How many kW’s does your commercial solar installation need?
We’ve said it before, but we’ll say it again: when it comes to commercial solar installation, system design is key.
And when it comes to system design, the size and capacity of your system is one of the most important considerations.
System size goes beyond the physical area that your solar panels occupy. When our solar team talks about system size, we’re talking about capacity as well as a range of other considerations.
Today, our solar installers in Melbourne will be explaining exactly what those considerations are, and the impact they’ll have on your solar panels.
“This panel is too big… this panel is too small… but this one is just right!”
It isn’t just porridge and beds that need to be the perfect size – so too does your solar PV system.
When we talk about size, we aren’t talking about physical area. Although this is important – your roof only has so much space, after all – advances in solar cells are making panels more compact than ever.
No, we’re talking about size in terms of capacity!
A solar system that’s too powerful for your needs is overkill, and can be a waste of money (though feed-in tariffs can offset this).
Likewise, a solar system that doesn’t have enough capacity can struggle to provide you with the amount of electricity you need to operate. Not to mention, it also means that you won’t see the savings you’re looking for with your commercial solar installation.
To ensure that you get enough energy to meet your needs without paying more than you need to, capacity is one of the first things the team at Pacific Solar look at.
Unlike other commercial solar installers, our team takes a data-first approach. We begin by taking readings of your energy consumption, as well as your budget.
Using this information, we can choose the system that’s the best fit for your needs and calculate exactly how much money you stand to save on your energy bill!
Watts, kilos, hours, oh my! Essential solar terminology explained
When talking solar, there are certain measurements and terms you’ll hear over and over again.
Unfortunately, this can make choosing the perfect solar PV system difficult – something that many fly-by-night operators are relying on!
If you’re to make an informed decision regarding your commercial solar installation, you’ll want to familiarise yourself with terms like…
The equivalent of 1,000 watts, kilowatts are the basic measurement of electricity supply – that is to say, the specific rate of electricity usage at a specific moment in time.
When it comes to commercial solar installation, our team uses kW as a measure of overall electricity supply and capacity, both of your solar system and your business.
Say your solar panels are rated for 10kW – this means that particular panel is rated to produce up to 10kW (10,000 watts) worth of electricity at any given moment with optimal weather conditions.
Kilowatt hours (kWh)
If kW are a measurement of electricity supply at a specific moment, then kWh are measurements of how much electricity you’re using or creating over a period of time.
Basically, imagine you took a solar panel that’s rated to provide 1kW at its peak and ran it at that level for an hour straight. The resulting amount of energy used is equal to 1kWh.
In short, kilowatt hours are a standardised measurement of electricity consumption and creation – it’s all about volume, while kilowatts are a measurement of capacity.
The relationship between kW and kWh
The reason this distinction is important is because you don’t need, say, a 15kW system to produce 15kWh of energy.
Like we mentioned above, it takes a 1kW appliance or solar panel an hour to consume or produce 1kWh.
The math is pretty simple:
1kW x 1 hour = 1kWh
Sub out the numbers in that formula, and you’ll get a (very rough) idea of what you might need.
If you ran the same 2kW appliance or panel for a full hour, you would have consumed or created 2kWh of electricity. Over 3 hours, that 2kW appliance or panel would have consumed or created 6kWh of energy.
Putting it all together, let’s say you have a 150kW system:
- With ideal weather conditions, this panel has the power to generate 150kW of electricity at peak capacity
- Over an hour, this system will create 150kWh of electricity
- It will also cut 150kWh of electricity off your power bill, saving you $34.95 each hour (assuming a rate of 23.3 cents)
- Over an 8-hour workday, this 150kW system could theoretically create up to 1200kWh of electricity generated
What’s the best choice for your commercial solar installation?
As with all things solar, the answer is “it depends”. While you can calculate roughly how powerful your panels will need to be (in kW) once you know your energy usage (kWh), the real world isn’t quite so simple!
The formula we mentioned above should only ever be used as a starting point. In the real world, there are many complications that can impact the amount of energy your commercial solar installation generates (and therefore, impact your savings).
For example, local climate and the time of year can impact how much money your business might save. During winter, the days are shorter, the sun hangs lower in the sky and night comes sooner.
Each of these affect how much direct sunlight your panels receive (as our solar installers in Melbourne have seen first-hand), and can stop your panels from performing at their peak.
Additionally, factors unique to your property such as tree coverage can reduce effectiveness (though your panels will continue creating electricity!)
To compensate for these factors, you may need additional panels – of course, this can change how much your commercial solar installation costs.
To ensure your commercial solar installation ticks all these boxes requires a bespoke solar solution – one that Pacific Solar is ready to provide.
Call Pacific Solar’s solar installers in Melbourne!
Solar can be confusing – that’s why the team at Pacific Solar are committed to ensuring that you’re fully-informed on all things solar.
Our team will explain the data.
We’ll explain the specs.
We’ll bust the most common solar myths.
And most importantly, we’ll make it crystal clear from the get-go exactly how much money your business stands to save over the life of your solar panels, as well as your expected ROI.
Find out how we’ve helped businesses of all stripes slash their energy bills and save money – click here to read through some of our previous jobs.