Utilising solar energy using solar photovoltaic panels can provide a
number of benefits for small businesses.

As of 2023, small businesses will be paying between £4,000-£7,000 annually for the electricity they use. Businesses, such as restaurants and pubs, are falling into the higher end of this range, meaning they are facing high energy bills from their energy providers.

Opting to incorporate solar photovoltaic (PV) panels into your small business’s sustainability journey can help to significantly lower these figures as you will be producing your own electricity, using a renewable energy source, for free.

Many businesses worry that the upfront cost of solar photovoltaic panel installation is too expensive. However, there are financing options available to you that can help spread out the cost and come with their own benefits, such as:

Purchasing: Buying solar photovoltaic panels allows businesses to own the system and benefit long term, with savings on energy bills. The initial cost will be higher, however, over time the reduction in electricity costs and potential income from feeding energy back to the grid will pay off the investment.

Leasing: This allows businesses to install solar photovoltaic panels without the big upfront cost. The solar company owns and maintains the panels, whilst the customer pays a fee for the electricity generated. This can be useful for those that don’t want to handle the maintenance or who have limited funds.

Power Purchase Agreements (PPA): PPAs involve entering an agreement with a solar company to purchase the electricity generated at a predetermined rate. The company will install, own, and maintain the system. This gives you immediate savings on electricity costs, without the upfront cost.

Incentives and Rebates: The UK Government offers incentives and rebates to promote the installation of solar photovoltaic panel installations. The Feed in Tariff (FiT) scheme provides payments for the electricity generated and fed back into the electrical grid. The Smart Export Guarantee (SEG) ensures customers receive payment for any surplus energy exported.

If you already have solar panels installed on your business premises it is important to know that you also have access to the Feed in Tariff (FiT) scheme, whilst you carry on benefiting from the electricity you produce.

For businesses that do not own their premises, make sure you talk to your landlord. Encouragingly, solar photovoltaic panels benefit both the tenant and the landlord as it adds benefits to the building for the long-term, as it reduced the energy bills, increases the sale price, and makes the premises more attractive to future tenants.

For more information on solar panels see our Ultimate Guide to Solar Panels!

Solar photovoltaic panels