Solar for small to medium businesses
Many Queensland businesses are enjoying the benefits of solar, after choosing to install a solar photovoltaics system (solar system). Benefits of installing a solar system, and generating your own renewable energy, include:
- reduced electricity costs – and increased bottom line
- hedging against future electricity price rises – using the energy you are generating
- reduced environmental footprint – generating your own renewable energy while the sun is shining
- possible marketing advantages – increased business use of renewable energy.
Assess your requirements
Register for the Business Chamber Queensland ecoBiz program to access a free on-site one-on-one coaching session with a sustainability expert, who can provide you with tailored advice on choosing the right solar for your business. You can also access ecoBiz free resources online.
Buying and installing a solar system
If you're considering installing a solar system, the Clean Energy Council's Guide to installing solar PV for business and industry (PDF, 1.7MB) is a great place to start as there's more to solar systems than just purchase and installation.
Like any business investment, it is a good idea to talk to several accredited installers about your specific needs and get several quotes before purchasing or installing a solar system. Your chosen installer may offer alternatives to paying up-front for your new solar system. You may wish to consider the following before installing a solar system:
- Electricity use during the day – businesses that use most of their electricity during daylight hours (when solar panels generate electricity) are more likely to get the best value from solar.
- Your electricity bill – knowing how much electricity your business uses will help you work out what size system is best for you so that you get the most from your investment.
- Your electricity tariff – in Queensland, small to medium businesses are generally charged for their electricity in one of two ways (based on annual electricity usage):
- A flat rate tariff is usual for businesses consuming less than 100 megawatt hours (MWh) per year. Your business is charged based on the amount of energy used (measured in cents per kilowatt hour). You may be charged either at 1 flat rate all day, or 2 flat rates: 1 for the day and 1 for nights and weekends.
- A demand tariff (or capacity tariff) is usual for businesses consuming more than 100MWh per year. Your business is charged based on the maximum amount of power used at any one moment (charged in kilowatts or kilovolt-amperes, also known as your peak demand).
- Connecting to the grid – you need your distributor's approval to connect your system to the grid before installation. The connection process may differ depending on the size of your system and whether you want to export electricity to the grid.
- Feed-in-tariffs – you may be able to sell excess electricity that your solar system produces back to the grid, but you need to weigh up the financial benefits. The main value of solar for a small to medium business is generally in using as much of the solar power generated as possible.
- Premises ownership – many small to medium businesses lease their premises. Because installing a solar system can involve building alterations, make sure you talk to your body corporate or landlord first.
Read the Clean Energy Council's Guide to installing solar PV for business and industry (PDF, 1.7MB) for further advice about how to decide if a solar system is right for your small to medium business.
Requirements for large solar and battery systems
From mid to late November 2022, new or replacement rooftop solar PV and battery storage systems of 10 kilovolt amperes or greater will be required to install a generation signalling device.
Read more about how Queensland's new emergency backstop mechanism will safeguard the stability of the grid and support the continued uptake of renewables across the state.
- Last reviewed: 20 Nov 2022
- Last updated: 21 Jul 2023