Commercial Solar

Solar questions specifically for business about commercial solar systems

In Australia, while there are by late 2013 over one million residential solar systems in place, the commercial solar update has been somewhat slower, even though for businesses where solar generation and energy consumption patterns are relatively matched, a payback of less than for residential systems can be achieved for quality solar systems.

One of the key considerations for ROI is the price for electricity, which the potential commercial solar system customer is paying. If the electricity consumption is enormous eg for a large printing company and therefore the only pay 3-5cents per kWh, then it will be hard for solar to achieve an excellent pay pack. On the other hand should the business be a carwash or a medical clinic or a restaurant with long opening hours and a relative high electricity cost per kWh then solar system pay backs can become very attractive.

In a commercial system, even more than for residential systems it is important to chose quality panels and inverters, as the amounts of money involved are significant larger than for small residential solar systems. If cheap panels or cheap inverters fail, if panel manufacturer go out of business or if the panel performs poorly - in all of these circumstances the commercial solar system owner is losing electricity, pays the price and is likely to be out of pocket.

The quality of the warranty and the warranty fine print are also very important for large scale systems. For example how is the output of the system guaranteed? Is the labor component for changing a panel should it be faulty be covered by the client, the installer or the panel manufacturer? Make sure you get the answers to all key questions in writing from the installers and the component manufacturers.

Finally, just because a solar system makes financial sense with a ROI – which I have seen as low a 3-4 years for commercial systems, it does not mean the local energy, company will actually let you install a relatively large system. As solar is becoming more and more a commercial competitor to the existing electricity retailer’s business model, connection difficulties to the grid have been raised as a reason why some larger solar systems will not get connection approval.

The 1st step for any customer exploring commercial solar opportunities is to contact an experienced installer and have the roof suitability, return on investment rate and connection to the grid issues examined. Feel free to contact any of the authorised LG solar dealer network installers.

In Australia., while there are by late 2013 over one million residential solar systems in place, the commercial solar update has been somewhat slower, even though for businesses where solar generation and energy consumption patterns are relatively matched, a payback of less than for residential systems can be achieved for quality solar systems.

One of the key considerations for ROI is the price for electricity, which the potential commercial solar system customer is paying. If the electricity consumption is enormous eg for a large printing company and therefore the only pay 3-5cents per kWh, then it will be hard for solar to achieve an excellent pay pack. On the other hand should the business be a carwash or a medical clinic or a restaurant with long opening hours and a relative high electricity cost per kWh then solar system pay backs can become very attractive.

In a commercial system, even more than for residential systems it is important to chose quality panels and inverters, as the amounts of money involved are significant larger than for small residential solar systems. If cheap panels or cheap inverters fail, if panel manufacturer go out of business or if the panel performs poorly - in all of these circumstances the commercial solar system owner is losing electricity, pays the price and is likely to be out of pocket..

The quality of the warranty and the warranty fine print are also very important for large scale systems. For example how is the output of the system guaranteed? Is the labor component for changing a panel should it be faulty be covered by the client, the installer or the panel manufacturer? Make sure you get the answers to all key questions in writing from the installers and the component manufacturers.

Finally, just because a solar system makes financial sense with a ROI – which I have seen as low a 4 years for commercial systems, it does not mean the local energy, company will actually let you install a relatively large system. As solar is becoming more and more a commercial competitor to the existing electricity retailer’s business model, connection difficulties to the grid have been raised as a reason why some larger solar systems will not get connection approval.

The 1st step for any customer exploring commercial solar opportunities is to contact an experienced installer and have the roof suitability, return on investment rate and connection to the grid issues examined. Feel free to contact any of the authorised LG solar dealer network installers. Find a commercial solar system expert and installer.

