Rebates for small business commercial solar in Victoria!

The Victorian government have announced a new scheme to help increase small business commercial solar in Victoria – with two different rebates currently available. Let’s take a look at what your company should do if you’re thinking about installing – you can get a rebate of up to $3,500 to help pay it off!

Commercial Solar in Victoria – Solar for Business rebate

Solar for Business rebates (source: solar.vic.gov.au)

According to the Victorian government website, from May 2021 eligible small businesses in Victoria can apply for the Solar for Business Program rebate. The rebate offer includes up to 50% or $3,500 (whichever amounts to less) on eligible solar power systems.

The program is eligible to quite a lot of small businesses, here’s the skinny on the details if you want to apply:

You must:

  • Be the owner of a business which has less than 20 employees     
  • Operate from premises that are not considered residential     
  • Operate from premises that are individually metered    
  • Have your system installed by a Solar Victoria approved solar retailer (click for a search) as detailed on Solar Victoria’s website   
  • Install a solar system with a PV capacity size up to a maximum of 30kW, as detailed on the Solar Victoria approved product list

Solar for business has been a no brainer for quite a while now, so with rebates like this being offered there’s never been a better time to consider installing renewable energy at your small business. If your bills are in the thousands per month you will save money installing solar. To also enjoy a rebate from the government is a very nice sweetener indeed – hopefully we see the scheme being taken up and similar rebates in other states implemented.

To register your interest please click here.

Small Business Energy Saver Program in Victoria

The Small Business Energy Saver Program is another option – providing generous bonuses of up to $2,000 for companies who upgrade to more energy-efficient equipment, such as air-conditioning, refrigeration, and heating pumps. 15,000 solar rebates will be available under the program – these will be doled out over the next three years.

(Very) rough solar installation costs – commercial solar in Victoria

Generally you can budget around $1000 per kilowatt (a little over a dollar a watt) of power on your system (after STCs), e.g. a 50kW system will be around $50,000 (closer to $65k in WA, if you’re thinking about a place to set up commercial solar…). This is obviously very, very rough and you’ll pay a bit more per watt for a smaller system (e.g. 10-30kW) rather than up to 100kW, so don’t quote me on these prices. Please note that the Solar for Business rebate only covers systems to a max of 30kW!

If you do want some help with getting a price guide for commercial solar installation or you’d like someone to go over some quotations with please email us and we’d be happy to help.

You can also get help with some rough savings numbers by using the solar calculator at the Queensland government website.

Registered accredited providers

The Victorian website has an up to date list of accredited providers for the scheme, but if you’re interested in installing commercial solar in Victoria and taking party in the rebate scheme, here’s a list current as per 12.04.21:

Barwon South West

Energy Makeovers
Replace inefficient electric hot water systems
Replace inefficient gas hot water systems
Upgrade to efficient room reverse cycle air-conditioners
Install energy efficient refrigeration and ventilation fans and motors
Install energy efficient refrigerator display cabinets
1300 788 776
[email protected]

Expert Group
Peter Brodribb
Install energy efficient refrigerator display cabinets
03 9592 9111
[email protected]

LED Saves
Rob Reyes
Replace inefficient electric hot water systems
Replace inefficient gas hot water systems
03 9088 0285
[email protected]

Gippsland

Energy Makeovers
Replace inefficient electric hot water systems
Replace inefficient gas hot water systems
Upgrade to efficient room reverse cycle air-conditioners
Install energy efficient refrigeration and ventilation fans and motors
Install energy efficient refrigerator display cabinets
1300 788 776
[email protected]

Expert Group
Peter Brodribb
Install energy efficient refrigerator display cabinets
03 9592 9111
[email protected]

Homelab
Mr Jack Labno
Replace inefficient electric hot water systems
Replace inefficient gas hot water systems
Upgrade to efficient room reverse cycle air-conditioners
Install energy efficient refrigerator display cabinets
Install energy efficient fridges and freezers
Install energy efficient refrigeration and ventilation fans and motors
Install water efficient pre-rinse spray valves.
1300 781 614
[email protected]

LED Saves
Rob Reyes
Replace inefficient electric hot water systems
Replace inefficient gas hot water systems
03 9088 0285
[email protected]

Wattly
Patrick Blain
Replace inefficient electric hot water systems
Replace inefficient gas hot water systems
Install energy efficient refrigerator display cabinets
1300 878 500
[email protected]

Grampians

Energy Makeovers
Replace inefficient electric hot water systems
Replace inefficient gas hot water systems
Upgrade to efficient room reverse cycle air-conditioners
Install energy efficient refrigeration and ventilation fans and motors
Install energy efficient refrigerator display cabinets
1300 788 776
[email protected]

