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Buying and installing a solar system
If you're interested in solar power, the Clean Energy Council's Guide to installing solar for business and industry is a great place to start.
There's more to solar systems than just purchase and installation. Make sure you talk to a number of accredited installers about your specific needs, and get several quotes before agreeing to buy or install a system. You can also ask your installer about alternatives to paying up-front for your system. Read more about your purchase options.
System costs and rebates
To get an idea of average solar system costs by size, go to the Solar Choice Commercial Price Index.
Most small to medium businesses will be eligible for small-scale technology certificates under the Australian Government's Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme.
The cost of installing a solar system may include more than just buying and installing the system itself. Other costs you need to be aware of include:
- connecting your system to the electricity grid (ask your distributor about this)
- replacing your existing meter
- capital works (such as wiring or structural work)
- ongoing system maintenance (e.g. inverters generally need to be replaced every 5 to 7 years).
As with any business expense, it's a good idea to do your due diligence. Make sure you talk to a number of accredited installers about your specific needs, and get quotes before agreeing to buy or install a solar system. You can also ask your solar installer about alternatives to paying up-front for your solar system.
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 real value of solar for a small to medium business is in directly using as much of the solar power generated as possible.
In South East Queensland, electricity retailers pay up to 12 cents for every kilowatt hour of electricity exported back to the grid.
Recent changes to the Electricity Regulation 2006 increased the system size limit for the government mandated regional feed-in tariff from 5 kilowatts to 30 kilowatts.
Customers in regional Queensland with solar systems up to 30kW in size (including existing systems) can receive the regional FiT provided you meet the eligibility criteria. This will help businesses suited to larger solar systems manage their power costs and ensure fair payment for any excess electricity they export to the grid.
For information on connecting a solar PV system in regional Queensland talk to Ergon Energy.
Choosing a system and installer
You can find a solar installer through the Clean Energy Council's register of accredited solar installers. There are now more than 1200 accredited installers in Queensland. Only systems installed by accredited installers are eligible for Australian Government incentives and rebates.
The Clean Energy Council also keeps a list of approved solar panels and inverters that meet Australian Standards. Again, only systems with approved components are eligible for Australian Government incentives. Ensure your installer uses approved components.
Connecting solar to the electricity grid
Check with your installer and your electricity distributor before agreeing to buy or install a solar system. You need your distributor's approval to connect your system to the grid.
The connection process may differ depending on whether you want to export electricity to the grid, and the size of your system. Read more about connecting to the grid.