40kW, 290W LG NeON commercial solar system in Bathurst, NSW. Installed by MPV Solar

40kW, 290W LG NeON commercial solar system in Bathurst, NSW. Installed by MPV Solar

Please try our solar calculator for your area to see how much electricity different sized solar systems generate. A number of factors can affect how much energy your solar system will generate. We have separated these into primary effects (the things that make a big difference) and secondary effects (the things that make a smaller difference). They include the following:

Primary effects on generation

  1. Rating of the panel i.e. its efficiency - a LG NeON 300W panel will generate more electricity than a standard 250W Mono-X panel;
  2. Location of panels - a northern roof panel will generate much more electricity than a panel on a southern roof. As a matter of fact southern roofs are not suited for solar panel installation in Australia;
  3. Seasonal variation due to variance in the intensity (brightness) of the sun;
  4. Time of day - Middle of the day will give you highest electricity generation for many systems;
  5. Shading from trees or buildings will reduce electricity output significantly.

Secondary effects on generation

  1. Angle and orientation of the solar power panels;
  2. Seasonal variations in sunshine hours;
  3. Panel and solar power inverter quality and efficiency;
  4. Air flow around the system;
  5. Dirt upon bird droppings - built up.

Have a look at our Solar System Output Calculator for the approximate output of a well designed solar system in your particular area.

The payback on a solar system can vary from State to State, depends on the local price of electricity, the local amount of sunshine and also it depends on the size of the system and the electricity usage pattern at the location where the system is being installed. In general the more the electricity is used on site and not exported for a low feed in tariff - the lower the payback period.

Nowadays the payback for many solar system ranges from 5 to 8 years depending on the above variants. That's why it is important to get a reliable high quality systems installed as the solar system owner only starts to earn a real income from their system after they paid off the initial outplay.

Therefore if it takes you 6 years to pay off a system and their system fails after 4 years and the panel or inverter manufacturer have gone bankrupt, the solar home owner loses part of his investment. On the other hand if it takes you 7 years to pay off the system but the system lasts 25 years, the owner earns real cash for 18 years.

Therefore buying a cheap, quality compromised solar system, from a long term investment point of view, makes little sense. We suggest you look at the LG solar savings calculator for a rough estimate of the payback period applicable in your post code.

Solar system

Arguably, the quality of your solar panels and the inverter are the most crucial factors in selecting a solar system. Over their 25 year output warranty period, solar panels will be subjected to more than 100,000 hours of relentless sunshine, extremes of heat and cold, wind, rain, hail and more. Australia and New Zealand offer an extraordinarily harsh climate for an electrical device. A good brand like LG, with our extensive testing and quality control helps ensure that you get the most out of your system.

Please see below: LG panels being pressure tested for long life performance.
LG solar panels pressure test

The benefits of a solar power system depend on a number of factors including lifestyle, size of the house, number of appliances in the house, number of residents in the home, the time of use of electricity, use of pool pumps, use of air-conditioning etc.

Be it in your home or your business - generally you will benefit most from solar energy if you can use the electricity generated then and there. For example do not wash you clothes at night, but turn on the washing machine as you leave to go to work, so that your solar system will power the machine. The same applies to the dishwasher or the dryer, maybe use a timer for those. Have your air-conditioner pre-cool the home from 3pm, and run the air-conditioning system on hot days via solar.

Even when you are not at home during the day solar can benefit as it will offset the power used in the home by the fridge, pool pumps, aquariums etc. We do suggest that you talk to one of the LG Authorised Dealers who can assess your energy usage profile and can work out the benefit you may derive. LG Dealer Search

LG Panels in italian solarfarm, 14 MW Ca

Most of the homes or business premises in Australia can install a system but there are times when you should not buy a solar system. For example:

a. You have no roof space available which is facing North, North East, North West, West or East.

b. There is shading of trees and building most of the day on your North, East or West facing roofs.

c. You have an asbestos roof.

d. When the system has to be installed at a distance from the home (like at farm sheds) and the additional cost of running the electricity wires and poles back to the meter far outweighs the return on investment.

e. You are out of your house/premises most of the time, therefore you cannot use the solar power when it is generated. In this case solar would only be suitable if you also install a battery backup system.

Each home has its own unique characteristics, we suggest you talk to your solar installer who can advise you if the solar power system will benefit you. LG Dealer Search

LG Panels are perfectly suitable for solar projects. LG solar panels have been selected for a number of large commercial projects worldwide and in Australia. Please have a look at our commercial solar gallery section and the commercial solar reference document for some samples.

