Typically large solar systems (over 100kW) means you only earn rebates over time (LGC’s). This means longer break-evens and higher upfront costs.
However, if you are a shopping centre, or multi-tenanted building, with separate meters for each tenant, you can install a very large solar system and benefit from the upfront discount afforded by STC’s.
This means lower capital costs, maximum yields, shortest break even, and greater returns — long term. In fact given the multi-site premises are valued on their revenue returns, the capital value is realised immediately in business value uplift.
How Does This Work?
The National Meter Indicator (NMI) is equivalent to the grid connection point and a commercial sub-meter (such
as within an embedded network) for STC’s purposes, is the equivalent. Any meter that is used to record the consumption of electricity for the purposes of a financial transaction between unrelated parties in relation to the consumption of electricity as defined in subregulation 3(1)
of the Regulations, means a solar power system under 100kW at each point of connection will
be entitled to claim STC’s. The exception to the rule is where there is an electrical connection after the sub-meters.
If you can collect separate electricity bills that names each site at a separate address with different NMI’s for each site and an electrical schematic showing no electrical connection after the meters, that will be sufficient to prove to the regulator that each system is ASGU.
We recently installed 700kW of solar to a ‘Home’ shopping centre. Originally the owner wanted to reduce their common area power bills. The common area power requirements are minimal and would only require a 30kW system. We considered our clients position and worked a much better solution.
By combining all loads behind a single gateway meter, we were able to increase the buying power of the whole site. Where the tenants are paying around 25c/ kW has individuals, combined the energy at the gate way dropped to 15c/kWh. The Site owner continues to sell power to the tenants for 25c/kWh. The combined loads now look more like requiring a 700kW system, which benefit all tenants including the common area. Export is minimised because as a site, the individual shops, ebs and flows of consumption blend into a smoother, larger load, maximising their use of solar.
At 700kW the site would normally have been installed under the LGC program, in which case the site owner would need to spend around $1 million. By splitting the system into 7 x 100kW systems, each installed behind a sub-meter, we were able to drop the capital cost to $700,000.
Further to that, because we are Smart, we were able to put the whole system on a PPA. The capital cost to the client was $0. Our energy rate was 11c/kWh. The returns to the client exceed $14c/kWh which translated to $155,000 per year in additional income.