Commercial Solar Systems in the UK
Solar systems, more easily referred to as solar panels, have been growing in popularity across the UK for the past couple of years. The sudden increase in people having the systems installed is largely due to the government backed Feed in Tariff scheme which has been introduced to encourage as many people as possible to have sources of renewable energy installed on their home. In fact, many new build properties, both privately and council owned, are having the panels installed whilst the house is being built. The government has set itself targets regarding the UK's carbon emissions and we are all under some obligation to help reach that target. Commercial properties and businesses are under increasing pressure to do their part as the majority of commercial properties use the most energy.
How Do Solar Systems Work?
Solar technology works simply by converting energy from daylight into consumable energy. The panels do not need direct constant sunlight to work, although the sunnier the climate, the more efficient the panels will be. The solar installation is hooked up to the national grid meaning that any energy that is produced by the panels but remains unused can be sold directly back. Solar panels work best when they are facing south and are not overshadowed by overhanging trees and neighbouring properties. They are ideally placed on a strong roof capable of holding the panels in place for a minimum of twenty five years. Solar panels are usually noticeable on the roofs of houses and commercial buildings but many more ground based systems are being added on land all across the country.
Benefits of Commercial Solar PV
There are a great deal of benefits available for the company who decides to have a commercial installation fitted. If they have a good roof, this one way of saving and even earning money from that unused space. The savings that can be made on overheads alone make solar PV an attractive proposition especially with the ever rising cost of fuel. A typical 50KW system can save the owner up to £4,500 per annum on their electricity costs and, thanks to the Feed in Tariff scheme, they can also earn from the electricity they producing. Solar panels will also send out a positive message to the community, showing that the company is committed to cutting their carbon emissions. Better still, planning permission for a roof based structure is also no longer necessary as it is seen as a permitted development.
Feed In Tariff Scheme
The Feed in Tariff scheme is a government backed incentive that was first introduced in 2010. The scheme encourages homes and businesses to make use of renewable sources of energy. To qualify, the system needs to be hooked up to the national grid and fitted using solar panel installers who have been approved under the scheme. The tariffs available pay you for every KWH of electricity that you produce whether you use it or not. It will also provide a further payment for energy that has been produced but has not been used as this is then sold back to the national grid. The payments from the Feed in Tariff are guaranteed for twenty five years and are index linked and tax free. Tariff rates have already decreased since the scheme was introduced, so the sooner you have an installation done the higher your payments are likely to be.
How Much Will It Cost?
The price of a commercial solar PV installation in the UK will depend on how large the system is and what type and make of panels you eventually decide on. For example, a 50KW commercial system may set you back by £100k plus, but over time the system will eventually pay for itself in savings on electricity and payments from the Feed in Tariff. After the system has paid for itself, what you make will be pure profit. Some may even earn as much as £200k over the scheme's twenty five year lifespan.
Alternatively, if this amount sounds too much to invest, there are companies available who will fit the panels for free. From the free fitting you will still be in line to save on energy costs, along with with the company who has fitted them paying you a rental on your roof space - usually in the region of £1000 per year. They, in turn, profit from the payments made through the Feed in Tariff.
Naturally, if you can afford to invest in the panels yourself then this is the best course of action, but having free panels and saving on electricity will still provide a welcome break for most commercial property owners.