Solar may be the saviour of your power bill pain

Adelaide Advertiser – 31 March 2014

SOLAR power systems have been saving households energy and money for years, but is it a worthwhile investment for your business premises?  Every business is different and the payback will depend on system size and a business’s energy usage, says Jenny Paradiso, Managing Director of solar company Suntrix.

She says business owners need to think about their future, such as expansion or replacing old equipment.  “Any business that uses
power during the day will gain from installing solar panels,” Paradiso says.

“Businesses that are closed during the day and only operate at nights wouldn’t benefit as much from solar unless you are
incorporating a battery storage solution with the system.”

Paradiso says systems are generally paid back within three or four years, but businesses are often concerned by the upfront cost.
There are now deals that enable businesses to lease their system over three-to-seven years, she says.  “At the end of the lease you
have a solar system paid off and free electricity, for no more than the cost of your regular bills.”

Mike Chalmers, the founder of buying service Buyologists, says it is vital to shop around, do careful research and read the fine print.  “Once you think you have decided on the suppliers you feel comfortable with, always ask for a better price than they quote you,” he says.  “This is an extremely competitive market, and very rarely can they not do better than the first price they offer. If you don’t ask, you don’t get.”

Chalmers says business owners should also call their electricity supplier to check if there are any implications for their current pricing schedule.  “There have been several recent horror stories where organisations have invested huge amounts into a solar
energy system, only to find out that their applicable metering rates have skyrocketed as a result – sometimes costing far more than any savings they had hoped to make.”

Cheryl Shigrov, the director of childcare centre business Precious Cargo Education, says she installed solar energy after
being frustrated by the rising cost of electricity, and seeing an ethical link in teaching children about the environment.  “The research suggested I wouldn’t have to outlay any more than I already was – the solar reduced our electricity costs and that saving went to buying the system,” she says.

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