Commercial solar panels in a field

Part 1: How to build your business case for commercial solar power

In the first of two parts, we’ve broken down the benefits of going solar for your Chief Financial Officer, Sustainability Manager, and Facilities Director.

We know that many organisations are taking action to address ongoing economic uncertainty. You may be looking for ways to take control of your energy spend and ease pressure on your bottom line. To do so, you may already be rethinking your energy strategy.

If so, you may be considering large-scale commercial solar power. But are your stakeholders convinced yet?

To secure their buy-in, your business case will need to account for various priorities. We’ve put together a guide to the benefits of going solar for different parts of your business. Read on to find out how you can prepare for a low carbon future in line with your stakeholders' interests.


Going solar for Chief Financial Officers

Your Chief Financial Officer has several priorities to account for. When considering a new asset, they'll need to balance reduced risk and cost with improved efficiency. So, going solar will need to cut your costs without sacrificing performance or safety.

Bringing your energy onsite can do this by protecting you from market volatility. You may currently import grid electricity, which is subject to unpredictable pricing. But, by generating your own power, you'll be able to secure a predictable rate. Not only can this reduce your running costs, but it can help you to better predict your budget. This can help you to cut costs in the short term, and reduce the risk of unexpected price rises in future. As such, your CFO can wrap savings and resilience into one simple energy package.

Short term investment could pose a challenge to your project. But, with flexible financing, you could still reap the benefits of going solar. With a Power Purchase Agreement (Solar PPA), you could invest with little or no upfront capital. You’d pay an agreed PPA rate, usually lower than the cost of grid electricity, over your system's roughly 25-year lifetime. This could reduce your energy costs at the same time as giving you long-term budget control. And with no need to invest CAPEX upfront, you could secure long term savings without short term financial disruption.

It's also likely that your CFO will want to know the long term numbers involved in your proposal. You’ll need to be able to quantify the savings you’ll make to prove your project's economic feasibility. Our Solar experts can help you to work this out from the very beginning. We can provide an initial project cost, an indicative PPA rate, and even potential lifetime cashflow. With all this information to hand, you’ll be able to provide your CFO with a clear outline of your project's future.


Going solar for Sustainability Managers

Your Sustainability Manager likely has a broad scope of responsibilities, from energy to waste and beyond. So if you’re looking to secure their buy-in for commercial solar power, you’ll need to take all this into account.

One such area may be sustainability reporting. Going solar has several benefits from an environmental point of view. Solar is a 100% renewable source of energy, with no direct greenhouse gas emissions. So, using this in place of carbon-intensive grid supply could reduce your carbon footprint. This can help to lower your environmental impact, and boost your sustainability credentials.

Additionally, your Sustainability Manager may want to simplify their sustainability reporting process. When you install Solar, you could achieve this via access to our energy management platform PowerRadar™. This cloud-based software gives you a holistic view of your whole energy estate. From here, your Sustainability Manager could simplify reporting by pinpointing your energy usage. On top of this, they could identify further opportunities to cut waste – lowering your environmental impact.

And the benefits of investing in solar don’t stop with reduced carbon emissions. We know that going solar can improve your corporate social responsibility. This can bring a range of benefits, including helping you to attract and retain top talent. All this can help your Sustainability Manager to bolster your commitment to a low carbon future, and progress towards your net zero targets.

Going solar for Facilities and Estates Directors

For your Estates or Facilities Director, looking after your site is a top priority. They’re likely to seek a safe, efficient approach to site development, with minimal environmental impact. As such, your solar business case needs to take the safety and efficiency of your site into account.

For example, you may have large, underused pieces of roof or land space at your site. Is your Facilities Director interested in optimising these? Going solar is a simple, efficient way to do so. With roof- or ground-mount solar, you could turn your space into an energy-generating asset, without the need to expand your site. Even in colder climates, this can yield strong results for electricity supply. So, by maximising your space to supply your own power, you can improve the overall efficiency of your site.

We know, too, that your business is likely to adapt to a changing world in future. You could open new buildings, flex how you use your power, or change your shift patterns. We'll work with you to account for any plans you have in mind, from site expansion to fluctuating power demand. All this can help you to reassure your Facilities Director that your solar system is future-proof.

Your Facilities Director may also highlight the safety of such a large-scale installation. This could include the the impact it could have on employees and customers, pre- and post-go live. As such, you'll need to account for planning and regulatory permissions. You may also need to consider District Network Operator (DNO) involvement and predevelopment work. But by deploying Solar with us, you can rest assured that we’ll prioritise the smooth and safe running of your business.

We'll take care of all relevant paperwork and permits, and work to a high standard of Health & Safety. We'll work with you to ensure that your project meets your organisation's electrical standards. On top of this, our project managers will work with you to avoid disruption to your BAU activity. And throughout your system's lifetime, we can work with you to ensure it's operating as safely as possible. So, at every step of the way, Facilities Director can retain fine control of your site’s activities.


Talk to our experts about your business case for commercial solar power

So, you’ve gathered the information you need to build your business case for commercial solar power. Are you ready to take the first step towards your low carbon future?

Our team of experts are happy to help you to develop your solar strategy. With over 20 years of experience delivering commercial solar solutions, we’re experts in managing every stage of the journey. To start your pathway to a solar-powered future, complete our simple form below and tell us more about your plans.

We’ll also be publishing Part 2 of this guide in April. For information on securing buy-in from your Operations Manager, Procurement Manager and Energy Manager, keep an eye on our Knowledge Centre.

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