Are you considering investing in commercial solar in Australia? Read our guide to why your business should consider it and the most important things you should know.
There are some sizes to keep in mind
There are three break points in the sizes of commercial solar systems that will impact on your options for installation, as well as your rebate options.
Less than 30 kW
Systems under 30 kW will use the same hardware as most residential systems, which means they fall under the same grid connection regulations. This means that residential installers can also usually manage installations for businesses with installs of this size, without needing to involve a specialist. Most 30 kW systems are capable of generating around 120 kWh of electricity per day, which could save your business thousands a month.
Commercial solar systems of this size will require specialised hardware and installation to help protect the electricity grid from the amount of electricity that these systems are capable of generating. Businesses connecting systems of this size will need permission from their electricity network before connecting to the grid. A commercial solar specialist is usually needed for systems at this size. They are usually installed for medium-sized businesses, retailers, or clubs.
More than 100 kW
If you install a system beyond 100 kW than you will no longer be able to claim the STC rebate but you can instead claim the LGC rebate, which is paid annual and based on the amount of electricity that your system generates. This can add some additional work for your business. Systems of this size are usually installed at large office buildings, small factories or hotels. A commercial solar specialist would usually be recommended for an install of this size.
More than 250 kW
Installs for systems beyond 250 kW are very large and can be very complex, they require specialist knowledge from someone who understands how to correctly and safely install. Systems of this size are typically used for very large buildings like shopping centres, or on solar farms.
Obtaining formal approval is essential
When installing commercial solar systems it’s very important to see your local network’s approval for connection to the grid. Approvals for very large systems often come with conditions to prevent damage to the grid, such as export limiting devices. These additional conditions can add a substantial amount of extra cost to your system, which may impact on whether your business goes ahead with installing so it’s important to ensure that all-important factors are taken into consideration.
Monitoring and maintenance
Keeping bills as low as possible requires regular monitoring and maintenance. To manage monitoring it’s a great idea for businesses to give someone the task of monitoring the system on a weekly basis. A maintenance schedule is also important to keep up with to ensure that everything is running smoothly. Most installers will offer highly comprehensive schedules for large commercial solar systems. Maintenance are usually every 6 months for the first two years to ensure there are no hardware issues with cleaning of the panels undertaken on an as needed basis.
How commercial solar panels and residential panels differ
It’s common to find 60 cell panels on residential roofs because of the restricted space and common designs of residential roofs. Many roof spaces on business are larger which means it’s much more common to find 72-cell panels on the roofs of businesses.
Do you need batteries?
Whilst it’s up to the specific needs of your organisation, most business buildings will not require batteries unless your operation requires energy storage and back-up power such as in some retail spaces or hospitals.