Why is Solar PV is a green energy solution for businesses?

31 May 2024

Solar PV panels on ground

Raw materials, staffing, labour – no matter where you look the cost of doing business is increasing. Over the last few years this has left many with a difficult decision to make – pass on the increases to customers or absorb the risings costs. Neither is ideal and each comes with its own challenges. But when it comes to your energy – the reason why as many as 35% of businesses have raised their prices1 – there is one way to offset your consumption and cut costs.

Shining a light on solar power

Solar power is growing in popularity, with recent government data showing that solar capacity in the UK has increased by 5.6% the last year alone2. As a source of renewable energy generation it works by using photovoltaic (PV) technology – like solar panels – to absorb sunlight and convert it into electricity. Once installed, businesses will generate their own energy onsite instead of relying completely on the grid. And better still, any energy that’s unused can either be stored and used as you need it (when solar panels are combined with a battery), or sold back to the grid to create an additional revenue stream3.

Break free from rising energy costs

For every kilowatt-hour (kWh) of energy your solar panels produce, that’s one kWh less you’ll need from your energy supplier. So if your business is worried about rising energy prices and long-term uncertainty, then taking back some control over your costs by harnessing solar power could be a practical step to take. The initial investment will take a set number of years to pay for itself, depending on the size and capacity of the installation. However, in the longer term it frees up important cash flow, which can be reinvested into your business or used to support local goals as part of a wider environmental, social and
governance (ESG) strategy4.

What proportion of your energy use will be supported by solar power will all depend on thesize of solar panel you install. But in some cases – during months with the highest sunshine (May to October) – it’s possible to generate enough to cover all your energy needs.

Power up your sustainability strategy

Cost savings are not the only benefit to solar power – the renewable energy source can help you cut carbon too. This can help you meet sustainability goals and strengthen corporate social responsibility. So, whether you’re actively looking to take one step closer to net zero, or simply wanting to boost your environmental credentials and appeal to environmentally conscious customers, with solar power you can do both.

5 common myths about solar power

• Myth #1: You can only install solar panels on a roof

Solar panels can be installed on a roof or any suitable outdoor space such as a parking area or open ground space that’s within the boundary of your premises.

• Myth #2: Solar panels must be in full sun all day

Solar panels generate electricity even in cloudy weather. Having said that, if part of your roof is shaded, solar panels can be fitted with boosters to make sure your system runs to its full potential.

• Myth #3: You can’t install solar panels if you’re don’t own your premises

Even if you’re a tenant and the building is owned by a landlord, there are options – and financial arrangements – that can be used to suit everyone.

• Myth #4: Solar panels don’t work during winter

It’s true that solar panels reach their full potential in the sunniest months of May to October, but they still generate electricity for the rest of the year. However, since it means solar panels won’t cover all your usage, all of the year, the investment is often spoken about in payback years.

• Myth #5: Solar panels don’t work on flat roofs

You don’t need to have a pitched (sloping) roof for solar panels – when installed with the right mounting equipment solar panels work just as effectively on flat roofs.

How much could you save?

The first step to going solar is an audit of your building to see what’s achievable. During this visit the size of solar install possible and how much energy you’ll be able to generate will be determined. You will also be able to see how much you could save you each year, and how long it will take for your investment to pay for itself.

2 https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/solar-photovoltaics-deployment

3&5 Solar panels: a comprehensive guide - Energy Saving Trust

4 https://aztecsolarenergy.co.uk/