How to save £1,000s each year with Solar PV and a Low Carbon Workspaces grant

With SMEs having to balance the need for energy security, affordability, and sustainability of supply, investing in Solar PV can be one of the more cost-effective way of achieving these goals.

Introduction

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) continue to play a leading role in the UK economy, accounting for more than 99.9% of UK businesses[1]. As the country continues to unlock following the COVID-19 pandemic, companies are increasingly looking for ways to reduce their overheads and future proof their business.

With almost a third of SMEs highlighting the cost of energy as a barrier to growth and success of their business, finding and investing in energy efficiency savings can be one of the best ways of reducing these costs[2]. Recent studies have shown that an average SME can reduce its energy bill by as much as 25% by installing energy efficiency measures that payback within a few years[3].

With SMEs having to balance the need for energy security, affordability, and sustainability of supply, investing in Solar PV can be one of the more cost-effective way of achieving these goals.

What is Solar PV?

Solar Photovoltaics (also known as Solar PV/solar panels) convert energy from the sun into electricity. This electricity can then be harvested and used in buildings to offset the electricity consumption from the National Grid.

How does a Solar PV system work?

Solar PV systems generate electricity by using solar panels which can be mounted on the roof of buildings, to absorb energy from the sun. The electricity generated is in the form of direct current (DC) and a device called an inverter is then used to convert this to Alternating Current (AC) which is used by appliances in a building. Any electricity not used by the building can also be exported to the national grid.

Is it expensive?

Cost for Solar PV systems have been falling in the last decade as the technology has matured and become more established in the UK. Solar installation has seen a 20% drop in capital cost since 2014, the average cost for a 4 kWp system (typically 12-16 panels) can be anywhere between £5,000 - £8,000[4].

Many systems now provide a return on investment within an 8-year period and business owners can expect to benefit from systems over a 25-year lifetime period. A Low Carbon Workspaces grant could reduce the payback period on a commercial solar installation by more than 3 years.

Solar panels are designed to be low maintenance, with an annual service costing less than £100 per annum[5].

What are the benefits of Solar PV?

Benefits can include a reduction in electricity bills, security of energy supplies, generation of revenue by exporting excess electricity to the national grid and a reduction in your company’s carbon footprint. It also protects against the inevitable increase in the cost of electricity.

How can the Low Carbon Workspaces team help?

Low Carbon Workspaces offers small and medium-sized businesses in Buckinghamshire, Bedfordshire, Berkshire, Hertfordshire, Northamptonshire, and Milton Keynes grants of between £1,000 and £5,000 to cover up to a third of the cost of installing a new Solar PV system.

The Low Carbon Workspaces team is on hand to support you at every step of your application and can also support you with a free Green Diagnostic, to estimate how much energy you can expect to save from your Solar PV project.

The Low Carbon Workspaces team can be contacted on 01494 927131 and at info@lowcarbonworkspaces.co.uk or to find out more go to www.lowcarbonworkspaces.co.uk

[1] Energy efficiency scheme for small and medium sized businesses: call for evidence (publishing.service.gov.uk)

[2] DECC_advice_guide.pdf (publishing.service.gov.uk)

[3] DECC_advice_guide.pdf (publishing.service.gov.uk)

[4] Solar photovoltaic (PV) cost data - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

[5] How Much Does Solar Panel Maintenance Cost in 2021? | Checkatrade

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