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How To Buy The Best Commercial Solar Panels

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How To Buy The Best Commercial Solar Panels

As a business owner, (especially those with high operational costs) looking into installing commercial solar panels is always a very smart move. 

Most people already know solar panels are an investment for both homeowners and business owners. This is because solar panels provide a return once the system has been paid off. 

For any business owners who are struggling with cash flow, solar panels could be the solution to freeing up monthly spend and investing that cash into a different area of the business. 

These days, the Australian government has some fantastic commercial solar rebates and incentives to help business owners take advantage of solar as much as possible. It also helps with the upfront cost of solar, which may be the biggest objective in the first place. 

So, let’s fast forward and say that you are interested in commercial solar as you are reading this blog. You know it can help your business, but you don’t know where to go from here?

Ok, well I’m going to take you through the steps and process that we go through with business owners who are interested in commercial solar with us. This includes understanding the goals you want to achieve with solar, and how to buy the best commercial solar panels for your business. 

One important reminder: Every business is different, therefore every business requires a unique solar panel system that is designed around your goals for going solar, energy output and usage, and of course your budget. 

With this being said, if you are ready to start taking a look at getting a free energy assessment for your business, don’t hesitate to talk to one of my commercial design engineers here.

Table Of Contents

Understand Your Goals Towards Investing In Commercial Solar Panels

The first step that we take with us customers is asking questions to help them understand why they are interested in solar. You can do this exercise with yourself and a pen and paper. Think about the reasons why solar is helping you?

Here are some of the questions you should consider, and I’ll go into more details with them as well to help you understand what to be looking for. 

I’m going to tailor this around the best commercial solar panels that will suit your situation and business perfectly.

Which commercial solar panels are going to work hardest for your goals?

Ok, so understanding the performance of each solar panel is a given, of course we all want the best performing solar panels however you need to consider if this is going to be best suited for your situation. 

To put it into perspective for you, there are 3 types of commercial solar panels on the market in Australia today. You’ve got your good budget range, mid-range panels and high-end range. All 3 are going to be suited for different goals, budget and energy usage.

Do you want to go solar for a quick ROI?

For example, if you have plans on growing your business and expect to move locations in 5 years, why buy the best commercial panels that cost a lot when you’re going to move. You’re better off getting a system that is affordable and provides a fast ROI.

Do you want solar for a long term investment?

On the other hand, if you are interested in solar for a long term investment then I’d advise you to consider any commercial solar panels offering a 25+ year product warranty. You will also need to consider getting a commercial system that is big enough to produce energy for a sustainable return on investment. 

For longer returns, you will definitely see a much higher money back payment but it might take longer and of course it’s going to be a little more upfront as well.

Are you looking for commercial solar as a solution to business growth?

Installing the right solar systems for your business can help reduce your outgoing costs in the long term, freeing up cash-flow that you can invest in the high-profit areas of your business.

Some business owners are operating on 90% costs, when it comes to machines using a lot of energy or fridges kept on overnight or even equipment, lights and other areas that drain your electricity freeing up your monthly cash flow can make a huge difference. 

When you install panels, you will then be generating your own energy instead of paying for it. This means your monthly bills will significantly decrease. The end result is that your business now has significant cash flow to reinvest in other areas to grow.

Finding out your requirements for solar will give you an understanding on which commercial solar panels will be best…

Lastly, understanding what size system, and what requirements you need the commercial solar panels to do will help you choose the best commercial solar panels. 

For example, if you have shading issues there are some commercial solar panels that can overcome this which I will go into more detail about shortly. 

Another area, if you cannot have any risk of fire on the roof. You will need to consider investing in safe commercial solar panels that don’t run any DC across your roof or your business.

business owner designing a commercial solar panel system based around his requirements and roof

Choose Your Budget For The Best Commercial Solar System For Your Business

Of course one of the biggest factors to consider when buying the best commercial solar panels is your budget… 

You may already have an idea of how much you want to spend on your solar panels, just from having taken a look at some of the most popular options or having asked around. 

If you haven’t yet determined your budget, one of the best ways is to calculate how soon you would like to recoup your investment. Generally speaking, the more powerful and modern a solar panel is, the bigger investment it will require. 

