How commercial solar energy is changing the game
Solar energy is experiencing record growth, as it is becoming the leading utilized energy source. Solar, as a renewable energy source, has made leaps and bounds over the last decade in how efficiently it is collected, stored and deployed. In addition, it has become increasingly more viable as solar panel prices continue to drop.
More and more countries – including Saudi Arabia – are adopting solar energy as a way to guarantee energy stability far into the future, and business is following suit. For businesses, in addition to planning for the future and protecting the environment, there are a variety of benefits that business owners can realize from solar energy in the here and now. With solar energy, you can:
Energy usage is part of the cost of doing business – a very large part of the cost of doing business. As companies grow, facilities grow, operations grow, and more energy is required to keep things moving forward. The costs can add up fast – and slow down growth.
Commercial solar energy allows businesses to save significant money by producing their own energy. The energy you produce is free once your system is up and running. And you can level up production as needed. Most companies utilizing solar don’t produce 100% of their own energy (yet), but the more energy you produce, the less energy you’ll need to draw from the energy grid – and the less money you’ll spend on powering your business.
Energy from the electric grid is generally priced in tiers – the more energy you use, you will move into the next tiers with a higher rate. As an example, your energy rate per kWh starts at the baseline rate in tier 1, as your energy use increases however, you’ll enter tier 2, tier 3, etc. And your rate will increase for those following tiers for every kWh used. The rates depend on which utility you’re getting your electricity from.
In Saudi Arabia, for example, the commercial baseline rate has increased from SR 0.10/kWh to SR 0.20/kWh for 2018. If your monthly electrical consumption exceeds 6000 kWh, you will be paying the tier 2 rate at SR 0.30 for every kWh above the 6000 kWh mark – which is a 50% increase over the 2018 commercial baseline rate. (For more information on the Saudi Electrical Company consumption tariff, click here.)
That’s how tiered pricing works. Implementing solar energy for business can help you avoid moving into higher tiers and paying higher rates. You can identify which sections of your operations use the most energy – and when they use it – and direct power generated by your solar system to them, offsetting consumption and keeping your costs from reaching higher tiers and the higher rates that accompany them.
Traditional energy prices – and energy availability – are often driven by forces outside your control. Global oil prices, policy, geography and other factors all play a part in how much energy costs and how much is available to your business at a certain time. This can create obvious problems, from the inability to plan your budget to potential shutdowns of your operation.
Solar energy for business allows you to gain true energy independence, immunizing your business from unforeseen issues like blackouts and price fluctuation. With solar and an energy storage system, you produce and can store your own energy, and tap into it when you need it most.
Capturing and storing solar energy is like having an energy piggy bank. You can save and deploy your energy when you need it most – during “peak” hours when energy rates are highest. Energy companies charge more for using energy during certain times of day when usage is the highest – usually the afternoon.
Your business can’t avoid using energy during peak hours without compromising operations, but it can avoid paying peak rates by saving solar energy generated throughout the day for use during those hours. Solar energy allows you to optimize your energy resources to make costs more efficient.
Energy costs – particularly fossil fuel energy costs – can be unpredictable. Solar energy’s price never changes. It costs nothing to generate energy from the sun. The infrastructure – panels, storage batteries, etc. – are an initial investment, but it pays for itself, usually within 6-8 years. From then on, your power is virtually free – save some ongoing system maintenance costs. With solar, energy price fluctuation is a thing of the past.
Commercial solar energy systems can be integrated into the traditional power grid, and work on a type of exchange system. Businesses that use less energy than they produce can actually turn a profit in the form of a refund from the power company. While few businesses have ramped up solar energy production to the level where they could actually profit from it, it is possible.
The case for solar energy for business is clear. Solar power will eventually become the dominant source of energy in many places around the globe, especially in Saudi Arabia where it has an extraordinary solar potential all year round. Businesses that adopt a solar energy solution now are a step ahead of the curve – and are already gaining an edge on their competition.
Sun Capture is a solar energy services company in Saudi Arabia helping businesses in the GCC bridge the gap between the current rising energy demands and costs, and the coming national move towards affordable renewable energy. To learn more about how solar can help your energy needs and bring your business in line with Saudi Vision 2030, contact us today.