What size solar energy system do you need for your business?
Based on geographical areas and building size energy consumption figures can be estimated but there's no definitive one answer to this question as so many variables can effect it:
- How many people work in the property?
- What is the building used for as energy use will vary from manufacturing to retail.
- What size is the roof?
- Does it face the direction of the sun's path?
Assessing your property and its energy use is crucial to installing an accurate solar energy system size for your needs.
The best way to do this is by utilising interval billing.
What is interval billing?
Interval billing is a report available from your energy retailer that compiles the data from your smart meter into 30 minute segments of time. It reports on how much energy using in that 30 minute period and allows you to monitor when you're using your energy.
From the attached example (supplied by Energy Makeovers) you can see an interval bill from a school. In the red circled area you can see the increase in energy demand during the middle of the day. You can also see the fluctuation between holiday periods and term time. The graph below highlights the difference in energy consumption during holidays and term time.
How is interval billing useful?
What's interesting about this specific property was that they received a quote from an installer to install a solar energy system on the property that would provide 60 kilowatts of energy supply, but the property rarely reaches this level of consumption. There was only 1 interval in the whole billing report where the school used 60 kilowatts in one period.
Now the school is aware they have a spike in energy consumption on a certain day they have the option of assessing why. Perhaps they have a building that is mostly unused and is particularly inefficient. A better investment for the school would be to assess why their energy is spiking during certain periods and increase their energy efficiency in those areas to decrease their energy consumption. If they decrease their energy consumption then they'll require a smaller solar energy supply.
Whilst the solar installer didn't mis-quote them, as technically the school did reach this level of energy demand, by looking at the interval bill in more depth Energy Makeovers were able to conclude that this school didn't need that large a solar energy system and it had been over-quoted.
This is how interval billing can not only help assess what size solar energy system is right for your property but it can also help you locate energy inefficiencies and periods of peak energy demand.