Solar panels are growing in popularity over the U.K. Businesses or individuals looking to invest in them set to gain an income from them and significant energy savings. The cost can be hugely off-putting for many and for a moderate business the cost might be too high for them to be considered at all. Fortunately there are a number of ways businesses can obtain commercial solar panels. The governments feed in tariff scheme, grants and loans are all an option.
The feed-in-tariff scheme is one of these best methods of funding for both commercial and domestic properties. The feed-in-tariff is a government backed scheme designed to provide funding for properties that produce its own energy with the use of solar panels. The scheme guarantees a minimum payment for all the electricity a site has generated and an additional payment for any surplus electricity produced that is sold back to the national grid. A typical commercial system payment, between 10-100KW, pays on average £2,250 per 10KW produced per year. The payments are in addition to the energy savings the site will make on energy bills by using up its own electricity. The scheme is currently under government review and changes are expected to be announced by the end of 2011.
As yet there are no nationally available grant available for businesses. However, there are some really good regional schemes about that may supply a solar PV grant to a local property. There are also some grants around that will contribute 50% towards the cost of installation and fitting. For example, The Lancashire Small Scale Renewable Scheme, where the business can claim up to 50% of the costs and The North West Development Agency who also have grant funding available locally. It would be an idea to check if there are any national schemes available in your local area.
There is currently a 0% interest loan available from The Carbon Trust which covers all the purchasing and fitting costs for solar PV panels. The loan is available only to improve the energy efficiency of existing properties and not new builds. Loans are available between £3,000 and £400,000. Both SME's and large companies can apply providing that their annual energy bill does not exceed £500,000 per annum. The carbon trust allows you to pay off the loan for up to four years later. So with 0% interest on the e loan and income and savings to be gained from the panels the loan will effectively pay off itself over time.