An Expert’s Guide to Commercial Solar Power

There’s a lot that goes into running a business. There’s the office set-up, maintaining client relations, office location, even what accounting software you use, with all areas carefully weighed against the impact on the bottom line. But one area that’s worth giving a bit more time and attention to is your roof, and specifically if you can – and should – get some solar panels.

Solar power for residential properties gets plenty of time in the sun, but what about those looking to turn their commercial property into something a bit more environmentally-friendly and cost-effective? Find out all you need to know about commercial solar power with this Canstar Blue guide.


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Commercial Solar Power

Commercial solar panels

Getting solar power for your business is like getting solar for your house, although just on a bigger scale. While your location and exposure to the sun will be the main contributor as to whether your premises are suitable for solar panels, other factors such as the upfront installation costs and the structural integrity of your roof will also come into play. Below is a deeper dive into what areas commercial premises should consider when it comes to utilising solar power.

Commercial Solar Systems

Commercial solar systems are generally larger than residential systems, as commercial premises generally have more space to work with, allowing for more solar panels, which need a larger capacity system to ensure you’re getting the most out of the sun. In the industry, commercial solar systems are generally categorised as 30kW and upwards, with most often over 100kW to deal with all of the energy running through the panels.

The larger the system, the more work will be needed to get it installed, including specialised installers, additional grid protection to accommodate the energy your panels are creating, as well as permissions from electricity network providers and local councils to ensure everything is all above board before you start the process.

Commercial Solar Panels

Business installing solar plans

As commercial properties generally have more roof space, you’ll need either more solar panels, or larger solar panels. Commercial solar panels are physically larger than residential solar panels, and include more cells to accommodate the increased output, with most commercial solar panels available as either a 96 or 72-cell model, compared to the 60-cell residential panels. However, commercial solar panels aren’t as regularly available as residential panels, but are still readily available via select brands and installers.

  • You’ll also have to consider whether opting for flat solar panels is a better choice for your premises, or if ground-mounted systems are the better option.

Compare Solar Energy Plans

Here are some of the cheapest solar-specific deals from the retailers on our database. These costs are based on the Ausgrid network in Sydney but prices will vary depending on your circumstances. We show one product per retailer, listed in order of lowest price first. Annual price estimates assume general energy usage of 3900kWh/year for a residential customer on a single rate tariff. Price estimates exclude solar feed-in tariff credits. These are products from referral partners†. Our database may not cover all deals in your area, and please check retailer websites for up to date information.

Here are some of the cheapest solar-specific deals from the retailers on our database. These costs are based on the Citipower network in Melbourne but prices will vary depending on your circumstances. We show one product per retailer, listed in order of lowest price first. Annual price estimates assume general energy usage of 4000kWh/year for a residential customer on a single rate tariff. Price estimates exclude solar feed-in tariff credits. These are products from referral partners†. Our database may not cover all deals in your area, and please check retailer websites for up to date information.

Here are some of the cheapest solar-specific deals from the retailers on our database. These costs are based on the Energex network in Brisbane but prices will vary depending on your circumstances. We show one product per retailer, listed in order of lowest price first. Annual price estimates assume general energy usage of 4600kWh/year for a residential customer on a single rate tariff. Price estimates exclude solar feed-in tariff credits. These are products from referral partners†. Our database may not cover all deals in your area, and please check retailer websites for up to date information.

Here are some of the cheapest solar-specific deals from the retailers on our database. These costs are based on SA Power network in Adelaide but prices will vary depending on your circumstances. We show one product per retailer, listed in order of lowest price first. Annual price estimates assume general energy usage of 4000kWh/year for a residential customer on a single rate tariff. Price estimates exclude solar feed-in tariff credits. These are products from referral partners†. Our database may not cover all deals in your area, and please check retailer websites for up to date information.

Commercial Solar Rebates

There are currently multiple commercial solar rebates available, but which one you qualify for depends on the size of the system you’re looking to install. Commercial solar rebates include:

  • Small-Scale Technology Certificates (STC’s): A point-of-sale discount for systems under 100kW.
  • Large-Scale Generation Certificates (LGC’s): A rebate that is claimed every year after submitting reports to the REC Registry. Businesses must first be registered with the Clean Energy Regulator before being eligible for any rebates or certificates.

How much of a rebate you receive will be entirely dependent on the system you’re looking to install and how much energy it’s producing, meaning it’s best to talk to your installer or contact the Clean Energy Regulator.

Commercial Solar Installers

Men installing solar panels on roof

As commercial solar needs are slightly different to residential solar needs, not every solar installer will be able to help you with your solar needs, namely due to the size and quantity of panels needed. Most installers will list as to whether they can help you with commercial properties, with quotes also available, meaning you can check in with a few installers to get a rough outline of costs and other requirements.

Is it worth getting solar power for my business?

Solar has been a hot topic over recent years, offering plenty of long-term benefits for those looking to invest or be a bit more environmentally-friendly. But with some deterred by the high upfront cost, is it worth pursuing?

The short answer is: maybe. Whether solar is beneficial for your commercial property will be entirely dependent on your individual circumstances, such as location, sun exposure, the slant, size and strength of your roof, council requirements and how much budget you have to spend on the initial investment, meaning while solar may be tempting, it may not suit every business. However, considering that most businesses operate on a 9-5 timeframe – a period when the sun is also working hard – installing solar can help you utilise the sun in real-time, which has the potential to significantly impact your reliance on the power gird, as well as your electricity bill, making it at least worth investigating further.

If you’re still not sure about solar, check out our ratings for solar energy providers to see what brands are available, and what you should consider before you get too close to the sun.

Compare Solar Installers

Picture credit: GIRODJL/shutterstock.com, Mark Agnor/shutterstock.com, BigPixel Photo/shutterstock.com, surasak jailak/shutterstock.com

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