How will Funded Solar benefit my business?
You will benefit from reduced energy costs and by fixing a portion of your energy costs for 25 years. You will also benefit from generating green electricity without any upfront capital cost and without any ongoing maintenance costs.
I think 25 years is too long a commitment, we only buy anything on a 1 or 2 year basis.
Electricity prices are linked to external factors such as international gas prices. Electricity prices have grown at x rate over the last y years. By entering a contract to buy solar electricity you are fixing a portion of your electricity costs for the long term and limiting your exposure to increasing electricity prices.
Who offers the warranty to the customer on the system?
The solar equipment is owned by ESB and will be warranted by the manufacturers and installers.
What are the upfront costs my business will face?
You will not have to pay any of the capital costs for installing the solar PV system. You will have to pay legal fees to administer the lease and PPA on your side. Kingspan ESB will apply and pay for the grid and planning applications. There may be costs associated with the grid connection depending on your location. Should a grid upgrade cost be required you have the option to pay it and proceed or withdraw your interest at no penalty to you.
Do solar panels work without direct sun?
Yes, solar panels are now a well-developed technology, receiving their energy from solar radiation. Direct sunlight is not required, even on cloudy days, there is normally enough light for the panels to produce electricity. The orientation of the panels affects performance with southern facing panels producing more electricity than those facing north.
How much carbon can I expect to offset through installing a solar PV system?
A 50kWp solar PV system generates sufficient zero-carbon electricity to offset approximately 20-25 tonnes of CO2 each year.
Do I need planning permission?
In Northern Ireland, planning permission is not required for systems up to 50kW; systems above 50kW require planning consent. In the Republic of Ireland, all PV systems require planning permission.
We will be able to confirm for you what the planning requirement are for your building.
Will the solar PV system affect my insurance costs and cover?
The system installation should not affect your insurance cover. You will need to notify your insurer that you are having the system installed but Kingspan ESB insures the solar PV equipment as we are the owner of the asset.
What is a kWh?
A kilowatt hour (kWh) is a unit of electrical energy. 1 kWh is equivalent to 1 unit of electricity that is shown on your electricity bill. An electrical appliance with a power rating of 1kW will consume 1kWh for every hour it is operating at full power.
Will I receive rent for leasing my roof space?
No you will not receive rent, you will receive discounted power or an index linked price.
What happens if I want to do something with my roof in the 25 year timeframe (e.g. add another floor to the building, put plant on the roof)?
You would have to pay to take the panels off the roof and to put them back on again. You will also have to pay for lost revenue while the work takes place. It is possible that air conditioning plant could be facilitated but the effect on the solar installation would have to be assessed.
Apart from giving you my roof space and buying your solar power what other commitments do I need to make?
You will need to agree to an airspace lease and a power purchase agreement (PPA) for 25 years. We will need access to the building and access to your power supply connection from time to time for maintenance. You cannot build something or plant trees adjacent to the solar installation that could cause shading.
There is a legal charge or mortgage on the property. Does the bank have to grant consent to the lease?
Yes, you must consult with any lender who has a legal charge over the property before agreeing to install a solar PV system, but in our experience most lenders are familiar with the installation of these systems and understand what’s involved. We can deal with the bank on your behalf.
How will I be billed for the electricity generated on my roof?
You will receive a bill for the solar electricity in addition to your regular electricity bill. You will notice the number of KWh reduce on your regular electricity bill and these kWh will appear on your solar electricity bill, but at a lower unit price.
Will this 25 year solar deal mean I have to buy all my energy from Electric Ireland?
No, you are free to choose any electricity and gas supplier.
Will I get preferential costs/ treatment for buying my energy from Electric Ireland if I agree to this?
What happens if we don’t use all the electricity the solar PV system generates?
At times of peak solar generation, if you do not have sufficient demand on-site, the excess power is exported to the national grid. Equally, when the PV system is generating less than your total demand, the shortfall is made up through importing from the national grid. You will not receive a payment for any surplus electricity.
Will the installation process be disruptive to our business?
Most 50kW installations are completed in 3-5 days and there is often very little need to work inside the building so it should not disrupt your normal working practices. For larger installations the installation time varies but again most of the work is carried out on the roof and is not disruptive to the business. A shut down is required to connect the PV to the electrical distribution system. This connection can be done at night or at a weekend to minimise the impact on the business.
Will I have to re-wire my electrical systems and install a new meter?
You will not have to re-wire your building. You will need a dual channelled meter, if you do not already have one we will replace the existing meter at our cost.
Is my roof strong enough for solar panels?
The installed weight of solar panels is typically between 14-15kg per m2 including mounting equipment. This additional loading rarely causes structural issues, but to be certain we undertake a structural survey on every building ahead of the installation.
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What kind of access will you need for maintenance and how often?
We will need free and easy access to the roof, panels and invertors to carry out maintenance. We agree access protocols with the building owner/ tenant to the main control room and invertors. Planned maintenance visits occur once or twice per year but visits will also be required if there is a fault.
Can solar be used in conjunction with demand side unit (DSU)?
A solar PV and DSU system cannot run alongside each other so an interlock has to be installed to prevent both running at the same time.
If the PV system breaks down, will you compensate me for the extra energy I’ll need to buy to replace what you can’t provide?
No. We do guarantee the efficient running of the system. If the PV system breaks down it is our interest to fix it very quickly as otherwise we lose revenue from the PPA.
Who should I phone if there is a problem with the equipment?
You will be given contact details of the maintenance contractor for the system.
How can I be sure that we will be charged accurately for the solar electricity we use?
The electricity generated on your roof is measured by a meter, in the same way as electricity provided by your supplier. Our remote monitoring system, which our clients have access to, gives live generation data so you can see how much solar PV electricity has been generated and how much has been consumed on site. Any electricity that is exported to the grid is also measured by the import/export meter.
How much maintenance do solar panels need?
Solar panels have no moving parts and need very little maintenance. We will check the system regularly and arrange for the panels to be cleaned every few years to ensure optimal performance.
Ending the Agreement:
At the end of the 25 year lease period what happens?
There are a number of options open to the building owner:
We can remove the Equipment from the Landlord’s Property and make good any drill holes caused to the Landlord’s Property by such removal
You could buy the panels at the market value and continue using them as they should be performing to 80% efficiency at year 25.
We could install new panels and set up a new lease agreement (depending on roof condition).
Can I terminate the contract at any time before the end of the 25 years and what are the implications for me in exercising that kind of option?
Yes you can; there is break clause in the lease after five years of operation but there will be costs associated with terminating the contract early.
Will you remove all the solar equipment from my roof if I want to terminate?
Yes, we will ensure the roof is made good and left weather tight.
What happens if we move or sell our property?
If you sell your property after installing a solar PV system within the 25 year lease term, the airspace lease is transferred to the new landlord automatically. ESB/Kingspan will sign a new PPA with the new owner in order they may continue to enjoy the benefits of the discounted green electricity it generates. If the incoming owner is happy to sign up to our lease and PPA then the lease is not broken.