Expert Group
Peter Brodribb
Install energy efficient refrigerator display cabinets
03 9592 9111
[email protected]

Homelab
Mr Jack Labno
Replace inefficient electric hot water systems
Replace inefficient gas hot water systems
Upgrade to efficient room reverse cycle air-conditioners
Install energy efficient refrigerator display cabinets
Install energy efficient fridges and freezers
Install energy efficient refrigeration and ventilation fans and motors
Install water efficient pre-rinse spray valves.
1300 781 614
[email protected]

LED Saves
Rob Reyes
Replace inefficient electric hot water systems
Replace inefficient gas hot water systems
03 9088 0285
[email protected]

Hume

Expert Group
Peter Brodribb
Install energy efficient refrigerator display cabinets
03 9592 9111
[email protected]

Homelab
Mr Jack Labno
Replace inefficient electric hot water systems
Replace inefficient gas hot water systems
Upgrade to efficient room reverse cycle air-conditioners
Install energy efficient refrigerator display cabinets
Install energy efficient fridges and freezers
Install energy efficient refrigeration and ventilation fans and motors
Install water efficient pre-rinse spray valves.
1300 781 614
[email protected]

LED Saves
Rob Reyes
Replace inefficient electric hot water systems
Replace inefficient gas hot water systems
03 9088 0285
[email protected]

Wattly
Patrick Blain
Replace inefficient electric hot water systems
Replace inefficient gas hot water systems
Install energy efficient refrigerator display cabinets
1300 878 500
[email protected]

Loddon Mallee

Energy Makeovers
Replace inefficient electric hot water systems
Replace inefficient gas hot water systems
Upgrade to efficient room reverse cycle air-conditioners
Install energy efficient refrigeration and ventilation fans and motors
Install energy efficient refrigerator display cabinets
1300 788 776
[email protected]

Expert Group
Peter Brodribb
Install energy efficient refrigerator display cabinets
03 9592 9111
[email protected]

Homelab
Mr Jack Labno
Replace inefficient electric hot water systems
Replace inefficient gas hot water systems
Upgrade to efficient room reverse cycle air-conditioners
Install energy efficient refrigerator display cabinets
Install energy efficient fridges and freezers
Install energy efficient refrigeration and ventilation fans and motors
Install water efficient pre-rinse spray valves.
1300 781 614
jwlabno[email protected]

LED Saves
Rob Reyes
Replace inefficient electric hot water systems
Replace inefficient gas hot water systems
03 9088 0285
[email protected]

 

 

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How much electricity does a solar panel generate per day? What’s a tier 1 panel?

Having the world’s highest average solar radiation per square meter, Australia is considered the most potential and viable solar energy source whether you’re a home or a commercial entity looking to install panels on your premises.

Choosing the right solar system can be very confusing as there’s a lot of misleading jargon and buzzwords – especially with the solar panels! You’ll also have to ensure they are compatible with your entire solar system – you’ve then got to see how they interact with each other before trying to calculate their output, which can be challenging as well.

It is impossible to tell you with certainty that your solar panel produces this much power – as this varies from brand to brand and panel to panel. There’s also something else you need to consider in addition to choosing a panel – the quality of manufacturer, generally ranked via solar panel tiers.

How much electricity does a solar panel generate per day? Photo by Ryan Searle on Unsplash

How are solar panels tiered?

Solar panels are categorized into three tiers, with tier 1 as the best. This can affect output depending on the brand and number of watts per panel (especially over longer periods of time). Your location will also be important – obviously someone in Australia is going to get better value out of a solar installation than someone in Glasgow (only 50 days of sunshine a year there…).

Let’s discuss the concept of a Tier 1 solar panel. This is a bit of a misnomer – in the sense that Tier 1 or Bank-ability solar panels come from companies which have been in the industry for many years and are financially capable of dealing with your warranty issues, repairing issues or any problems you encounter over the ~10 years you will use their product. That’s my convoluted way of saying Tier 1 denotes the ranking of the manufacturer itself, not the solar panel. It is the manufacturer who will back up your product in the case of potential future defective panels or installations. Banks or investors may not want to put their money in your solar power project (commercial solar or residential) unless they’re satisfied your manufacturers are likely to be around if and when your solar systems malfunction. How many successful projects has the company undertaken? How long have they been around? The answers to these questions will impact which tier the manufacturer is.

It is important to keep in mind that Tier 2 or Tier 3 solar panels are not always a poor choice per se – these manufacturers can also offer high quality panels, it’s just riskier to rely on them because the company is recently established, and you may not be sure how long they’ll be in the industry. Maybe their manufacturing standards aren’t as robust as some of the bigger brands – as always, you get what you pay for. It’s a matter of weighing up the pros and cons and ensuring your solar investment is making money within your risk tolerance. And if you’re going for a bigger installation, it’s generally worth going for a quality manufacturer and a tier 1 panel. Preferably more than one, but you get the point.

