Are commercial solar systems worth it? A guide to commercial solar systems; The hows and whats of the system and everything in between

    Introduction

    As a business owner, one of the highest expenses is the electricity bill you have to pay for all production and operations. Relying on the electricity grid also means you have to deal with power fluctuations and power cuts unless you get a generator, which would cost a significant amount along with high maintenance.

    This is why commercial solar systems have evolved so much in recent years. Not only do they cut down the cost of electricity, but they also save you from power cuts and fluctuations with no added expenditure. Let’s take a walk through the commercial solar system path to help you understand all that comes with it.

    What Are Commercial Solar Panels?

    These are an array of various photovoltaic or PV panels that can convert direct sunlight into electric energy. The PV cells are made of silicon cells that have a positive layer and a negative layer which combined can create an electric field. If you use various of these solar panels, you could form an array. Commercial solar power systems use a large number of these solar panels or modules to generate enough electricity for their office or building.

    These solar panels would need to be placed in a way that they get plenty of direct sunlight without shade. Rooftop is generally the most favoured place for such a large solar array. Commercial solar panels are clean and a renewable source of energy that has no carbon emission while requiring very little maintenance. Hence, these have become rather popular and widely adopted in Australia, which gets sunshine all around the year.

    The solar systems look dominant and it’s easy to get intimidated by the sheer size. However, they actually don’t require any heavy maintenance, as one might assume at first glance. We are breaking down every aspect to help you understand how commercial solar systems work, the basic requirements and if they would be suitable for what you have in mind.

    How Does a Commercial Solar System Work?

    Solar panels can collect or trap the sunlight, which then gets converted into electricity that can be distributed for various appliances or pieces of machinery. The cells of each panel comprise various layers of silicon, boron, and phosphorus that are arranged in grids.

    The sunlight captured by these cells gets transferred into an inverter that converts the DC power into AC. AC power or energy is similar to the power sent through the utility grid. Inverters for commercial purposes are usually available in the market in the range of 2.5kW-250kW. These can be wired to meet the requirements of any applications you might have.

    A commercial solar power system has the following features:

    • Commercial solar systems need a big space. Usually, rooftops are the first choice, but if that’s not convenient for you then any large open space will work just fine. As long as any shade doesn’t hinder the sunlight falling on the panels, the system will generate enough electricity.
    • If set up properly, they have a lifespan of at least 15 to 20 years with bare minimum maintenance.
    • The structures have little to no cleaning and maintenance, hence there’s no added expenditure.
    • On most days, solar panels generate enough power that it can be stored for the next days’ usage.

    Commercial solar systems can be used in any sector but here are a few of their lesser-known applications:

    • These solar power systems can be used to preheat the ventilation air during winter and also to heat water for production or manufacturing industries.
    • You can connect your message boards or signboards to the solar system as well. The solar energy charges the batteries so the signs will be lit even during the night.
    • A huge benefit of these systems is that they can be used in remote locations too. Power plants and manufacturing businesses that are miles away from towns can also benefit from it.

    General Size Structures

    To give you a clear idea of the type of system your building or business will need, here’s an explanation of the latest average sizes:

    • Up to 100 panels or less than 30kW: As you can guess by the numbers, these are suitable for businesses that are similar in size to the residential buildings. To make it clearer, this would generate around 120kWh a day on average around the year.
    • Around 30kW to 100kW: commercial solar power systems of this big a size will need special systems to protect the grid against all the power they can generate. The installers will also need to get permission from their local electricity network to connect the system to the grid. This is suitable for local bars or clubs, small businesses, and medium-sized office buildings.
    • Over 100kW: These are best for small size and medium-sized factories, wineries, hotels, and retail shops.
    • Over 250kW: These solar arrays are a touch more complicated and you should get a professional for these systems. These are best for shopping centers, ranches, and solar farms.

    Connecting The Commercial Solar Systems To The Main Grid-

    Every solar system, be it residential or commercial, needs to get approved from the local electricity network before getting connected to the main grid. For big systems, the approval comes with reasonable conditions.

    The entire process is pretty straightforward and doesn’t require too much paperwork, so no need to panic. The conditions are always based on your commercial applications and you will be able to meet them without any issue. However, if you aren’t feeling certain, then getting a professional’s opinion is definitely better. For more information, <INSERT CTA>.

    The Commercial Solar Rebates

    Commercial solar power systems that are 99kW in size are eligible for an incentive(financial) in Australia, which is known as the STC Program (Small Scale Technology Certificate). Through this program, you get paid according to the expected generation of energy in the next ten years. The numbers and conditions might vary according to location and networks. This program tends to be applicable as a sale discount.

