Published: 24 Feb 2023, 11:20
Solarsense has reported a 400% increase in the number of commercial enquiries it has had for solar installations from the manufacturing sector in 2022.
The company noted that there was rising interest from the commercial sector across the board, with telecommunications and data centres, food and beverage, warehousing and distribution all showing increased interest, but manufacturing and engineering stood out as the biggest growth sector.
As well as an increase in the number of enquiries, the scale of the solar installations these companies are targeting has also grown, from an average of 50KWp per installation previously to an average of 250KWp in 2022.
This has been particularly driven by surging power prices in Britain amid the energy crisis. To counter the impact of this, the government introduced the Energy Bill Relief Scheme in October.
However before this, large users of energy had seen costs grow to 45-65p per unit, a circa 350% increase over the last year alone.
With the cost of solar energy sitting at around 4p/kWh – taking into account capital outlay and generation over 20 years – it is therefore unsurprising many are turning to the technology, which also offers greater long-term energy security.
“We’ve been in the solar industry for more than 25 years and the current level of enquiries is unprecedented. The efficiency of solar panels has dramatically improved in the last few years and when combined with the huge reduction in installation costs and increase in energy prices, the financial returns are extremely attractive,” said Solarsense managing director, Stephen Barrett.
“We are now seeing payback periods for the technology as low as between 2-5 years which would have been unthinkable just a few years ago – we were looking at payback periods of 100 years when we first started in the industry! We’re also finding that businesses which already have panels on south-facing roofs are coming back to us as now east/west or even north-facing aspects may be viable, given the energy crisis and high costs of energy from the grid.”
The surge in commercial solar installations mirrors that in the domestic sector, although challenges around the supply chain and a lack of installers are concerns. Amid the high power prices, the payback time for a domestic installation has fallen to just six years.