Could your business run on solar power?

We all want to reduce our business expenses, as well as do our bit for the planet… and renewable energy is a great place to start!

If your business has a roof, adding solar panels to it could allow you to harness the sun’s energy during daylight hours, meaning that your business could be powered by free electricity that you generate for yourself. 

Installing solar panels on your workplace is a great option for many businesses across the UK, but it can take some research to find out how it could work for you. To help get you started on your solar journey, we’ve answered some FAQs…




Will solar panels work for my business?

A business property is generally one of the best places to site solar panels! Often with a larger, flatter roof space, as well as hefty energy bills and higher electricity usages during daylight hours, commercial solar panels are a great way for many businesses to save money and cut their carbon footprint.

With utility prices on the rise, businesses from a wide range of sectors are now considering solar panels to lower their overheads. 

Generally speaking, most roofs are suitable, as long as they're not significantly shaded (from trees, power lines or other buildings). A south-facing roof is ideal to capture the most sunlight, but east or west-facing roofs can also be suitable to capture energy fro, sunglight in the morning and evening.

The best roof pitch for solar panels is between 30-40°, but the angle of the roof can fall outside of this range and generate electricity effectively.

Solar panels can still absorb sunlight even when horizontal. However, solar panels which are more below 12º from horizontal won't be able to self-clean and may become less effective as dirt builds up on them.

The more space you have on your roof, the better - so bear in mind any features of your roof that could interrupt the layout of your panels, like vents and skylights.

Your roof will need to be strong enought to support the weight of your panels, which generally isn't a problem - if you have a flat roof, materials like asphalt and metal are ideal, but installing panels to tar or wood roofs is still possible, too.

Will I need planning permission?

It's important to check that you're allowed to install panels on your roof space, as planning permission may be required if you live in a listed building or a conservation area.

However, in the vast majority of cases, planning permission is not needed to install solar panels. Your local council or solar panel installer will be able to advise whether this applies to your business.

How much will solar panels cost for my business?

Cost (and return on investment) are one of the main areas of interest for business owners looking at installing solar panels. 

The installation costs for a solar power system vary widely depending on the size and complexity of your system. The size of your system is dictated by the size and orientation of your roof, as well as the amount of energy you wish to generate. 

If size isn't an issue, then your budget will dictate the best system size for you. 

As a guideline, costs can start from:

  • 4kW residential system: £7,000

  • 50kW commercial or farm system: £45,000

  • 100kW larger commercial system: £85,000

  • 250 kW large-scale commercial system: £190,000

Based on the average cost of producing commercial solar electricity of 5p per kWh, businesses who transition from the national grid to solar power can expect around a 60-70% reduction in their energy costs.

A power purchase agreement (PPA) is a common finance option for larger businesses - if your energy consumption and roof space meet the criteria, a PPA allows you to benefit from free solar panel installation, financed by a PPA provider. The electricity generated by your system is then sold back to you at a much cheaper rate than you'd pay from the grid. This option saves you money on your electricity bills and removes your installation costs, by essentially renting out your roof space and buying the discounted solar electricity it generates.

You can find out more about the latest government grants and schemes here.

What about battery storage?

Capturing solar electricity and storing it via a battery allows you to use energy outside of daylight hours, as well as saving it for cloudier days when your consumption may outweight your generation. 

With battery prices still high, it's not currently the best financial option for many businesses to install solar batteries, as it's more cost-effective to sell excess solar electricity back to the grid, and buy back any energy as needed.

However, some businesses use solar batteries as a backup supply to avoid the impact of power cuts, so batteries can be a vital tool to keep critical systems running.

How long do solar panels last?

As with any investment, you'll want to make sure your solar panels last.

The current industry-standard life span for solar panels is around 25 years.

This doesn’t necessarily mean that electricity will stop being generated entirely after this time, but it is likely that the efficient of the panels will fall. 

You can enhance the lifespace of your panels with proper servicing, cleaning and care. 

How can I find a reputable solar installer?

As with any technology, it's crucial to find a reputable installer to get the most out of your system. Looking for a provider with a great reputation is the best place to start, as well as specific experience in installing commercial solar PV systems to buildings similar to yours.


Our partner, eyebright, is a leading utilities management company with the mission of changing the way businesses manage their utilities. eyebright's specialist team of utility experts can help you save money, lower your consumption and find the best solution for your business' needs.

Comparison tools like Greenmatch and Checkatrade can also be helpful when finding a local installer, and checking those all-important reviews. If you're looking to install solar panels as part of a new-build project, Futurelec have plenty of information to help. 

If you're not sure where to start, we can help! For a free 45 minute solar power consultation, simply book a time to suit you, and we'll walk you through how to start your solar journey.