Sourcing energy from the sun makes sense, as long as it’s a viable business decision. If you're considering solar, there's a few questions to answer first, to understand how much your business could benefit.
How big does my system need to be?
Your business should use as much energy as the system can generate, as this will be more beneficial for your business than exporting excess energy to the grid. Choosing the right system size, should be based on how much energy your business uses during daylight hours.
Use your usage history to help you figure out the ideal system size
Your minimum daily load (generally between 12pm and 1pm) averaged out over 7 days, is a useful way to help identify the optimal system size. Easily get access to this data via My Account.
When will my system pay for itself?
Not all businesses will benefit financially from investing in a solar system. The way businesses use energy varies across industries. Energy consumption alone may not be a good indicator of whether you should receive a positive return on your investment.
Financial factors affecting your payback period
|Peak vs off peak rates||If your business pays a higher rate for using energy during peak times and a lower rate during off peak times this could increase the payback period.|
|Fixed vs variable prices||If your energy costs include a high proportion of charges that don’t change based on the amount you consume (fixed charges) your energy costs may not be significantly reduced by installing a solar system.|
|Minimum usage plans||If your energy plan requires that you pay for a minimum amount of energy regardless of whether you consume that amount or not installing a solar system may not significantly reduce your energy costs.|
|Network and capacity charges||Network and supply charges cover the costs associated with transporting energy to your premises. These charges may or may not change after installing a solar system.|
Other factors affecting how much energy you may produce
Not surprisingly, solar panels are most effective when they are pointed directly at the sun. In WA, this means they should face north.
The direction your panels face will often have a greater impact on the energy they product than the angle they're tilted at.
It is recommended that they have a minimum tilt of 10° so the rain can take care of keeping them clean. Most Australian homes have a roof pitch of 20° to 30°.
If your roof’s slope is not ideal, your accredited installer can design an appropriate mounting frame to correct the orientation and elevation of your solar panels.
The amount of energy produced by a panel is directly related to the amount of energy it receives from the sun, it is important to have your panels installed so they receive maximum sunlight.
Your accredited installer should be able to tell you the average amount of energy that could be generated by your solar panels.
Shading & dirt
Avoid shaded areas and keep them free from dust and dirt. Even a small amount of shade, from things like trees, roof ventilators or antennas will greatly reduce the amount of energy your panels produce.
Shading or dirt on just one of the cells in a solar panel will cause loss of power from a number of cells, not just the one that is shaded.
The amount of electricity your solar PV panel generates is reduced as it gets hotter.
Solar panels operate best at temperatures of up to 25°C and as the temperature rises, the panel’s electricity production decreases.