Is solar PV right for businesses in Cornwall?

This month’s Business Cornwall featured an article from Helen Willett at Coodes, sharing her expert legal tips on what to be aware of if you are considering solar PV for your business- and highlighting that solar is still a lucrative investment for businesses. Solar PV is a simple option and great for businesses right now as currently, the balance between price per watt for PV and the payments from the feed in tariff make it an ideal time to invest in solar PV for your business.

The local press has recently featured articles regarding the current situation with Western Power connection agreements – the connection agreement is the process by which the customer gains approval from Western Power to install renewable technology that will feed generated electricity back in to the grid. Currently, as with old train lines, the main artery of the National Grid in the South West is at capacity and is unable to carry any additional power. The consequence is that many new renewable projects won’t now get permission to connect.

However, this doesn’t mean an end to the option of choosing renewables such as solar PV for your business in Cornwall. There are many customers who already have connection agreements in place, but haven’t yet invested in the installation – so, if you are one of those businesses, then making the next step to getting a connected install would be a high priority.

If you are only just considering solar PV but think it may no longer be worth the investment, there are still worthwhile options to consider.

High energy use businesses:

If your business has high daytime energy use, then a solar PV system designed to produce energy matched to your consumption would be a good option. The benefits would be:

  1. Reduction in energy bought in from your energy supplier, so your overall cost per kWh is reduced.
  2. Protection from rising energy costs in a volatile global energy market.
  3. Predictable energy savings and costs, helping you to budget and build your business into the future.
  4. Meet planned legal requirements to improve the EPC rating of your premises
  5. Demonstrate corporate responsibility and promote the green credentials of your business.
  6. Solar PV is quick and easy to install, so there is little disruption to your business.
  7. Solar PV is known as a ‘fit and forget’ technology. Once the initial outlay is made, there are no additional costs to keep it running, other than an annual safety service and clean.
Businesses with high energy generation:

If your business is investing in renewable energy but won’t use all the power generated, the addition of energy storage can be a very cost efficient way of approaching the solution. We have worked closely with Wattstor to develop an energy management solution for businesses to maximise their investment in renewable energy generation. A Wattstor can be fitted alongside a new solar PV installation, or retro fitted to an existing installation.

In addition to the benefits already highlighted above, the additional benefits of a Wattstor are:

  1. Store any energy that is not used as it is generated – if your business doesn’t have a high enough energy demand during generating hours, you can store the energy and use it later in the day or at night.
  2. A Wattstor will manage your energy usage, and if generated power is not being used by your standard demands, it can intelligently divert surplus energy into existing systems and processes – for example, storing energy in refrigeration systems.
  3. Enables businesses with high energy demands at different times of day to gain the same benefits as other businesses with more standard operating hours.
  4. Cost effective, the Wattsor has been independently verified by Exeter University to validate the savings gained from storing and using your generated power.
  5. The Wattstor energy storage system has been designed and developed in Cornwall, and by choosing a locally developed product, you are supporting the Cornish economy.

We have worked with a variety of highly respected businesses in Cornwall who have chosen to invest in solar PV and other renewables. Amongst them are St Austell Brewery, Trewithen Dairy, Lyhner Dairy, Bosinver Farm Cottages, Trevornick Holiday Park and Gwel an Mor.

If you would like to join these successful businesses in making a great investment for your business, give us a call. We can help you with initial enquiries with Western Power and can also advise on any planning issues. We’re here to help!