Here in Australia, we’re all feeling the pinch of rising electricity costs and small business owners are no exception. In the State of New South Wales (NSW), which has the country’s largest population, energy costs will jump by 38% in two years largely due to underinvestment in infrastructure (electricity poles and wires etc) and the flow on effects of the Carbon Tax.
The introduction of the Australian Federal Government’s Carbon Tax on July 1 this year has seen electricity companies increase their prices to compensate for any losses associated with the tax. The government is providing relief in terms of personal income tax but there is little in the way of help for small business.
One area which has some of the biggest potential to ease the cost of electricity price rises is solar energy. The uptake in Australia has exploded in recent years with generous government rebates on solar systems and feed in tariffs (where you send unused electricity back to the grid in exchange for credits on your electricity bill) providing a real incentive to make the switch to solar power.
What’s in it for small business
Installing a commercial solar power system gives business owners the opportunity to generate their own electricity from the infinite supply of the sun. Australia has some of the best sunshine in the world and those who are green savvy are taking full advantage.
The cost of producing solar panels is constantly dropping – largely due to the arrival of major players out of China, so the barrier to entry is being lowered all the time. In fact, we’ve seen costs of solar systems drop by around 50% from 2011 – 2012, meaning the once high capital costs associated with installing a system are diminishing – fast. By moving your business to a solar energy source, you’re in effect hedging your bets against rising electricity prices.
Key Economic and Environmental Benefits
- Solar electricity generation is cheaper than buying from the energy retailer meaning you’ll get more for less and have your system paid back in a number of years (usually less than 10) – any power you generate after you’ve paid off your investment is free;
- Selling electricity back to the grid – unused power is sent back to your electricity retailer each night and credits are then applied to your power bill – it is very possible to end up getting money from your utility company;
- Taking advantage of rebates and grants such as the Solar Credits Program and tax breaks of up to $6,500 on installing a solar system;
- Increased resale value of your premises – a key advantage for commercial properties such as warehouses for lease and their owners as having your own electricity supply will become increasingly sought after and is a great selling proposition;
- Environmental statement – think about the positive benefits of being seen to be making a difference to the environment through installing a solar power system and what this would say to current and potential customers – they’ll want to do business with you; and
- Reduce your carbon footprint by playing your part in a cleaner, greener future – this goes without saying, but we all should be doing our bit and businesses now have the perfect opportunity to do so.
Given the fact that installing a solar power system, whether for residential or commercial purposes is so much cheaper now than even 12 months ago, and it’s not uncommon for the average business to save upwards of 40% on their energy overheads, it makes perfect sense to begin the move to solar energy today and reap the rewards for years to come.
This article was written by the team at Solar Market – a 100% free independent advice site for anyone looking to learn more about solar power. They also provide Australians with 3 free quotes from accredited solar installers as well.