tell you much more about your energy needs throughout the seasons.
If the idea of plunking down £20,000 makes your eyes cross, don’t worry. The Solar Trade Association (STA) calculates that solar power produces a return on investment of up to 11.4%. And some of this ROI is from savings on electricity bills.
Other sources report that a 10kW system could net you as much as £2,000 per year. Considering that the annual total energy cost for an average UK business is £2,528, that’s a huge return.
Again, savings are going to depend on the size of your system, your location, and your energy needs, among other factors.
Feed-in Tariffs Another perk of investing in solar energy is the UK’s feed-in tariff program. Your energy needs and the amount of energy you harvest will fluctuate from day to day. In this program, the government pays back grid-tied residents and business owners who have installed solar photovoltaic systems for any extra energy they feed back into the system.
The Department of Energy & Climate Change’s current rates are up to 12.9p per kWh of solar energy generated. However, be aware that as of the middle of January 2016, those rates will drop by as much as 87%. Still, the program will be paying out between 10.90 and 5.73p per kWh for those 10kW systems installed before April 1, 2016, which is not nothing, especially if your system’s generated energy somewhat outweighs your needs.
This is why it’s so important to invest in solar as soon as possible instead of waiting for the most efficient system possible if you really want to save. As more businesses adopt solar power, incentives will be fewer and farther between.
Chilly areas like Northern Britain and Scotland need a lot of heat to keep things copacetic. If the bulk of your energy costs goes to heating your building, but you’re not ready to invest in solar panels, or if you’re already running a solar system and want to increase your system’s self-reliance, you might want to think about going with a solar heating system, like a radiant floor heater.
Radiant floor systems warm your business using a collection of pipes filled with water heated by the sun. And they’re actually more efficient than traditional heating systems, because they heat from the bottom up, instead of the top down (remember, warm air rises). It’s one way to save on your heating costs.
Remember, the sooner you invest in solar, the more you’ll get back. While solar will always save you money, the time for UK business owners to invest is now.
This blog was written by a guest blogger - Erin Vaughan
Would you like to know more? You can book a quick call with us at a convenient time that suits you; Will Richardsons’ Appointment Diary.
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