Solar for Business

Solar for Business prevents 900 tonnes of carbon being released into the atmosphere each year. That is equivalent to driving around the world 90 times!

Join the 63 businesses who are already reducing their carbon emission by signing up!

West Suffolk Solar for Business is a scheme run by West Suffolk Council which provides and installs solar panels onto the roof of your business for free! Electricity is generated from the panels and sold to you at a rate lower than your current electricity tariff to help you cut your energy bills.

Benefits

  • Cut your energy bills
  • Reduce your carbon footprint
  • Further enhance your brand image
  • Have a positive impact on your community

It is easy for your business to sign up to the scheme. West Suffolk Council will:

  • plan and design
  • finance
  • install and maintain the solar installation.

The installation is relatively quick and easy to minimise the disruption to you business.

Achievements so far

So far 63 business premises have signed up to the scheme. This saves 900 tonnes of carbon from being released into the atmosphere each year. That is equivalent to driving around the world 90 times! The scheme also saves businesses £125,000 a year on reduced electricity bills.

Our aims

Suffolk’s public sector leaders have committed to supporting Suffolk to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2030 and the Solar for Business scheme is one way that West Suffolk Council are supporting businesses on that journey. The council also want to promote economic development by laying the groundwork to help ensure business growth continues to be a key role of the council. If we can make it easy for you to save significant sums of money on energy bills, it allows you to focus on expanding your business and achieving your ambitions here in West Suffolk. Our Economic Growth team is always happy to discuss how we may help further. We also make a small income through electricity sales which enables the council to continue to reinvest in renewable energy projects helping more businesses reduce their costs and have a positive environmental impact.

How to sign up

  1. You express your interest in the scheme, let us know who owns the property and send us a copy of your last electricity bill.
  2. We will visit your property to assess its suitability for supporting solar panels and to discuss your rate for the solar electricity.
  3. If your property is deemed suitable, the panels will be installed along with an inverter, a smart generation meter and a smart export meter to allow for accurate billing and monitoring.
  4. Once the system is up and running you will be sent invoices twice a year, in January and July, for the electricity consumed during the previous six months.

Please note: You will still receive an electricity bill from your mains grid supplier as the PV (photovoltaic) system is unlikely to meet all your electrical demand over the winter and or during the evening when there is less sunlight.

The system is remotely monitored to ensure its performance is maintained resulting in minimal disruption to tenants however, we may need to visit the site to take meter photos for verification, or to arrange maintenance. We will contact you in advance of required works.

How solar panels make electricity

Sun over a solar panel represented by two layers of silicone. The top layer is N-type silicone and the second layer is P type silicone. There is a red arrow going from the N-type silicone layer to the P-type silicone layer.

  1. Sunlight, in the form of photons, hit the solar panel.
  2. The photons excite electrons in the N-type silicone.
  3. The electrons move from the N-type to the P-type silicon. A flow of electrons is an electrical current.

How electricity moves from the solar panel to your business

Solar panels transform sunlight into DC power. DC current is transported to an inverter. The inverter converts the DC current into AC current to be used in your building. All AC current generates is available for your business to consume.

  1. Solar panels transform sunlight into DC (direct current) power
  2. DC current is transported to an inverter
  3. The inverter converts the DC current into AC (alternating current) current to be used in your building
  4. All AC current generated is available for your business to consume.

Frequently asked questions

What happens if the panels break down?

West Suffolk Council monitor the performance of the solar panels so any issues are quickly resolved. Where an engineer is required to visit your site, we will notify you and fix the fault at no cost to you. West Suffolk Council own and fully maintain the solar panels.

Can I sell my business after the solar panels have been installed?

You can sell your business with the solar panels. The purchaser of the business or building would have the opportunity to take over the lease and therefore benefit from the cheap electricity from the panels.

Am I tied into a contract?

The council and the business owner enter into a 25 year lease. The lease is a landlord or tenant lease with the solar panels becoming a ‘tenant’ on the roof. The building owner maintains ownership and control of the roof.

Do I have to notify my insurance providers?

We recommend that you notify your insurance company that solar panels are being installed on your building.

Do I still need to buy grid electricity?

Your business will still need to purchase electricity from a grid supplier. Seasonal variation means you will receive more grid electricity in the winter than in the summer. In effect, you will have two electricity suppliers with the council selling you solar electricity and the grid supplier maintaining a constant supply of electricity throughout the year.

Business testimonies

Denny Brothers

Testimony: “By working with the council we know that the scheme has been well researched, installed and will generate a predicted value both for the council and us.”

Precision Marketing

Testimony: “Precision were thrilled to take part in this scheme. To supplement our existing roof solar with a further 99kW made absolute sense to us as we constantly strive to reduce our carbon footprint. The West Suffolk Council proposal met our generation requirements, was well planned and the installers operated efficiently with minimal disruption. Despite the lack of sunshine this summer the new panels are still generating a significant amount of electricity, we powered our entire operation by solar for several days in July.”

Animax

Testimony: “This is a win win for both Animax as local employer reducing our grid electricity consumption, as well as helping to reduce our carbon footprint which fits to further work switching to 100 per cent recyclable packaging for our animal nutrition and health products whilst allowing local council savings to be pumped back into local initiatives and services.”

Next steps

For more information or to sign up please contact environment@westsuffolk.gov.uk

To help us understand your electricity consumption please attach a recent electricity bill on first contact and indicate if you own the premises you would like the panels installed on.