A country like the UK which is famous for its gloomy weather is perhaps the least likely to adopt solar power extensively. This is a common misconception that is thwarted by the impressive number of solar panels in the country. The UK ranks one spot above Spain amongst European countries with the highest number of
A country like the UK which is famous for its gloomy weather is perhaps the least likely to adopt solar power extensively. This is a common misconception that is thwarted by the impressive number of solar panels in the country. The UK ranks one spot above Spain amongst European countries with the highest number of photovoltaic systems. Why is it that the UK population is more eager to produce renewable solar energy than other countries with a sunnier climate?
The motivation behind commercial solar panel installation
Small and large enterprises can look forward to the following benefits of installing solar panels:
- Reduced energy payments
- Prominent expression of the company’s eco-friendly values
- Reduced carbon emissions
- Potential to generate income from surplus energy production
- Stable energy supply during summer and reducing the cost of cooling
- Achieve return of investment within a reasonable amount of time for larger installations
Technological advancement has also decreased the overall cost of panels while increasing efficiency. It is estimated that by 2030, solar power will be cheaper than fossil fuel and gas.
Feed in Tariffs is another motivation that the UK government is implementing to encourage both residential and commercial consumers to invest in solar energy. The scheme allows the consumer to recoup the cost of installation as well as earn from surplus solar energy produced by selling it back to the grid.
Renewables Levy Exemption Certificate
In addition to Feed-in Tariffs, commercial installations of solar panels in Manchester, as well as those located in other parts of the country, may get a Renewables Levy Exemption Certificate. Companies with a LEC may bypass paying the Climate Change Levy which is a tax imposed on using non-renewable energy products such as coal, natural gas, and electricity. The current rate of CCL for business is £5.24/MWh. Businesses with solar panels with capacities of at least 50KW to 5MW may be eligible to get a LEC.
What to consider when planning to install commercial solar panels
One of the primary considerations before installing an extensive array of solar panels within business premises is the aesthetic impact. Although solar panels are less noticeable than a wind turbine, for example, many concerned groups are still opposed to the effect of solar panels on the surroundings.
Unlike small, residential installations, businesses need to obtain a planning permit before being allowed to continue with the installation. The local authority will look into many factors such as the visual impact of the panels, the benefit to the community, impact on the ecosystem, and feasibility to connect to the local grid.
Every local authority has different guidelines on the planning considerations for awarding a permit for a business to install solar panels. Apart from these factors, the local authority will also likely conduct a site assessment and ask the residents about their reaction to the proposed solar panel installation. Applying for a planning permit can also be costly depending on the size of the facility. In some cases, the numbers can run up to six figures, which is already a significant investment.
In conclusion, many businesses are still willing to bear the substantial cost of having commercial solar panels installed on their premises because the benefits outweigh the start-up cost which can be recouped within the next few years.