A typical business owner probably won’t require the most high end model available. You likely just want an affordable, efficient panel that will provide an ROI to you as fast as possible, within the goals that you want to achieve.

Below we’ll look at the best commercial solar options available to you in 2021.

Consult With A Solar Design Engineer Around Any Roof Issues E.g Shading, Sizes, Weakness

So, you might be interested in commercial solar panels, however you are not sure if they will work because you feel like there are some problems you might face…

These obstacles can include objects that may cast shade over their property, roof layouts or structural issues, and sometimes just the process of making the switch can be daunting.

You should consult directly with solar design engineers, whose job it is to take on board the customers’ unique concerns, evaluate the property, and make suggestions on how best to go about installing solar systems.

Be aware, it’s not easy to find many of these in the industry 😆…

SolarEdge Will Be The Best Commercial Solar Panels For Any Shading Issues

Solar panels work best when there is no shade cast upon them. Even just a slight bit of shade on one small section of your solar panel can significantly compromise the efficiency of the whole system. 

In an ideal world, shading wouldn’t be an issue. But electrical towers, trees and other buildings unfortunately might exist around your business, and cast shadow over the proposed location for your solar panel(s). 

If that is the case, you’ll likely want to choose a system like SolarEdge, a brand that, compared to the competition, handles shading as effectively as possible. 

So any business owners who are facing these issues it’s best to consider using SolarEdge or Enphase systems. This technology uses micro-inverters or panel optimisers to allow each panel to perform by itself.

Jinko Will Be The Best Good Budget Commercial Solar Panels For A Fast ROI

If your goal is to recoup your investment as fast as possible, as is the case for many business owners, then I’ll keep things simple for you – a Jinko commercial solar system is probably the ideal choice for you.

I love Jinko because they offer the same solutions as some of the big names such as LG, but at such an affordable price. High quality, long lasting and with an incredible warranty, they offer fantastic value for money and are the best all-rounder. 

Some of the panels are even offering 25 year panel warranty which would be perfect to look at for your business solar panel system.

The 6 Best Commercial Solar Panels

Now you’ve got an idea of what you’re looking for in a solar solution, here are the 6 best commercial solar panels you should consider for your business.

Specifications:

  • 450w Max Power Output
  • 144 Solar Cells
  • Monocrystalline / P Type cells
  • 20.2% Module Efficiency 
  • 9 Busbar
  • 15 Year Product Warranty
  • 25 Year Performance Warranty
  • Power Tolerance (0/+3%)

LG solar panels have a brilliant reputation as some of the highest quality solar panels available in the world today. Always a safe investment, their 15 year product warranties and fantastic bankability definitely afford them a place in our top six.

The LG450S2W panels offer a high conversion efficiency, meaning you can take full advantage of the space available on your property. They’ve even been tested to 2x the international standard. You really can’t go wrong.

Businesses can save substantially when they go with LG, however, compared to some other available solutions they can come out as initially as a bigger investment. This could put off some business owners who are looking for the fastest possible return on their investment.

However, due to their reliability, quality, and prestigious brand name this hasn’t stopped some huge commercial projects making use of them. For example, the Bluewater Leisure Centre in Victoria and the Kedron-Wavell Services Club in Queensland.

LG panels are great and offer industry leading performance. If recouping your investment as fast as possible isn’t a real priority for you, but panel quality is, then the LG450S2W is a solid choice.

Specifications:

  • 450w Max Power Output
  • 144/132/120 Dual Cell 
  • Monocrystalline Perc Cells  
  • 20.4% Module Efficiency 
  • 12 Year Product Warranty
  • 25 Year Performance Warranty 
  • Power Tolerance 0 ~ + 5w

Canadian Solar is well known for their commercial range, more so than for residential. Highly efficient, this model has similar specifications to the LG I mentioned above. 

One benefit however is that they are more affordable than the LG, which means a faster ROI for business owners. They are now offering a 25 year product warranty on these products as well. 

Canadian Solar is being trusted in some big commercial projects. One of their most impressive to date was the supply of their commercial modules for a 333MW solar farm in NSW.

Another solid choice for business owners and commercial projects.

