Solar Panels for Small Businesses in the UK

nstalling solar photovoltaic systems on building rooftops or grounds spaces can help small enterprises break free of volatile electric grid rates. By generating your own clean power from the sun, you replace costly grid kilowatt hours to slash monthly bills 30%, 50%, or even 100% through zero-emissions renewable energy. Solar insulation allows you to fix energy prices at a low fixed rate for the 20-30 year lifecycle of a commercial solar system.

 

This guide provides small business owners the blueprint for profiting from solar energy in the UK. We’ll overview everything from financial benefits to incentives to options for funding solar projects with minimal upfront investment. Once installed, the systems reliably churn out free electricity year after year to improve your bottom line. Join the hundreds of thousands of organizations that have already gone solar across Britain!

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solar panel financing options for small businesses

Solar Financing Options for Small Businesses

Transitioning to solar energy represents a major investment for small business owners. While installing solar panels leads to long-term savings, the upfront installation and equipment costs can deter companies with limited capital budgets. Fortunately, small firms interested in going solar have a few innovative financing options to fund projects with less money down.

Purchasing Solar Panel System

The most direct method is paying cash upfront to buy the solar panel system. Purchasing with cash or using business financing allows you to immediately own the panels if this fits your tax situation.

Solar Loans

Banks and credit unions now offer affordable solar loans providing financing for commercial systems. Solar loans allow businesses to access capital, own their panels, and pay off the amount borrowed over 5-10 years. This spreads costs over time rather than one large lump payment.

Solar PPA (Power Purchase Agreements)

Solar PPA’s for small businesses enables your building to host solar panels with no upfront costs. Rather than buying hardware, you pay a separate energy company for the solar power generated onsite through a long-term contract. Solar PPAs lock in rates lower than your utility’s for 15-25 years.

Solar Leases

Under solar lease agreements, small companies can rent solar panel systems owned by the solar provider. This lets businesses skip the purchase expense in favor of predictable monthly lease payments. Solar leases run 10-20 years with rates set below your current electric bill.

 

Available Solar Grants for Small Business

Installing a comprehensive solar panel system represents a major investment for small businesses. While this capital expenditure pays back over time through energy savings, the upfront costs can be daunting. Fortunately, the UK government provides several financial incentives for companies switching to commercial solar power that can defray purchase expenses.

Export Guarantee Scheme

The Export Guarantee Scheme provides small scale renewable energy producers payments for excess solar electricity exported back to the grid. Businesses receive tariff rates locked in for 20 years.

 

upfront costs for a commercial solar power system

Benefits of Solar Panels for Small Businesses

Installing solar panels can yield tremendous savings and advantages for small businesses in the UK. Some of the major benefits include:

Reduce Monthly Electricity Bills

Solar panels can eliminate 50-100% of a small business’s traditional grid-supplied electric bills. By generating your own renewable power, you avoid utility costs for that portion of energy consumption. This results in significant savings year-over-year.

Shield Against Rising Energy Costs

UK electricity rates have increased 63% over the last decade and are projected to keep rising. Solar panels lock in low energy rates for the systems’ lifespan, protecting businesses from escalating grid power costs for 20+ years. This allows for stability in energy budgeting.

Low Maintenance

After being installed by a professional solar company, small business solar panel systems are very low maintenance. They have no moving parts and last for decades with little upkeep required. You don’t have to do anything besides occasionally cleaning off the panels.

Eco-Friendly Sustainability Benefits

Every kilowatt of solar energy generated offsets environmentally-harmful grid electricity production. This enables businesses to run their operations more sustainably. Companies can promote their solar panels to demonstrate environmental commitment to customers.

Increased Property Value

Adding solar panels can increase the underlying value of your business property. This prepares your building for selling or leasing down the road. Solar also makes properties more appealing to potential buyers.

Government Grants & Tax Incentives The UK government provides several financial incentives for companies switching to commercial solar power. These include tax credits, the Export Guarantee Scheme, grant funding, and more which we will cover later in this article.

How much will a solar power system cost my small business?

Here are some examples of how much solar power systems may cost your small business, please not that these are only examples, if you would like a small business solar quote please get in touch.

Retail Shop

For a typical 2,000 square foot retail store with an average energy bill of £750/month, a properly sized 30kW solar PV system would cost around £42,000 to install before incentives. This system could offset 70-90% of the store’s electricity costs and pay for itself in under 5 years.

Restaurant

A medium-sized restaurant around 4,000 square feet uses a substantial amount of energy for lighting, kitchen equipment, heating, and cooling. A 50kW solar system for a restaurant of this size would cost approximately £65,000. Tax credits would reduce this cost to £55,000 or lower. This would cover their average £1,200 monthly electric bill.

Small Warehouse

Installing a 100kW solar panel system on the roof of a 10,000 square foot small warehouse would run about £120,000 initially. After the 26% federal tax credit, the net price is under £90,000 and yields annual savings of £15,000 on electricity. With incentives, the system pays for itself within 6 years.

