Green tech

Should Your Small Business Invest in Solar Energy?

Like many owners of small businesses, you may be wondering whether it is worth your company to invest in solar energy. Whether you have an empty roof space that you think may be perfect for solar panels or are interested in purchasing renewable energy stocks, solar energy can be an excellent long-term investment.

Today, sustainability has become a hot topic for many organisations as they try to reduce their carbon footprint and lower energy bills. Being an environmentally aware company can also attract new customers as more people become concerned with the increasing global warming crisis. Investing in solar energy is well worth spending some time investigating. There are options out there to suit all budgets and company sizes.

Save Money With Solar Power

If you have the roof space available for commercial solar panels, they can make a significant difference to your energy bills as they generate free green electricity during daytime hours. They will lower your company’s demand for energy from the central grid, and there may even be the opportunity to sell surplus power to utilities, generating an extra income.

Unlike other renewable energy sources, solar panels have no moving parts, which means there are very few ongoing maintenance costs. As a result, solar PV is a reliable and relatively safe investment that can provide returns exceeding traditional low-risk financial products.

Energy prices are expected to rise sharply over the next ten years, so investing in commercial solar panels makes financial sense for businesses. Having control over your own energy production can make financial forecasting easier by allowing you to essentially forward buy your electricity at a set price. In addition, installing solar panels has the potential to stabilise your electricity supply and reduce cooling overheads during the warmer months.

Reliable Renewable Energy Supply

Across most of the world, there is an issue with energy security. National grids are struggling to generate enough electricity to support the growing electricity demands. Many governments have introduced mandatory energy audits for large corporations to evaluate whether there is a need for energy usage regulations in the future. Having an independent solar installation is a smart backup measure.

Apart from generating a reliable power supply for your business, solar energy systems will mean you will reduce your carbon footprint by emitting less CO2 into the atmosphere. In turn, this will increase your company’s sustainability credentials and boost your business reputation. Rooftop Solar panels are a fantastic way of visibly displaying the company’s green values in a prominent and public-facing way.

Solar Power Installation Options

The scale of your solar system will depend on the suitability and scale of the space available, along with the allotted budget. If you want to install a large scale solar array, you will most likely need to get planning permission from the local authority. Getting solar panel installer approval will be based on several factors, which include:

  • Visual impact (such as glare);
  • If there are any obstacles like trees, hills, or buildings which could cause shading issues and reduce the output of the array;
  • Impact it may have on the local ecosystem, the benefits the array may bring to the local community;
  • Ease of connecting the solar power source to the local grid;
  • Whether the land has flat or south sloping ground;
  • Access for initial construction and regular maintenance;
  • If the proposed site is susceptible to floods.

Rooftop solar panel installations may not require planning permission; however, you should check with your local planning office. If your business is located in a listed building or a site designated as a scheduled ancient monument or world heritage site, there could be restrictions.

There are many different kinds of solar panel systems available. The size of your commercial business will determine what the most suitable solar system for your company is. Typically, the most popular system for small businesses has a 5-9kW output. However, a commercial operation with vast surrounding land may involve a system with an output of 25kW, or even as much as 200kW.

Due to advancements in solar panel innovation, solar systems have plummeted in cost over the past ten years. As a result, it has never been so affordable to generate your own private solar power source for your business. So whether you are contemplating investing in a large solar farm or rooftop solar panels, there are options to suit whatever the budget.

Other Solar Power Investment Opportunities

Physically installing solar panels is not a viable option for all businesses, but this does not mean you can’t get involved in solar investments. Here are some examples of alternative ways to invest in solar power:

  • Mini energy bonds – For those who may not necessarily want to invest in the entire company through general stocks, some energy companies now offer mini energy bonds to help support their renewable division. Mini energy bonds allow you to focus on green investment and only invest in their solar power division.
  • Buy solar company stocks – Purchasing solar energy stocks is a relatively simple process. With a global initiative to go green over the next ten years, solar companies are expected to do very well. Consequently, those investing in them will potentially make a good return.
  • Solar income funds – Many governments have committed to producing a percentage of all energy by renewable sources within a set period. Solar income funds consist of your company backing a government solar power scheme to help them hit the national target. In addition, some governments pay you for the energy produced by the subsequent solar panels in return for your investment.

Closing Thoughts

Deciding which solar investment is best for your business takes time and research. As a business owner, you should evaluate all your green investment options and carefully assess the pros and cons of each. Whatever direction you choose to go, the benefits of going solar far outweigh the drawbacks. In addition, understanding how to make your business more sustainable will help you make wiser and more confident about future business choices.

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