6 Ways Solar Electricity Can Save You Money
With the UK setting clear and concrete net zero carbon emission goals for 2050, there’s never been a better time to upgrade your business to solar energy. The environmental benefits are obvious, since solar panels enormously reduce the volume of greenhouse gases entering the atmosphere. But as a business owner, you’re likely also interested in the significant financial gains in making the switch. We’ve gathered 6 key ways that solar electricity not only protects the environment, but impacts your bottom line, too.
Save 2/3 of the cost of grid supplied energy
The ballpark figure is that solar PV generated energy costs just one third of grid supplied. Whatever the size of your business premises or where the panels are installed, the benefits begin immediately on installation, as your company drastically cuts its electricity bill. If you run an energy-intensive business in particular (such as those requiring cold storage or warehousing with high overhead costs), then the day-to-day energy savings alone are reason enough to investigate solar PV alternatives.
Save on maintenance and operations
The common misconception is that solar power is “free” energy – it’s more accurate to say that a solar setup allows companies to forward buy electricity when they pay the upfront installation costs. When calculated over the course of a solar panel’s expected lifespan, however, the cost is an impressive 5p per unit, compared to 14 or 15p for grid-sourced energy.
This figure includes ongoing maintenance for the panels themselves, however, so there’s no need to factor in unexpected repair or maintenance costs in coming years. On top of this, solar panels arguably demand less maintenance, and with no moving parts may need only occasional upkeep like panel cleaning to preserve optimal function for their full lifespan – which could be anywhere from 25 to 50 years.
Save on potential electricity cost inflation
A seldom appreciated source of savings is in the fact that commercial solar PV systems effectively lock in a very attractive per-unit cost for energy that insulates your business against future fluctuations in energy price, for the duration of the solar panel’s life. This protects your business but also allows you to plan ahead and budget more effectively, and reap hidden savings as you continue to pay a low rate despite hikes in grid energy costs.
Sell back excess energy
Depending on the size of your solar panels and how much energy you consume, you may have excess to sell back to the grid at around 5p per unit. You would be paid for any excess renewable energy exported to the national grid (this includes wind, hydro and other renewable energy sources, or a combination of any of these). There are some eligibility criteria, but the promise of consistent future savings may be enough to offset the initially high installation costs.
Boost your green reputation
A whopping 55% of consumers have been shown willing to pay more for products or services from companies perceived as more environmentally conscious. An indirect financial benefit of installing commercial solar PV is that, in doing so, you demonstrate a real commitment to corporate environmental responsibility.
Depending on your industry and the nature of your business, this commitment to being part of the solution can bolster your business’s standing and potentially win over customers who are climate conscious and eager to do the right thing. Being able to demonstrate a dedication to reducing your commercial carbon footprint can improve your company’s profile, and only make it more competitive in a market where eco-consciousness is no longer just optional.
A ROI greater than 15%
The now-ended Feed-In Tariff programme has made it more challenging to finance smaller residential solar PV installations, but commercial systems are as viable as ever – with ROI on current systems far higher than it was just a few years ago. Solar PV technology is improving rapidly, and installation costs are falling; combine this with the lower costs of maintenance, and rising national grid costs per unit, and the benefits of clear. The difference in solar and grid energy price continues to widen year on year, while the average period needed to payback initial outlay costs is steadily falling.
Any way you cut it, solar PV systems can and do save businesses of all sizes significant amounts of money, both in the short term and throughout the lifespan of the panels. A solar energy calculator can help you estimate potential savings, and figure out a comfortable investment budget for your business, or you could compare quotes from the UKs leading solar panel companies.