If you’re looking into powering your business with solar energy, you’ve probably noticed that commercial solar systems come in a wide range kiloWatt (kW) ratings. Like many potential solar investors, you may be unsure of what these ratings mean in practical terms.
Put simply, the kW rating refers to a solar system’s capacity for energy output in conditions of unobstructed sunlight. Bigger is not necessarily better, though - it comes down to the individual needs of your site, operations and finances.
Systems sized at around the 30kW size are a popular choice for commercial sites with low to medium energy usage - with annual electricity costs of around $15,000.
Savings and ROI
If you’re looking at solar systems in the realm of 30kW, it pays to investigate how much energy these solar systems are able to produce and compare this to your power bills.
In doing this, it’s important to keep in mind that a solar system’s generating potential depends on a number of case-by-case variables.
For example, your site’s geographic location influences the amount of available sunlight, and this determines the generating potential of a solar system. Brisbane, for example, receives ample sunlight year-round, so solar systems up north will likely generate more energy.
Other factors to take into account include:
- Solar system quality
- Structural features, such as roof type, orientation and shading
- Obstructions to light
- Seasonal variables
That said, as a rough estimate, a 30kW solar system can generate energy of value equivalent to $10,000 to $20,000 per annum. For businesses with annual electricity bills roughly around the $15,000 mark, a solar system of this size has the potential to dramatically reduce (if not eliminate) the need to buy energy from the grid, while not wasting capital on purchasing and maintaining a solar system that generates more power than you can use.
For businesses with electricity usage at around this level, full return on investment for a 30kW system is generally achievable in under 5 years, with these systems costing between $32 000 and $55 000 on average.
While cost is key when thinking about installing a commercial solar system, spatial considerations are a further deciding factor.
While it’s clear that solar systems with higher capacities can generate more energy and have a higher ROI, many small to mid-sized commercial sites simply don’t have the roof space or layout to support a large scale solar system.
A 30kW solar system can often be suited to such cases, offering significant power bill cuts and emissions reductions within the scope of a smaller rooftop.
Typically, a solar system of this capacity will require around 120-140 panels, depending on the make of panels and the tilt of the roof. This means you’ll need suitable roof space with dimensions somewhere in the ballpark of 150-200m2.
Our commercial solar panel calculator is an easy way to get an overview of how many panels your site’s roof can accommodate.
From there, a Cherry Energy Solutions expert can assist you exploring the possible extent of the savings that solar can provide for your business.
IBIS Hotels’ Redcliffe branch sought a solution to reduce operating costs and enhance sustainability credentials. With round-the-clock operating hours, the site’s energy consumption was high.
Cherry Energy Solutions installed a 29.15kW solar system. Composed of 110 x 265kW solar panels, it will generate an estimated 46 000 kWh of energy annually, which translates to a saving of $13,850 per year. In addition, the business will reduce their carbon footprint by 40,000 kg CO2 per annum.
This strong reduction in energy costs means IBIS Redcliffe can expect to see a rapid return on their investment, plus protection from rising and volatile electricity prices as well as committing to a more sustainable future.
See more on this project here.
Ready to find the right fit?
For small to medium businesses investing in commercial solar, it’s essential to choose the right solar system size for a balance of maximum power bill cuts and optimal cash flow.