Solar for business

Commercial Solar Panels

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"Spirit is a rare company that not only meets but exceeds your expectations."

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Award winning designers and installers of renewable energy systems. Experts in solar, battery storage, microgrids and off-grid.

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Our technologies are all supported by financing solutions so that you can transform your energy use at no upfront cost.

Who should consider installing commercial solar panels?

Solar makes seriously good sense for any business or campus (university, college, school, hospital or business park etc), with a decent roof (or plot of land) and a long-term (10 years plus) intention to stay in their premises. Ideally the business should own the freehold of their premises, or should have a long-lease over the property.  

As you will see if you read on.. the lifetime cost per kWh of solar electricity is now 3p per kWh.... yes 3p per kWh... this compares to 10 - 12p for electricity purchased from the grid.

In the right business, the system will more than pay for itself, should be financable if necessary and will provide all of the following benefits:

  • Inflation linked returns of 10% plus from the Feed-in Tariff and bill savings.
  • Grid independence - depending on space and load, solar will typically provide anywhere between 10% and 60% of the annual electricity requirement, increasing by around 20% with battery storage.
  • Protection against rising electricity prices.
  • Improvement in Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating.
  • Reduced carbon footprint.
  • Building Regulations compliance for new builds.
  • Reliable, low maintenance technology.
  • A positive response from employees, visitors, customers, suppliers and shareholders.

Costs, subsidies and payback time

Rooftop solar panels usually cost between £650 and £1200 per kWp installed, depending on roof access costs, roof covering and roof pitch (flat, sloping etc). A 50kWp system will cost anywhere between £33,000 and £55,000 plus VAT.

A kWp typically gives a saving of around £110 per year, so £5,500 for a 50kWp system, giving a payback time of between 6 and 10 years.  The panels will last 25 years or so (with one inverter replacement expected during this time).  The % return over 20 years is usually in the order of 9-18% (IRR%).

Most of the return comes in the form of a reduced electricity bill -  for a typical business, each kWh generated by the solar system is worth around 12p if used on site, and 5 - 6p if exported to the grid.  A small part of the return comes in the form of the Feed-in Tariff subsidy, payable in respect of every kWh generated by the system for 20 years; this is currently 1.94p per kWh for a 50-250kWp sized system.

The lifetime cost per kWh of solar energy cost is remarkably low.... around 3p!

On average over 25 years (taking into account degradation of panels), a kWp will generate between 750kWh and 900kWh a year.  That's around 20,000 kWh over the life. So the unsubsidised cost per kWh of solar energy is only 5p.  Now that's something to shout about! 

If you then subtract the Feed-in Tariff subsidy, the cost per kWh falls to around 3p per kWh! The grid cost is 12p for the typical business, and rising .... and rising.... and set to rise a little bit more when the coal fired power stations have all been shut down (target date: 2025). 

Financing solar for business: cash neutral / cash positive from the start

The only issue with solar for business is that the business is effectively installing its own mini power plant, and pays for 25 years' worth of solar electricity up front. Even though solar only costs around 3p per kWh (net of subsidy), the subsidy is only realised over the life of the system, and, in any event, there are always other projects competing for the cash.

However, given that the payback time of most energy generation and reduction projects is much lower than the expected system life, projects can be financed such that the overall cashflow profile is positive, or at least neutral, in the early years.

Luckily we work in an industry which is a leader not only in technological innovation, but also in financial innovation. Over the years we have developed relationships with many finance partners providing different forms of energy-efficiency finance.  All have one aim: to help businesses and public sector organisations to implement sustainable business strategies that deliver a competitive advantage at no up-front cost. 

There are three forms of finance to be considered, each of which has its own dedicated page on our website:

  • For SMEs: The £5000 Green Business Fund Giveaway.  This isn't strictly finance, it's free money, non-repayable, working out at 7% - 12% of project costs, available while it lasts to SMEs, charities and some schools. The solar must be installed by an accredited installer, such as Spirit.
  • Power Purchase Agreement.  An investor pays for the panels, and the business gets discounted electricity, cheaper than grid electricity.
  • Lease finance

Which are the best panels?

We cover technology choice in our knowledge bank. You can read about the best solar panels here. 

Permissions required for solar

Again permissions are covered in our knowledge bank.  The main ones are permission to connect, structural compliance, a requirement for a D-rated EPC to obtain the maximum Feed-in Tariff rate, and a possible requirement for planning permission.

Why Spirit?

We undertake solar PV projects across the south of England, typically with a value of £1000 - £2 million.

We have a proactive approach and take pride in our ability to combine bespoke solutions with best value for money.  We have seen continued growth in solar PV installations both across the new build sector, and by end-users (schools, universities, corporates and public sector sites).  We hope that our 97% satisfaction rating speaks for itself.

All of our work is undertaken in-house, this allows us to pay attention to the detail and deliver technical excellent solutions at a very reasonable cost.  Having installed systems for almost 10 years, we know most equipment suppliers and can recommend the best technology for each client.

We have a first class in house team of engineers. They love a challenge and enjoy designing bespoke solutions, whether using building integrated technology (e.g. solar glass, solar roof tiles), customised triangular panels, or off-grid technology.

Finally we provide full O&M support for the life of the system.

Our services include:

  • Free consultation and quotation.
  • Free completion of tender documents.
  • In depth feasibility studies and system design.
  • Technology integration – on-grid and off-grid solar, wind, storage, lighting controls, EV charging and voltage optimisation.
  • Installation using in-house installers, servicing and maintenance.
  • Financing support to help you transform your energy use at no upfront cost.
  • CPD training.

     

    Solar for contractors and housebuilders

    We work extensively for contractors (construction) and for housebuilders.  Follow these links for more information:

  • contractors;
  • housebuilders;

You may also be interested in our free Specifiers Guide to Solar PV:

Download our Specifiers Guide to Solar PV

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Call us on 0118 951 4490 for assistance, whether for a general chat or to request help with a specific installation project.  We also offer a free online quote request. We can install commercial solar within a 100 mile radius of Reading.

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