    If your system is over 100kW, you no longer are eligible for the STC program. You will be eligible for the LGC instead. LGC, aka Large-Scale Generation Certificate, is similar to the STC, but there is only one difference between them:

    ·   STC incentive is paid in advance, usually as a discount on the system. However, an LGC is a yearly incentive for which you need to track and present detailed reports per year to receive the money.

    To get LGC, the installer would need to first register their business to be an official “accredited power station” with the Clean Energy Regulator. The process is handled by the solar system installers, so you don’t need to scramble. They will just need to provide proof that your meter is up to the standards of the National Electricity Market and you will be able to track everything properly.

    Commercial Solar Panel Layouts

    When it comes to the installation of commercial solar power systems, various factors need to be considered before finalizing a layout or design. The weight might be the most significant factor since the entire grid is heavy no matter what size you have selected. So, installers are encouraged to use open spaces instead of rooftops. If the roof isn’t built to handle such waits or arrays, it would harm the system and the grid. Always get the place inspected physically well before you start with the process.

    What does the installation team look for?

    Every installation team will first inspect the area layout and business before they commit to the process. The things they will generally look for are-

    • They will want to know what kind of tariff your business is on and the billing structure.
    • Some charges can’t be avoided. Any company worth the salt will always point them out to you beforehand. These charges are usually ancillary charges, AEMO charges, or service availability ones and can’t be avoided.
    • They also determine the energy consumption during the day, especially during the winter when sunlight will be a bit scarcer.
    • A detailed site/area inspection to figure out which spots are best for the solar panels and where the inverter and batteries will be stored.
    • Will get to understand your business requirements and which tools or procedures need the most energy.
    • They will also analyze the current electricity bills and consumption so they can accurately apply for the probates.

    Inverters For Commercial Solar Panel Systems

    Generally , there are three inverter options available in the market for commercial solar power systems-

    1. Optimizers AKA Microinverters
    2. Large central inverters
    3. Chained string inverters

    The optimizers are slightly more expensive than the other two options, but they offer more safety and benefits. String inverters are a more cost-effective option and will produce almost the same amount of energy per year minus the additional benefits that come with the optimizer.

    However, a mix of resident-sized inverters joined via one large central inverter is the most commonly used for commercial solar system purposes for the following reasons:

    • Multiple inverters give you flexibility and freedom to experiment with the design.
    • It is easier to move around these compact briefcase-sized containers compared to the large central inverter, which is roughly the size of a small room.
    • By having multiple small inverters, you can avoid any sudden breakdowns. Even if one stops working or has any issue, then the others will keep the system running.

    What suits others in the same niche might not be best for your layout. It should be noted that eventually, it depends on which one does the installation company recommend to you, and which ones are suitable for your business and your grid. So, the decision will ultimately fall on the company, but you will be informed of all the suitable and best available options.

    Some Australian Consumer Laws to be aware of:

    Australia has always encouraged both residential as well as commercial solar power systems and has laws in place to promote and protect such practices.

    • The Australian Consumer Law gives legal protection and recourse to illegal or unreliable solar installations. This law applies to services and tools that are worth less than 40,000. This means commercial solar systems that are less than 40kW will get legal protection.
    • The Australian Contract Law presumably covers systems that are worth more than $40,000.

    The bottom line is these laws and regulations can only be explained by actual lawyers and not the installation company. Hence, it might be a good idea to consult with a professional lawyer before you get started with the process.

    We understand that the cost and size might seem intimidating at the beginning but this one investment cuts down a lot of your expenditures while giving you additional benefits. With a sturdy commercial solar panel grid in place, you can withstand bad weather, storms, and long power cuts without any strain. Sustainability also attracts new customers since the climate crisis has become a concerning global issue.

    We, at GoRunSolar, are committed to providing Brisbane with reliable solar systems that work effortlessly as an extension of your entire business. Our team of experienced professionals will help you throughout the entire process which includes the paperwork too. Working with GoRunSolar would mean:

    • All solar panels will have 25 years of warranty
    • CEC accredited retailers
    • Multiple financial options are available

    Conclusion: What our systems will mean for your business?

    Getting our system would mean:

    • Cleaner and renewable energy and minimum carbon footprint
    • Greater ROI
    • Immediate cost reduction and savings on electricity
    • A Completely free assessment of your workplace
    • No more unexpected blackouts & fluctuations or the hazards they bring

    From approvals to actual installation and utility, we will provide you with an entire system and after services. Our systems are great for schools, shopping centers, SMEs, farms, offices, and factories. To get a free physical inspection or to find more details, please contact <CTA>.