There are many companies providing solar energy systems. If you are considering purchasing solar power for your business this guide will help you understand the key things to look for in a commercial provider.
Do they have commercial experience?
Commercial solar systems are much more complex than residential systems therefore it is important to select a provider that has experience in the commercial market. Ask potential providers to give examples of projects they have completed so you can be confident in their abilities.
Do they understand your electricity use profile?
Your electricity use profile has a large bearing on the payback period of a solar system. If the production of solar electricity exceeds the demand on site at any given moment, excess production will be exported to the grid (or in some cases production may be curtailed). Exported units often have little or no value and a utilised unit is much more valuable. It is important that the solar provider understands your electricity usage so they can calculate the optimum system size for your business and give accurate estimates for project returns. The solar provider should perform a detailed analysis of your electricity data, overlaying it with expected solar production to determine how much of the electricity generated will be consumed on site.
Do they understand your tariff?
Your electricity tariff will also affect the payback period of a solar system. A solar provider should understand your tariff and inform you how a solar system will change affect your bills. In some cases electricity retailers may wish to re-negotiate your contract before they will consent to your solar system. You should look for a solar provider that has experience engaging with electricity retailers if this is the case.
Are they selling quality components?
Solar is a long term investment. It is important to install a system that comprises of quality components that will stand the test of time and continue to produce electricity for 20+ years. Make sure you choose a provider that offers quality components, with warranties that are backed by local agents.
How long have they been operating?
Solar is a growing industry with more and more companies entering the industry. Sadly, not all of these companies survive. When selecting a provider, find out how long they have been in the industry and if they are a reputable company who is still going to be operating into the future.
Do they have an in-depth knowledge of local connection requirements?
To install a system you must obtain approval from your local network operator. The exact connection requirements vary from state to state and depend on the size of the system being installed. It is important your provider has experience with the connection process in your area for the system size you proposing to install. The connection process for larger systems (30kW+) is often quite complex so it is vital your provider knows the exact requirements.
Do they have experience engaging with electricity retailers?
In some cases your electricity retailer may make changes to your contract / tariff before they will allow you to install a solar system. Tariff changes can change the financial returns of a project so it is important that you understand any potential changes before proceeding with your system. Your solar provider should have experience engaging with electricity retailers and should be able to tell you how any contract changes will affect the financials of your project. Detailed financial analysis cannot be completed until this engagement has taken place and it is a crucial component to overall project success.
Do they know local planning and building requirements?
Is this included within the project scope? – Planning and building requirements vary depending on the class of building and local council requirements. In most cases the installation of solar on a commercial building will require a building permit. It is important to ask your solar provider if they know what the requirements for your building / area are, and if obtaining the relevant approvals is included within the project scope.
Generally most residential solar panel installers will be technically qualified to install Commercial Solar Power Systems up to 30kw. However there are unique considerations when providing a Commercial Solar Power Solution to a business. These include:
- Providing sophisticated solar electricity production modelling with on-site consumption matching
- System sizing consultancy
- Business Case production
- Network interface design
- Non-export design and protection systems
- Occupational Heath & Safety Requirements
For these reasons we recommend only engaging with Solar Power Companies who specialise in Commercial Solar Projects.
Solar Market will supply you (at no cost) 3 Commercial Solar Power Companies who have been hand selected and vetted to be able to meet these requirements.