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A Guide to Choosing the Best Commercial Solar in Australia

Introduction

With utility rates skyrocketing in Australia, commercial solar PV systems are becoming extremely attractive for companies looking to take control of energy costs. Commercial solar provides clean, renewable energy while reducing grid dependence. However, selecting the right solar PV provider is crucial to realize maximum value. This guide covers key factors in choosing the best commercial solar providers in Australia.

Key Takeaways

  • Vet installer experience, licensing, safety record and financial stability
  • Understand and compare panel warranties closely 
  • Look for premium inverter equipment with guaranteed performance
  • Model system size and specifications to your actual usage patterns
  • Scrutinize monitoring and maintenance services post-installation
  • Get multiple detailed quotes comparing lifecycle costs and production

How to Choose the Right Solar Partner for Your Business

Installing a commercial solar system is a significant investment that should provide decades of reliable service. However, solar energy is only as good as the components and the provider behind it. Follow this step-by-step process to ensure you make the best choice:

1. Determine Your Usage Requirements

The first step is understanding your facility’s energy consumption patterns. Analyze recent utility bills to determine daily and monthly demand along with your operating hours. This enables potential installers to properly size a system to maximize economic returns. Workweek energy demand may vary greatly from weekends for example – factoring in these patterns is critical.

2. Research Local Providers 

Search online directories and solar industry associations to create a list of potential suppliers and installers near you. Look for providers specializing in commercial systems at your scale versus residential. Make sure they service your state since licensing requirements differ across Australia. 

3. Vet Technical Qualifications

Not all solar companies are created equal when it comes to skills. Thoroughly examine each provider’s technical capabilities including:

  • Industry certifications held
  • Years of experience designing/installing commercial solar 
  • Number of systems installed locally with proof (case studies)
  • Licensing for electrical and construction work
  • Membership in industry associations like Clean Energy Council

Ideally, the provider should have a strong technical team led by accredited solar system designers.

4. Assess Reliability and Services

Beyond sheer technical ability, you want a reliable provider who will be around for the long haul to service your system. Assess factors like: 

  • Company financial strength and stability 
  • Expected life of the company
  • Warranties and guarantees provided
  • Safety track record and compliance history
  • Monitoring services offered for system performance
  • Maintenance and support services available if issues arise

Established local companies with a history of satisfied customers make the safest bet. 

5. Compare Equipment and Warranties

Solar panels and inverters are the heart of your system – and not all models are made equal. Scrutinize each provider’s equipment carefully:

Panels: Look for Tier 1 panels rated for longevity and performance. Compare panel degradation rates and the manufacturer’s throughput warranty. High-efficiency monocrystalline panels are ideal for commercial systems.

Inverters: Opt for premium inverter brands known for reliability. The inverter warranty should cover at least 10 years and preferably up to 20 years. Look for model-specific performance guarantees.

Racking: Racking connects panels to your roof. Good mounting equipment is durable enough to handle wind, storms and movement.

Monitoring Hardware: Choose a system with robust monitoring technology to track real-time performance and pinpoint issues quickly.

6. Get Quotes and Production Modeling

Now you are ready to have qualified providers assess your facility and usage needs. Get quotes from at least 3-4 researched vendors. Have them model projected solar production and savings based on your roof space, demand profile and actual weather patterns. Make sure bids break down:

  • Total system cost over lifetime 
  • Financing options like PPAs
  • Expected solar production output
  • Financial savings or ROI projections 
  • Ongoing operation and maintenance costs

Closely compare specs between quotes – higher kW systems will produce greater savings.

7. Ask About Incentives and Financing

Good providers will educate you about available federal and state solar incentives you can take advantage of. These include renewable energy credits, solar rebates and tax breaks. Also discuss potential financing options that minimize upfront costs like solar power-purchase agreements. Understand ongoing costs when comparing proposals.

Conclusion

Selecting the best commercial solar provider involves considerable due diligence across equipment, capabilities, costs and services. But the effort is well worth it for decades of solar energy savings. Use the checklist above to make the solar choice that best fits your commercial facility and financial needs. Going solar delivers sustainability for your business while unlocking dramatic cost reductions – so your only regret may be not starting sooner. Power up your business for the future by calling on solar providers today for quotes.

FAQs on Commercial Solar Providers

What size system should I install for my business?

Your installer will size the system based on your electricity consumption, available roof space and projected energy offset needs. As a rule of thumb, aim to offset at least 30-40% of your usage with solar to maximize savings.

Should I buy or lease a commercial solar system? 

Purchasing your system outright provides the greatest long-term savings but requires large upfront capital. Solar leases involve little or no upfront cost but monthly payments over time. Power-purchase agreements allow you to buy solar energy without purchasing the system. Evaluate each model financially. 

How much roof space do solar panels require?

As a guide, you need about 100 square feet of unshaded roof space per 3-5 kW of solar capacity. So a 100 kW system would require 2,000-3,000 square feet of roof. Your installer will determine exact requirements.

What maintenance is required for commercial solar panels?

Commercial solar systems require very minimal maintenance over decades of life. Providers should offer services like system monitoring, on-call troubleshooting, inverter servicing, and cleaning dust off panels when necessary.

How long do commercial solar panels last?

With quality equipment, commercial solar panels can reliably generate energy for 30-40 years. Look for robust panel warranties of 25-30 years from Tier 1 manufacturers. The inverter may need replacement after 10-15 years.

How much do commercial solar installations cost? 

Costs vary greatly based on system size, components and geography but rule-of-thumb is $1,500-$2,500 per kW installed. So a 100 kW system could be $150,000-$250,000. Get quotes customized to your facility.

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