Reduced operational costs

Although this depends on the cost of your existing electricity, if you are supplied by a municipality and not Eskom, the chances are very good that the cost of the electricity supplied by a solar PV plant, if not almost the same or cheaper than municipal costs, will be so in the immediate future. Factoring in that electricity tariffs are destined to continue rising for the foreseeable future and that most solar PV systems are, by design, expected to produce electricity for at least 25 years (and longer), the savings over time can be tremendous.

Generate additional income

Depending on your roof, you might have enough space to build a PV plant of a meaningful size. Naturally, certain criteria have to be met to make any plant viable, elements such as the orientation, pitch, shading objects and structural integrity. Assuming these criteria are met, you as a landlord could build a PV plant on your roof and supply tenants with electricity alongside the municipal supply. Imagine taking even a portion of the revenue from the municipality for electricity you produce, for 25 years.

Over time It can add up to a substantial income. All of this on a roof which before had no purpose other than keeping the rain out! It is not unusual for some of the plants we built to pay themselves off in under 8 years.

If you have no tenants and are paying the electricity bill yourself, some municipalities offer a mechanism through which you can either resell unused energy produced by your plant to the municipality or receive a credit against your bill. These are either feed-in-tariff schemes or net metering programmes. There is more to discuss in relation to this topic , though, but the detail description required warrants a future article.

Improved energy security

This is a hot topic in South Africa in particular given our history of power failures, irregular supply and load shedding. As policy makers discuss all the options under consideration (nuclear power plants, independent coal-fired power stations, offshore vessels supplying electricity, more utility-sized renewable energy projects such as wind farms, CSP and solar PV plants etc.) business has to continue. Many have installed diesel generators to mitigate this risk however diesel can prove expensive, fuel can run out and generators do breakdown.

The alternative is storage (batteries) but to date, this is too expensive for most commercial considerations. Space required to house the batteries is also a problem. This will not be the case forever. As prices for solar panels dropped over time as demand increased, so too will the cost of storage. With the likes of Tesla and some of the biggest automakers and international consumer goods companies (Mercedes Benz, BMW Samsung, Sharp, Siemens, Philips, Bosch) developing storage solutions ,not to mention the existing conventional battery manufacturers; the laws of supply and demand will inevitably drive costs down.

Some businesses install hybrid systems whereby a portion of their solar PV plant charges batteries to be utilised for critical systems in the event of a power failure (much like Uninterrupted Power Supply systems) and also connect to a backup generator. This is all done to offer continuous power whilst also reducing energy costs over time.

One of the greatest benefits of solar PV is that it is scalable. Installing storage to an existing solar PV system at a later stage (when cost effective), is also a relatively straightforward process.

Attract customers, tenants, and employees

Whether you are a landlord or tenant, being able to boast a solar PV system on your roof which supplements your energy requirements shows a commitment to a sustainable way of doing business.

With the benefit of reduced operational costs, you as a landlord might also be able to offer a lower utility cost to your tenants thereby improving tenant retention.

Depending on the nature of your business or premises, being able to highlight and quantify the energy savings and reduced carbon footprint could be a deciding factor for clients or customers who in their own right want or need to demonstrate a preference for environmentally sustainable suppliers.

The above may all sound like spin, but in truth, renewable energy is a key factor to improving our environmental performance and claiming credit for it only motivates others to follow suit, which in turn is good for everybody!

Quicker and easier installation

Last but certainly not least; installing a rooftop solar PV plant is usually a lot less complicated, less expensive and takes less time when compared to building a ground mount or parking structure equivalent solar PV plant. Whilst this is most often the case, there will always be exceptions.

Aside from the time saved by building on the roof, it also means that you aren’t prohibiting further expansion onto open land that could be developed in future.

Want to find out more? Use our Solar PV Calculator to work out if a plant would be feasible for your business. Or just call us direct on 021 300 1620 – 011 568 0768 to find out more.