Office Space

For a standard 3,000 square foot office with about £1,000 in average monthly electric charges, a 36kW solar PV system costs £52,500 pre-incentive. Over 215 solar panels can be installed across their roof. After the tax credit, total out-of-pocket drops to £38,850 while slashing electric expenses by 70% from solar power generation.

These examples illustrate that while solar for small companies requires meaningful upfront capital expenditure, costs can quickly be recouped through electricity bill savings within 5 years or less in many cases. This makes going solar a smart money saving strategy.

solar power system for small businesses

Explaining Solar Power Systems

Commercial solar panel installations involve more than just the panels. Fully functioning PV systems require the following components:

Solar Photovoltaic (PV) Panels

The photovoltaic (PV) solar panels form the core of any solar energy system, harvesting sunlight and converting it into direct current (DC) electricity. 

Solar cells within the panels, made from silicon or other materials, release electrons when hit by photons to generate this usable electric current. 

By linking numerous panels together into modular arrays properly positioned to capture sunlight, solar power systems can reliably scale electricity production to a small business’ needs and space constraints. 

Carefully customized panel configurations designed by specialized installers maximize energy yield over the systems’ 25+ year lifespan—providing long-term electric bill savings that deliver return on investment for business owners.

Inverters 

While solar panels produce direct current (DC), buildings’ electrical infrastructure runs on alternating current (AC). As a result, inverters play an integral role in solar systems, converting the DC electricity harvested from the sun into usable standardized AC power. 

This allows the renewable solar energy to flow through circuit breakers to efficiently light facilities, power equipment and appliances.

Advanced inverters maximize energy yield from solar arrays to optimize return on investment. Microinverter technology installs separate small inverters behind each panel, while string inverters link multiple panels together. Smart inverters even integrate with batteries to control power distribution. By selecting appropriately-sized cutting edge inverter models, solar installers can customize photovoltaic systems to best meet the specific demands of small business owners.

Energy Storage

Battery banks let solar power systems store surplus solar energy captured during sunny periods for use at night or during outages. Adding storage capacity enables around-the-clock renewable power utilization.

Monitoring & Control

Monitoring technology tracks solar production metrics, operational performance, and potential maintenance issues. Smart control systems optimize system orientations and efficiency.

Cabling & Racking

Industrial-grade wiring cables transmit solar energy from panels to other system components. Racking, mounts, and trackers position panels at ideal angles facing the sun for maximizing yield.

How to Choose the Right Solar Panels

With an abundance of panel products and countless installers to pick from, selecting the optimal solar PV system for your small business can feel overwhelming. Here are key factors to consider:

Assess Energy Usage Needs

Analyzing your electric bills to understand your facility’s hourly, daily, and monthly power consumption provides a baseline for properly sizing your solar system.

Determine the Best Solar System Size

Right-sizing the solar array capacity to your energy needs ensures maximum ROI without overbuilding. Account for future electricity demand growth too.

Compare Panel Types

Compare monocrystalline and polycrystalline solar panels on metrics like durability, temperature resistance, efficiency ratings, and factory warranties to inform investments.

Research Installers and Get Quotes Vet several reputable solar companies examining experience, local project portfolios, equipment quality, reviews and ratings. Get quotes from at least 3-5 top installers.

Next Steps to Go Solar

Estimate System Size and Energy Offset Use free Project Sunroof or similar tools to estimate home much energy generation potential exists on your usable roof or ground areas to offset usage.

Check Eligibility for Incentives Verify you qualify for available federal, state, utility solar incentives, grants, tax credits, and low interest financing options.

Get Quotes From Top Installers With detailed energy consumption data and site surveys, solar installers can provide accurate system sizing recommendations and custom quotes for your review.

Comparing detailed proposals with projected savings and costs modeled out over 20+ years simplifies the decision making process.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much do solar panels cost for small businesses in the UK?

For small companies, the average cost to install a solar PV system ranges from £3,500 – £7,500 per kW capacity before incentives. Total installation costs vary based on system size, panel and equipment efficiencies, roofing considerations, customization needs, and more.

What size solar system do I need for my small business?

Your ideal solar system size correlates closely with your average monthly electricity consumption from utility bills, offset by the expected solar power production. Assess past electric usage, factoring in anticipated business growth, to determine the right system capacity tailored to your facility’s needs.

How long will solar panels last?

Commercial solar panels today have a useful lifespan exceeding 25 years. Many solar panels still operate above 80% of original efficiency beyond 25 years. High quality solar equipment installed properly can function effectively for over 30 years.

Can my building support rooftop solar panels?


Most modern commercial buildings can be engineered to support the additional weight of rooftop panel arrays, inverters and energy storage hardware. Installers can conduct structural assessments during site surveys to determine viability and suggest roof reinforcing options if needed.

When will solar pay off for my company?

Commercial solar power for small companies pays for itself in 4-7 years on average, driven by electricity bill savings and incentives. After breaking even the systems generate free renewable energy for 10+ additional years, providing an exceptional return on investment.

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