Your solar PV post-installation checklist
Once your solar PV system has been installed, you should check that:
- you have received all necessary documentation from your accredited installer including an operation manual and warranty documentation
- your electricity network provider and retailer have been advised and have approved the installation and the meter has been changed or properly reconfigured
- the correct solar tariff has been applied to your electricity bill by your energy retailer
- the energy generation display on your inverter is regularly checked to ensure your solar system is working correctly.
Kindarama Long Day Care Centre, NSW
Kindarama installed a 40kW solar PV system with over 200 panels. Kindarama owner Peter Brown said that choosing solar power as a preferred renewable energy source made sense due to the business being open from 7.00am to 6.00pm five days a week.
“Solar energy reduces our power costs significantly and with the sun and our business operating at the same time, it supplies our daytime energy use,” he said. “This helps us to control our running costs and impacts the stability of pricing and fees for childcare.”
Keep an eye out for solar battery storage
Rather than exporting excess solar power to the grid, solar batteries allow you to store that solar power on-site to use it in your own business during times of peak price electricity.
I recently bought a solar battery storage system from EasyBeingGreen.com.au for my home-based business. It’s the size of a small fridge and contains plug-in batteries that are recharged by the solar panels on the roof. It can power my whole house and home office for 4 hours during the peak period when grid electricity is at its most expensive. This system also gives me the flexibility to add more batteries at a future date. This is useful as the cost of these lithium-ion batteries is coming down in price.
During winter when there can be less sunshine, I can also recharge these batteries overnight with cheap off-peak electricity. I can use this cheaper stored energy to replace the more expensive grid electricity during the peak period of the day.
By reducing the usage of expensive peak electricity, this technology is making a real dent in the enrgy bills of my home-based business.
When will the time be right to use solar battery storage?
Battery storage costs are forecast to come down quickly. Over the next few years, this technology will become cheaper and far more mainstream.
According to the Office of Environment and Heritage, packaged battery storage and solar PV can already be cost effective for business in regional locations (or companies with high backup power requirements). Storage is particularly viable for businesses that are off-grid or where costs of obtaining or augmenting grid connection are high.
Many businesses are realising that battery storage systems for solar PV will have the potential to significantly reduce peak electricity costs. The Office of Environment and Heritage has published an online guide to the latest developments on battery storage. You can check it out at environment.nsw.gov.au/business/solar-battery-storage.htm