LG panels have been used in commercial projects in Australia and all over the world

Solar PV panels on the roofs of homes and businesses generate clean electricity by converting the sunlight's energy. The more energy in the sunlight received by the panel, the more electricity is being generated.

Even in overcast conditions solar modules still generate electricity, however the output will be less than on a bright sunny day. In layman terms - the brighter (not necessarily hotter) the sun, the better the electricity output generated.

Solar panels need bright sunshine to work

The solar system has the potential to offset the cost of the system if you buy a reliable long lasting system. If the system is cheap and of poor quality you will not get a return for decades and your financial return will not be maximised.

panel defect

Remember what ever can be done during the solar generation period i.e. daylight hours will help you maximize returns.

Use your washing machine during the day with the help of solar electricity

To give a few examples:

  1. Regular electricity consumption items like pool pumps should be put on day cycle to use the solar energy generated;
  2. Use your washing machine, and if you have - dryer during the day. Many new appliances now have inbuilt timers which will allow you to select the starting time of the operating cycle.
  3. Some of us load the dishwasher at night and switch it on before going to bed. We suggest to leave the dishes overnight and turn the dishwahser on before you leave for work and have the solar electricity run the machine. This way you maximize the benefits of the solar electricity being generated.
  4. Ironing clothes can be done during a sunny day or on the weekend.
  5. Should you have air-conditioning, another good idea is to pre-cool or pre-heat your house from 3pm onward, with the help of solar electricity. That way your air-conditioner is initially supported by solar power and when you come home the house is not too hot or too cold. Also the air-conditioning unit does not have to do all the hard work at peak electricity rates in the early evening.

Commercial solar is now on the tipping point in Australia, where the pay pack has come down to somewhere between 4 and 7 years, depending on system size, location etc. Solar power for commercial applications/businesses is expected to increase dramatically over the next few years, as the financial returns are now very attractive and more business owners discover the benefits.

Contact our LG authorized dealers for a quote in regards to larger scale commercial solar systems.

As a general rule there are two primary types of rates of electricity charges you are likely to be offered; a flat rate for each kW/h used (which is the same price 24 hours a day) or a time of use rate that varies the cost per one kW/h at different times of the day. Time of use usually has off peak, standard and high peak rate. Off peak is typically at night, standard during the day till the early afternoon and peak from middle afternoon till early evening. Peak charges can be as high as 45c per kW/h.

From a solar economics perspective, the results are generally very similar irrespective of whether you are on a flat or time of use rate. However, depending on the time of day when you typically use your electricity you may be able to gain a slight advantage by being on one or the other type of tariff.

For example, if you come home at 3pm and use the electricity a lot at that point with air conditioning and TV, then a flat rate might be better, but then again if your solar system is on a North-west roof then maybe your solar, depending on the size of the system will offset your own use, and it is better to be on a time of day tariff. Another example is, if you use a lot of electricity at night and the weekend and not much between 3pm and 7pm, then a time of use rate from the electricity retailer would be better for you.

Like feed-in tariff analysis, your solar system supplier should be able after discussing your electricity consumption, provide you with an analysis of what tariffs will provide the best outcome. Make sure you have chosen your preferred electricity rate option, before you had your solar meter installed, as some meters only offer one option. Finally some electricity retailers will only offer you one tariff option.

In many countries, solar systems produce electricity at or close to the cost of electricity from other conventional sources, which continue to rise. When the cost of solar electricity matches the cost of conventional energy, we refer to this as “grid parity”. In Australia "grid parity" is now close in many areas or has already arrived in areas with high electricity costs.

The more recent increases in electricity bills and the parallel reduction in the cost of solar power systems means that most home solar power systems are paid off in 5 to 7 years. A high quality solar panel can generate power for more than 25 years (Please consider that panels can last that long, but inverters likely require a replacement in such a time frame).

In the past governments around the world have provided financial support for solar energy in many countries in recognition of its important role and because it avoids reliance on fossil fuels.

Solar energy production costs have been reducing due to improvements in technology and economies of scale.

The solar industry now operates in Australia with relative small government rebate incentives. The industry is now past the establishment phase and moves to be a more steady and balanced industry, avoiding the solar rebate fueled boom and bust cycles.