From the pandemic altering energy demand and working patterns, to energy prices climbing to record highs, it’s been a volatile few years for the energy sector. And with the urgent need to cut carbon emissions, energy supply and usage will remain vitally important to businesses of all sizes for years to come.   

All these factors are strong reasons to examine the current means of meeting your business’s energy needs – and whether they’re future-proof.  If you’re looking for an accessible for your business to generate its own electricity, this article explores why solar is a good option.  

Why is now a good time to install solar? 

It’s affordable 

The estimated cost of installing solar is around £1,000 per kW of installed capacity. Solar Energy UK reports that the payback time on a commercial solar array can be less than five years. After that, they’ll produce free electricity for another 25 years or more.  

It’s reliable 

Solar generates power all year round, peaking on clear, sunny days from April-September. With plenty of data to draw on about average generation levels, your business will have accurate forecasts of the returns you’ll get from your panels. 

It’s quick to install 

It can take less than 12 months to install a large rooftop array, from planning through to completion. Most commercial solar arrays meet the conditions for Permitted Development, which means you don’t have to spend time getting planning permission. Your installer can help you understand whether your system will need permission. 

It can improve your EPC rating 

From April 2023, landlords will be unable to grant or renew commercial leases on properties with EPC ratings below E. What’s more, a study by Handelsbanken UK found that just 9% of commercial landlords can meet this minimum standard across all their properties. 
While we may most strongly associate EPC ratings with energy efficiency measures like insulation, installing solar panels boosts your rating by up to two levels because they reduce your carbon footprint. 

“the rise in fuel costs and further planned hikes in energy efficiency standards make carbon-reducing measures a smart investment for landlords and tenants alike […]at the same time, we would guide them towards taking a broader, longer-term view of sustainability, for instance how it might better support green transport choices”   Richard Winder, Handelsbanken UK head of sustainability 

Roof mounted solar panels at a UK vineyard.

What do you need to consider before you install solar panels? 

What’s your main business reason for installing panels? 

Be clear about the most important outcome of installing solar. For example, do you want to sell the majority of what you generate to an energy supplier? Or do you want to use as much of it onsite as possible?  

These considerations will help you work with your installer to assess the size of array you need, and whether to combine solar with technologies like battery storage.  

What is your electricity demand now – and how could it change in the future? 

If your primary reason for installing solar is to meet a significant proportion of your business’s electricity demand, make sure you have past consumption data to refer to.  

This should go back at least a few years – and make sure you take into account any meaningful changes due to outside factors. For example, many businesses found their energy demand dropped significantly in 2020-2021 due to increased home working during the pandemic. 

You should also take into account anything that is likely to change your energy demand in the future. Are your workforce returning to the office full time or have you adopted a hybrid working model? Are you likely to reduce or expand your premises? Will you electrify more of your energy usage, such as shifting to electric heat pumps or installing electric vehicle charge points? 

Where will you install your panels? 

The most obvious answer may be on the rooftop – especially if you have clear space on a factory, warehouse or outbuilding.  

Other options could include installing ground-mounted panels. If considering this, make sure you’ve factored in the likelihood of requiring the land for different purposes in the future. One option that could gain popularity is combining a solar array with another use, such as France introducing legislation requiring all car parks with 80 or more spaces to be covered in solar panels.  

Solar installers such as Good Energy partner, Wessex ECOEnergy will complete a survey to recommend the most beneficial location for your panels. 

Roof mounted solar panels

What if you rent? 

Businesses occupying rented buildings will have some specific hurdles to overcome. If installing panels on the roof of a shared building, you’ll need to get agreement from the landlord to install the array. You’ll also need to agree who will share in the cost of installation – as well as receive the benefits.  

How to install solar for your business 

  1. Find an accredited installer such as Wessex ECOEnergy, an established solar panel installer that is part of the Good Energy Group. Wessex is based in Dorset and is MCS, RECC and Tesla Energy Certified, with a strong reputation for high quality service and installation standards.

    Find out more about our commercial installation services here.
  1. Site survey, energy and financial modelling, including permission to connect to the National Grid. This will be managed by your installer. If you’re concerned about the upfront cost, explore financing deals using a trusted B2B platform like Finpoint. 
  1. Installation begins once the system has been agreed. Disruption is usually minimal during installation, as power does not necessarily need to be switched off. 
  1. Start using your 100% renewable electricity! Your solar panels react to the visible light spectrum – as soon as it’s light enough to see, they’ll start generating. If you’ve added battery storage, you can save your electricity to use after dark, or during peak times. 
  2. Sell your excess renewable power to Good Energy. We support generators of all sizes, with very competitive PPAs and export tariffs.


Solar Energy UK – Corporate Buyer’s Guide 2022