Are Rooftop Solar Panels Right for your Commercial Premises?
As a follow-up to last week’s article on solar panels for business here in the UK, today, as promised, we’re going to give you some advice you can use to ascertain whether installing rooftop solar panels is the right decision for your business. This will depend to a large extent on your premises and which sector you operate in.
- CATERING, HOSPITALITY AND LEISURE – small businesses in these sectors tend to face high energy bills for their premises, and quite often have large roof spaces which are not being used. Solar panel installation may result in significant savings on energy bills and, in some cases, extra income from Feed in Tariffs (FiTs). Some businesses may qualify for a commercial solar Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) which is a contract whereby investors in green technology provide free solar panels with no purchase, installation or maintenance costs. The business buys the energy produced by the solar panels from the investor at a reduced rate, which will still reduce energy bills.
- CONSTRUCTION AND ENGINEERING – faced with increasing pressure to meet minimum renewable energy requirements, including a solar panel system into a building’s plans and construction budget will result in significant returns in energy saving and FiT payments. It’s also worth looking into whether a PPA can be used to help with installation costs.
- FARMING AND AGRICULTURE – an agricultural business such as a poultry or dairy farm may benefit greatly from making more use of roof spaces by installing solar panels. The FiT scheme could also return extra income for the business and a solar panel system will increase the farm’s green credentials. Again, a PPA may be an option which will install the system free of charge and allow the farm business to purchase energy at a lower rate than a typical energy supplier.
- SHOPS AND RETAIL – retailers with high overheads who are competing with the online market could benefit from the savings represented by free or cheaper energy on offer from a rooftop solar panel system. Look into obtaining a PPA which may be the best option for your business if you don’t want to use valuable capital to pay for installation.
- OFFICES – Any business that owns its own office space may well benefit from the reduced energy bills resulting from solar panel installation. For corporate landlords who may not benefit directly from a large investment that provides their tenants with lower cost energy, solar energy will contribute to your energy efficiency assessment and PPA may be available to fund installations. Greener energy bills can be a great way of attractive new tenants who have a commitment to environmental standards.
- WAREHOUSES AND MANUFACTURING – nowadays all businesses here in Britain are under pressure from the government to reduce their carbon footprint. The requirement to power large machinery in the manufacturing sector in particular means that installing rooftop solar systems is a good move and the installations costs can be reduced via a PPA. By helping the environment you’ll be sending a powerful message to the rest of your supply chain about your company’s green ethics.
If you decide that a rooftop solar panel installation is right for your business, regular access to the rooftop will be necessary for maintenance and cleaning purposes. Protect the workforce who are expected to access the roof from getting too close to the edge and risking a fall by installing a rooftop demarcation barrier system to reduce the risks of a fall from height.