4 Business Benefits of Going Solar
It’s clean and it’s more affordable than ever. For businesses both large and small that have some roof space or land available, opting for solar panels can have a number of benefits that more than make up for the initial outlay. There’s no doubt that it’s an increasingly attractive proposition for businesses to go the renewable route and, with the right incentives in place, many are choosing to make the investment.
With electricity prices set to rise even more over the next few years, finding an alternative that cuts the costs is forming a primary part of the future business plans for many SMEs. Even local councils are starting to get in on the act with many using it to save on fuel bills and generate an additional and very useful income.
The Solar Panels Saving a UK Council £30,000 a Year
Take the example of Halstead Leisure Centre in Suffolk. The council have installed nearly 600 panels on a roof that covers the area of 4 tennis courts. This allows the centre to produce around 160,000 kWh of electricity a year and makes for a profit of £30,000 annually. The council see it as sound investment for the local area of Braintree with reduced carbon emissions as well as a healthy return on investment that can benefit the community.
A Reduction on Energy Bills
Of course, the primary benefit of producing your own electricity through solar panels is that you don’t have to pay the utility companies for the pleasure. For big businesses as well as small ones this change in outlay can have a huge impact and the savings can help release funds that can be invested in more important things like product development and staff employment. Yes, there are upfront costs for the installation but it’s more like prepaying your electricity bill for the next 20 to 25 years and at a much cheaper cost.
A Sound Return on Investment
Here’s where it begins to get more interesting for businesses that have installed solar panels. You can sell your electricity back to the grid and make an even better profit. The scheme that allows this to happen is called the Feed in Tariff and it basically pays your business a certain amount of money for each kWh that you produce. You have to pay tax on this as profit but there is still chance of a substantial return on investment if you chose the right system.
For an average sized system, you would expect to pay off the initial investment within 6 or 7 years, assuming that you qualify for the Feed in Tariff. That means everything else after that, apart from any maintenance, is considered pure profit which can be fed back into your business.
Low Maintenance and a Reliable System
Unlike other renewable technologies, solar panels have few moving parts. That means they are generally considered low maintenance and one of the most reliable sources of power you can get. The average lifespan of a solar panel array is between 20 and 25 years and many are expected to last for up to 40 years if they are taken care of properly.
Boosting your Business Green Credentials
More and more customers and other businesses are starting to take an interest in the green credentials of who they do business with. That means making a marketing point of your investment in renewables may well give you kudos with consumers – after all you’re helping to cut down on your carbon emissions and save the planet. If you take a look at the websites of many big companies nowadays they will have a whole section devoted to their green credentials including how they source goods responsibly and how they are helping to cut down their environmental impact.
Going Green Works for Business
Promens installed a large solar panel array on their factory back in 2011 and have seen numerous financial benefits from the electricity they produce. But they also believe that it has had a significant effect on getting new business. According to manager Adrian Banks: “I think it has put out a very positive message to our staff and customers alike. It’s difficult to say if business has been won as a direct consequence, but our greener credentials certainly impress when customers visit our site and see our aerial photos.”
You don’t need access to a large roof area such as a factory or supermarket to make an impact with solar panels. Many smaller businesses with low staff numbers are beginning to see the benefit of going solar rather than depending on the vagaries of fuel prices delivered by the major utility companies. Even if they do not make a substantial profit through the Feed in Tariff there is the opportunity to keep those fuel bills down and make savings that will have an impact on the future running of the company.