Who chooses solar panel tiers?

This tier-based ranking (remember, it’s per manufacturer, not per panel) is decided by Bloomberg New Energy Finance – a research organization. There are other ‘tier’ lists out there which are better off avoided as it can be very confusing – the Bloomberg list has been well trusted for a long time.

If you’re interested in more detail in how a company’s tier is decided, the official BloombergNEF site has a useful PDF you can download here.

Just remember, there’s a lot of marketing involved in solar, so be sure to ask as many questions as you can to the salesperson. Grab a copy of the spec sheet for the panels they’re showing you and check it out yourself. Do your due diligence and you can even end up with a cashflow positive solar installation.

How much electricity does a solar panel generate per day?

Your location and the amount of watts in the solar panel will also impact the amount of power your panels are able to generate. solar panels will be in terms of making the most of the solar power.

Your inverter also plays an important role in regulating and maximising generation of solar power. A top-notch quality solar inverter determines how well your solar output is distributed, applicable once the DC power turns into AC.

In Australia you can generally bank on 10-12 hours of sunlight during summer. For simplicity’s sake, let’s call average sunlight 10 hours for our calculation, and the capacity of the solar panel we’re measuring is 300 watts:

Total Watts = Average time of sunlight x Solar Panels watts x Number of Panels

= 10 x 300 x 1

= 3000 Watts Hour or 30KWH Daily

But we also need to consider solar panel efficiency. A solar panel has a maximum of 15–22% efficiency, due to the Shockley-Queisser limit silicon panels will never reach greater than 1/3 efficiency.

Let’s calculate total watts from a single panel, daily, with 20% efficiency:

3000 Watts x 20% = 600 Watt Hours or 0.66KWH per day.

If you want to measure solar output you have numerous options depending on which inverter you’ve chosen. Most of them offer a web-based interface so you can keep an eye on how much money you’re saving – you could even pipe the solar statistics to a Raspberry Pi, or automate reports showing how much you’ve saved. Solar power in Australia has never been cheaper – we’re seeing a meteoric rise in commercial solar installations nationwide, whether you’re Ikea or an SME – it’s time to go green and choose solar power for your business.

Which manufacturers offer tier 1 solar panels in 2021?

As per review.solar for Q1 2021:

  • LONGi
  • Jinko
  • JA Solar
  • Trina Solar
  • Canadian Solar
  • Risen
  • QCells
  • Suntech
  • Talesun
  • First Solar
  • ZNShine
  • Seraphim
  • Eging
  • Haitai New Energy
  • Astronergy
  • Jolywood
  • SunPower/ Maxeon
  • Jinergy
  • VSUN Solar
  • Jetion
  • LG Electronics
  • BYD
  • AE Solar
  • Phono Solar
  • Waaree
  • HT-SAAE
  • REC Group
  • URE
  • ET Solar
  • Renesola
  • Adani
  • Boviet
  • Vikram
  • Ulica
  • Leapton
  • Hansol
  • Kyocera
  • S-Energy
  • Recom
  • Shinsung
  • Heliene
  • Sharp
  • Swelect
  • Photowatt

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Rolling With The Times: The Business Benefits of Going Green

While 90% of Australian businesses are interested in being environmentally sustainable, only half are actively doing their share, according to HP Australia. That is an interesting thought given that sustainable and eco-friendly technology is consistently improving. In order to get brands and businesses to be more environmentally aware, they must get a clear understanding of the benefits they can reap from solar panels and the like. So what sort of benefits exist? 

Energy Cost Savings and Rebates

One of the ways retailers can become green is by embracing energy efficiency. Solar panel technology is a gateway to energy cost savings and energy efficiency. It’s also an opportunity to earn more money. A good example of this is David Green of Melbourne who sheared off nearly $500 from his energy bill by installing solar panels. Beyond that, he was able to earn $800 from the government as any excess energy he generates gets sent into the grid which is distributed to other consumers. These are savings and earnings that savvy businesses can take part in and it’s all because of embracing eco-friendly solutions.

Green Fund Loan 

The Australian government is also embracing the sustainability movement and is actively empowering consumers to do the same. A common concern about renewable technology is the initial hefty cost that goes along with it. Australia’s answer to that is the Sustainable Australia Fund wherein consumers and businesses can offset the costs of solar panel installation prices through a loan that can be paid over a 20-year period. Needless to say, switching to sustainable technologies is an affordable and practical move that every business will benefit from.

