The use of solar panels in commercial enterprises

The use of renewable electricity sources is becoming more and more common in the world. The fact is that energy tariffs are constantly growing, and environmental requirements are becoming more stringent. Therefore, it is more profitable to use solar panels for commercial enterprises.

Trends in the development of renewable sources around the world

Three main trends determine the development of this industry:

  • energy modern renewable energy sources in terms of the cost of electricity are almost comparable to the prices at which it is sold by traditional producers. Moreover, both from the outside and as part of centralized power supply networks;
  • extended use of solar power plants and wind turbines simplifies load balancing on networks of any levels;
  • alternative green energy receives an additional impetus for development thanks to the results of the latest R&D, the emergence of new materials and technologies. 

Solar energy is one of the most promising areas. The dynamics of the development of this market segment are in all industrially developed countries of Europe, the USA, Canada, Japan, China, India.

A few figures about the progressive dynamics of RES development.

The volume of electricity generation using solar panels, the cost of which depends on the brand and type of equipment used, meteorological conditions for the operation of the system, by years amounted to:

  • 2011 — 69 GW;
  • 2017 — 93.7 GW.

The global figure has increased to 386 GW.

  • In 2020, only in the EU countries (28 states), the capacity of operating solar power plants reached 18.2 GW. 

Growth during the year — by 11% (according to Solar Power Europe). This despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

For individual countries, the figures are as follows:

  • Spain is the leader among the EU countries (4.7 GW of solar power plants);
  • Germany — 4.0 GW;
  • France — 1.1 GW
The pace of development of solar power plants and wind turbines. All indicators are indicated in thousands of MW. Source: Renewable Capacity Statistics report, 2018
The pace of development of solar power plants and wind turbines. All indicators are indicated in thousands of MW. Source: Renewable Capacity Statistics report, 2018

Electricity generated by traditional technologies is supplied at a normalized cost: it remains at a constant level (coal-fired power plants) or grows (nuclear power plants, hydroelectric power plants). The indicator for large solar stations has decreased by 86% over the past few years. Also, the price will continue to decrease. New developments have emerged and the cost of manufacturing key components has dropped. The price of solar panels is also dropping.

The most promising direction for the development of solar energy today is the approach of integrated use «SPP + storage of generated energy».

Starting in 2019, an investment tax credit (Arizona, Colorado, Nevada) is provided for the implementation of similar projects in most states in the United States.

Taking into account the analysis of global trends, potential investors and manufacturers are actively investing in this sector. Enterprises developing and producing such equipment are also investors. 

How is the direction of using solar energy developing in Ukraine?

At the International Business Forum, which took place in Kyiv on May 3-5, 2020, this issue was considered in detail.

Private homeowners have become the leaders in effective demand for SPPs of various capacities and designs of national and imported products in our country in 2020. Trade enterprises can also be included here.

In the third quarter of last year alone, 5655 new electrical installations were installed in the country. Their total number increased to 27,623, and their total capacity increased from 553 to 712 MW during the year. 

The leader was the territory of the Dnepropetrovsk region (3776 SPP facilities). The second and third places were shared by the Kyiv and Ternopil regions (2206 and 2361 stations). 

If we calculate based on the number of residents, the picture is different. The Ternopil region is moving to the leaders with the result of 2.18 stations per 1000 residents. In second place is the Kirovograd region, with an indicator of 1.51. Ivano-Frankivsk (1.48) region is in third place. 

Renewable energy production by regions of Ukraine for the period for the 1st quarter of 2018.
Renewable energy production by regions of Ukraine for the period for the 1st quarter of 2018.

What segment of the solar power plant development market is the most promising for investors?

Until recently, the question of where solar energy is used was not. The leading position was occupied by projects of large power plants, oriented to the industrial sector. Today the situation has changed significantly. 

The Association of Solar Energy of our country notes that the number of consumers among trade enterprises is growing at an outstripping pace in Ukraine. Both small rural shops and supermarkets and shopping and entertainment centers in cities. It is they who occupy a leading position among customers who install solar panels on the roof of buildings and structures.

This is due to a change in government policy to energy facilities operating on renewable energy sources. In particular, due to the revision of the «Green Tariff». 

These properties continue to demonstrate a steady growth trend. Regardless of whether there is financial support from the state in the regions. When asked which solar panels a given consumer chooses, it should be noted that models used in SPPs with capacities up to 1 MW are in high demand. They make up most of the demand. 

This direction initially provides for higher capital costs. However, in modern conditions, the production and commissioning of such facilities are becoming more attractive for investors. 

In addition to building their power plants in the private sector, are increasingly deciding to buy solar panels to install on the roof of a retail store. The demand for them is steadily growing. This is since the overwhelming amount of generated electricity is consumed independently, and insignificant surpluses can be accumulated in the AB. 

As a result, the mandatory need for significant additional costs for connection to centralized networks (cable lines, transformer substations, AMR systems, communications, telemechanics) disappears, which significantly reduces production costs.

Taking into account the current cost of electricity, the growth of tariffs, the payback periods of such stations become comparable to those of the facilities operating within the framework of the green tariff according to its most preferential option. If for the latter they were 4.5–5.5 years, then solar stations at trade enterprises without using this tariff have already reached payback in 5–7 years. 

Based on the forecast of a decrease in the price of generating 1 kW of solar energy to 10 cents by 2023, these terms will necessarily be adjusted downward. Therefore, when asked whether solar panels are profitable in Ukraine, the answer will be unequivocally positive.

After making a purchase decision, a customer thinks about how to use solar panels to maximize their performance. 

Taking into account global trends, ground stations are increasingly being replaced by roof stations. 

Installing solar panels on the roof allows you to abandon several technical devices, reduce the area of ​​the leased area, which reduces the cost of electricity generation.

In Ukraine today, there is a territorial shift in the construction sites of new similar objects from the southern regions of the country to the regions central and northern, with their even distribution throughout the territory.

Despite a certain decrease in business activity in the solar energy market in 2020, the prospects for solar energy in Ukraine are assessed positively. This is confirmed by the main trends of 2021. In general, the country has every opportunity to achieve the declared 20-30% of the indicators of electricity generated by renewable energy sources, including solar stations, by 2030. 

Avenston is a trusted solar contractor  

By contacting us, the customer receives an answer to the question of how to use solar panels and their comprehensive solution. The specialists of the Avenston Group of Companies will carry out a full range of works: design, general contracting, installation of solar panels, carry out the necessary commissioning, and service support. They will allow you to take full advantage of the advantages of such a solution in terms of energy and heat supply.  

The structural unit «Avenston Engineering», created in early 2021, specializes in the construction of commercial surface and rooftop solar power plants. Our solutions will allow you to solve the issue of achieving the energy independence of your facility with moderate capital costs for the implementation of the project and in the presence of its guaranteed payback in a reasonable time frame.