Commercial Solar Systems 101: A Simple Guide

All businesses should be looking to reduce their energy consumption and electricity spend wherever they can. A commercial solar system is a great way to do this in an economical way, without having to change the way your...

Energy Business News spoke to Smart Commercial Solar's Huon Hoogesteger in the run up to All Energy.  Here's an excerpt:

Storage is a major theme at All Energy Australian 2017 this week, and one of the key participants was Huon Hoogesteger from Smart Commercial Solar, the firm’s founder. Huon answered some questions from EBN in this Q&A about energy storage trends and making the smart grid a success.   

There would seem to be a new wave building of larger scale solar installation. Where do you think this market is at and how do you assess its potential?

We really are witnessing an energy revolution and it’s amazing to me that this isn’t front page news every day. Even long-time industry experts have been taken by surprise by the drop in solar prices, and large-scale solar installation has massive potential. Solar business cases are now 50 to 100 per cent stronger than they were just 12 months ago. The typical business case for ROI is now around 3 years which puts it well within the range for most businesses. Not only that, many solar projects are now cash flow positive from day one, meaning that even after loan repayments are taken into account, a business will spend less from the start. Let’s think about that for a second: solar is now so cheap that it is cheaper to borrow money to install solar than it is to continue to pay electricity bills from conventional power. The disruption these economics will have is only just beginning to be felt.

What are the drivers for corporates to invest in their own solar installations?

Bill shock. For the first time corporates have realised that energy, one of their key overheads, is a threat completely outside of their control. The driver for most corporates is the gap between what they have to pay for conventional power and how much less they will pay if they install solar. We’ve seen companies in long-term energy contracts watch as these contracts expire and they face 50 per cent or more increases in their power bills —in some cases, they are literally looking at energy bills that could be business killers. Bill shock is going to last for a very long time, it is not going away. Solar is the obvious solution to this problem. Beyond economics, what we are seeing is the economics align with the sustainability goals and that’s great to see.

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