Specifications:

  • 420w Max Power Output
  • Monocrystalline PERC cells
  • 20.4% Module Efficiency 
  • Lower Temperatures From Unique Bussing
  • Anti-Reflective Glass
  • 25 Year Product Warranty
  • 25 Year Performance Warranty
  • Power Tolerance +5/–0%

The SunPower Performance 3 420w offers a huge 25 year warranty, both for product and performance. SunPower panels are high performers, and can offer businesses substantial savings on their electricity bills.

One of the most impressive features of these panels is their technology. With all-black reflective glass, the panels are able to absorb more energy from the sun and reflect less back, making them more efficient than conventional panels. It’s been suggested they can produce 8% more power!

SunPower panels are generally on the more expensive side, which aligns with their high quality, however as a result they may not be the best option for businesses looking for quick returns.

Specifications:

  • 480w Max Power Output
  • 150 Monocrystalline cells
  • 20.1% Module Efficiency 
  • Anti-Reflective, Heat Strengthened Glass
  • 12 Year Product Warranty
  • 25 Year Performance Warranty
  • Reduced BOS (Balance Of System) Cost
  • Power Tolerance +5/–0%

This solar solution by Trina is one of the best available for your business. It has everything you want, from being highly efficient to having truly exceptional performance.

Trina panels are also affordable for their high level of quality, making them a great choice for money-savvy business owners. 

They have incredible bankability – in the event that you ever do run into an issue with their solar panels within their warranty’s timeframe, you can rest assured they will be around to offer a fast solution. I don’t see them going anywhere.

The only drawback when compared to some of the other choices on this list is the length of the product warranty they offer. 

Although their performance warranty is on-par with industry standard, their product warranty falls short in comparison at 12 years, and it would be nice to see this extended in the future.

Specifications:

  • 450w Max Power Output
  • 9 Busbar Half-Cut Cells
  • 144 Monocrystalline Cells 
  • 20.7% Module Efficiency 
  • M6 Gallium-Doped Wafer
  • 12 Year Product Warranty
  • 30 Year Performance Warranty
  • Power Tolerance +5/–0%

Longi is a solar power manufacturer that has been around for a while now. Longi only produces monocrystalline solar panels, which are of higher quality than conventional panels. They are also one of the most popular solar panels that we sell here at Lightning Solar.

The quality of their technology is among the highest calibre available today, so much so that it has won them several awards in the industry.

Longi panels tick almost all of the boxes, including being able to provide a fast return on investment to commercial customers.

Longi panels are some of the best in the industry, and we absolutely recommend them to prospecting commercial customers.

Specifications:

  • 475w Max Power Output
  • 156 Monocrystalline cells
  • P-Type Mono Cells
  • 21.16% Module Efficiency 
  • 9 Busbar Lines
  • 30 Year Product Warranty
  • 25 Year Performance Warranty
  • TR Technology
  • Power Tolerance 0~+3%

At number 1 on our list of the best commercial solar panels available.. The Jinko Tiger Bifacial 475w!

Jinko is rapidly becoming an industry leader in solar panels, and the accomplishment is well deserved. Their panels are of the highest quality, are incredibly efficient and have fantastic warranties. 

These attributes would normally mean a top-of-the-range price tag, but that’s not the case. Jinko is actually one of the more affordable options on this list.

What does that mean for businesses? It means they can get some of the best solar technology available AND recoup their investment in record time. 

Yes there are other options if you’re purely looking for performance, such as the SunPower and LG, but if you’re looking for the best all-rounder for business: a panel that will net you the best performance to ROI ratio, then Jinko is the way to go.

Jinko panels have a phenomenal, industry leading product warranty of 25 years. 

For the level of quality and reassurance you get, I truly believe Jinko is the best option for businesses in 2021. There’s nothing we don’t like about these panels!

Conclusion

Ok, to be honest guys… All 6 of these solar panels are good. Each ones is going to offer you a solution unique from the rest. 

When you are choosing you will need to remember to take into consideration why you are buying solar and tailored the panel around your needs, roof and budget. 

Either way, I hope that you understand how to buy the best commercial solar panels now and are confident in what you are looking for. 

Share your thoughts with us in the comments below! 😁

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Written By:

Luke Cove
Managing Director
Lightning Solar & Electrical

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