Did you know that commercial and industrial rooftops have a significant potential and should gradually grow in importance in the years to come?
Utilities: Companies’ Strategic Partners for Solar Photovoltaics Deployment
To understand better this statement, you should consider these 3 characteristics that differentiate Commercial and Industrial energy self-consumption from the domestic one:
- Larger size of installations.
- Higher energy consumption.
- Absence of energy consumption time slots, as it tends to have a 24-hour consumption.
The manufacturing costs have fallen, making solar a viable and highly effective way to cut operational costs. But companies that opt for self-consumption of energy may face some challenges:
- Find the right funding and finance options.
- Choose a suitable technology and material (roof mounted solar schemes or ground mounted solar) according to their electricity needs.
- System design, installation, ongoing maintenance and monitor the performance of solar panels.
- Safely store and utilise the generated power.
- Maximise the benefit of their solar installation (reselling the extra solar energy to the grid, limiting the consumption from the national grid.
- Planning permission: In the UK construction permits from local municipality for commercial rooftops up to 1 MW in size (planning permission) are delivered through a fast-track process . However, important limits and conditions must be respected (permission from the landlord, freeholder or management company, building regulations, installation requirements, etc). Planning permission will be required if the solar PV system is intended for installation on a listed building or a site designated as a scheduled ancient monument or world heritage site.
- Accreditations & certifications: HAS, Gas Safe Register, IET, MCS, NICEIC, RECC, BIS, etc.
- Testing and inspection costs.
- Registration with regulators and energy suppliers.
Despite these challenges, which are entirely solvable, self-consumption is very profitable for companies because of the benefits it brings:
1. Savings on their energy bills. Energy costs account for a high % of their total costs, so this energy model can provide high savings on electricity bills.
2. Financial stability: Choosing sustainable solar energy allows the companies to reduce their energy price rises exposure since they have kept hiking up over the past few years and better financial forecasting.
3. Financial gain for unused solar energy: This modality allows the energy produced that is not consumed (i.e. the surplus) to be fed into the electricity grid, with the company receiving compensation from the electricity supplier, in addition to the savings from consumption from its own photovoltaic installation.
4. High return on investment: companies may achieve a positive cash flow between 2 and 4 years thanks to the benefit and the commercial solar PV installations used to provide a solid ROI.
5. Green Business credentials: by improving their Corporate Environmental Responsibility and reducing their carbon footprint, companies gain credibility in the eyes of their customers, increase their competitiveness and add value to their commercial property.
6. Help in the development of Corporate Social Responsibility policies: Solar photovoltaics deployment contributes to sustainability and compliance with global climate change objectives.
Moreover, the new regulatory framework is focused on facilitating and encouraging self-consumption by companies, allowing them to take advantage of the facilities and their roofs. Taking into consideration all these aspects, Utilities might become the perfect partner for companies that opt for self-consumption.
As experts in the energy sector, they already have the knowledge, experience, financial resources and necessary infrastructures so that companies would benefit from this energy model from minute one.
The most innovative utilities have already seized this opportunity and adapted their business model. They are now offering very attractive self-consumption packages to their end customers. Let’s explore this new trend.
Energy Self-Consumption Products: The New Trend among Utilities
According to the Energy Retail survey carried out by PwC, the pandemic has produced a strong trust in energy suppliers and the appearance of a new category of consumers: “the conscientious buyers” that make up nearly a third of the market. Lockdown consequences, reinforced consumers’ trust and awareness increased by technology are 3 combined factors that create significant opportunities for Utilities.
So, how can Utilities adapt their products to the new trend? And what do these products consist of?
These self-consumption products are mainly characterised by integrated service offers ranging from the feasibility study of the project to the installation and maintenance of the photovoltaic systems. This wide range of all-in-one services would allow the customers to get the most out of their solar installations:
Here is an example of self-consumption product offered by an energy supplier that can be found on the market.
- On-site energy generation and immediate power for a lifespan of up to 30 years.
- Personalized Solar Equipment Installation.
- Energy contracts for large businesses to help them to turn their energy into profit.
- Energy consultancy: supporting customers in their energy management and orientate their decisions.
- Smart Export Guarantee (SEG) & Energy contracts: help them to sell excess electricity back to the grid, storing energy for using peak times, and installing electric vehicle (EV) chargers on their premises.
Moreover, some utilities may offer insurance like HIES (Home Insulation and Energy Systems) guarantee) and MCS accredited installations (MCS is an industry-led quality assurance scheme, which demonstrates the quality and reliability of approved products and installations).
Find out How an Integrated Energy Management Solution helps Utilities offer Renewable Self-Consumption Products reading the full article here!