Sustainable Consumer Benefit

Businesses listen to the loudest voice and this voice belongs to their consumers. Roughly 83% of Australians expressed that it was extremely important to them that brands offer environmentally friendly products and services, according to Accenture. From the packaging to the materials, consumers are now highly discerning about the brands they patronise. If a brand does not share a client’s conservation-led advocacy, those consumers are less likely to be customers. When brands do not adjust accordingly, their profit margins will eventually suffer. So businesses that embrace solar technology effectively attract consumers who are concerned about sustainability and the environment.

The concept of sustainability is not just a trend with benefits, it is virtually a necessity. Businesses must realise by now that being eco-friendly isn’t just a statement or a PR move. It is something that they and the community they are a part of will ultimately benefit from.

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Redflow – ZBM2 Microgrid in Tasmania for Hackett

Redflow CEO Simon Hackett has shifted his Tasmanian sheep and cattle farm to a new power source – a 100kW ground mounted solar microgrid using 27 Redflow ZBM2 batteries. Nice to see the bosses eating their own dog food. Let’s take a look at the project and what their future plans are for it.

Redflow – ZBM2 Microgrid in Tasmania for Hackett

Hackett, the owner of Redflow,  will use an initial deployment of 27 ZBM2 batteries, storing as much as 270 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of energy, interfaced to a large fault-tolerant cluster of 12 x Victron Quattro 48/15000 inverter/chargers.

Simon Hackett at his Tasmanian farm (source: Redflow)
Simon Hackett at his Tasmanian farm (source: Redflow)

 

“The project, with an overall budget of around $1 million, will include the building of a new site-wide microgrid. This will use new underground power interconnects to link seven distinct buildings across the whole property,” Hackett said in a statement. He went on to discuss the existing situation at the sheep and cattle farm he owns:

“We already have a Tesla Model S at the property and we plan to progressively replace our existing fleet of diesel farm ATVs, utes, and tractors with electric versions as soon they become available,” he said.

“We read with interest earlier this year that Toyota is committed to making electric HiLux 4WD vehicles and we would love to take delivery of the first of those to reach Australian shores.

Hackett explained that the Microgrid has myriad future plans and will be scalable:

“We can and will add more renewable energy generation using solar and/or wind if required in the future. Even after the full replacement of diesel vehicles with electric ones, we expect the property to be a net exporter of electrical energy to the Tasmanian grid,” he said.

Lastly, Hackett is very optimistic (mind you, he’d want to be) about the installation – we’re very interested to see some figures on how much it saves:

“I am convinced, based on my deep experience with Redflow, that ZBM2 batteries at the core of this energy system can deliver the hardworking energy storage and longevity to make this investment pay off over the long term,” he said in comments made last week.

Click here to read the original press release on Redflow’s website, entitled ‘Redflow receives order for ZBM2 batteries to power rural microgrid in North West Tasmania’.

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Coles Solar Power – Supermarket signs commercial solar PPA.

Coles solar power – the giant supermarket company has signed a power purchasing agreement (PPA) with global renewable power generation company Metka EGN. Another huge step for commercial solar and retail solar. Let’s read more about it.

Coles Solar Power

The goal is to buy more than 70% of the energy generated by three solar power plants. The plants will be bnuilt and operated by Metka EGN in Wagga Wagga, Corowa, and Junee in New South Wales – this represents 10% of the company’s entire national electricity usage! Metka EGN are a London based EPC contractor working as a subsidiary of Greek company Mytilineos Holdings S.A. According to PV Magazine, construction of 169MW will commence by EOY and project development is at an ‘advanced stage’. 

Coles Group CEO Steven Cain discussed the move and Coles’ goal to be the most sustainable supermarket in Australia:

“Coles has been a cornerstone of Australian retail for more than 100 years, and ensuring the sustainability of our business is essential to success in our second century,” he said.

“We are thrilled that with this agreement, Coles can make a significant contribution to the growth of renewable energy supply in Australia, as well as to the communities we serve.” Mr. Cain continued.

Thinus Keeve, the Coles Chief Property and Export Officer, had some comments about the Coles solar power scheme – noting that it’s the first Australian retailer to commit to buying renewable energy through a PPA.

Metka/Coles’ solar plants will supply over 220 gigawatt hours of electricity to the national grid. This will result in the displacement of over 180,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions every year. According to the media release this is also the equivalent of the annual emissions of 83,000 cars.

To read the media release entitled ‘Coles agreement secures three new solar power plants’ on the Coles website please click here.

What will Woolworths do to compete with this? Watch this space…

Greenpeace Australia Pacific Senior Campaigner, Lindsay Soutar spoke on the issue:

“Some of the world’s biggest companies, including supermarket chains Walmart and Tesco, have already made the commitment to 100 per cent renewable.

“We look forward to seeing Woolworths make similar commitments,” she said.

 

 

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