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Choosing solar for your business
While every business is different, there are a few key things you’ll need to consider in deciding if solar makes sense for you.
Electricity use during the day
Solar panels generate electricity when the sun is shining. Businesses that use most of their electricity during daylight hours are more likely to get best value from solar. That doesn’t mean solar is only suitable for 9am to 5pm businesses. Even if you operate in the evening or at night, as long as you use some power during the day, and set your system to meet that use, solar can benefit your business.
Your electricity bill
Knowing how much electricity your business uses will help work out what size system is best for you. The more solar power you use day to day, the less energy you’ll need to buy from the grid. Matching the size of your system to your electricity needs means you’ll get the most from your investment.
In Queensland, small to medium businesses are generally charged for their electricity in one of two ways:
A flat rate tariff is usual for businesses consuming less than 100 megawatt hours (MWh) per year. This rate is based on the amount of energy used (measured in cents per kilowatt hour). You may be charged either at one flat rate all day, or two flat rates: one for the day and another for nights and weekends. In addition to your kilowatt hour (kWh) energy charge you’ll also have a daily fixed charge.
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). In addition you will also have a daily fixed charge and a charge per kilowatt hour of energy you use.
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. Solar installers and finance providers need the building owner’s approval before installing a solar system.