Are Solar Panels Worth the Investment for Businesses?

6 mins read

Updated: null

Explore the value of solar panels for businesses: cost savings, energy independence, and enhanced property value. Is it the right choice for you?

Are Solar Panels Worth the Investment for Businesses?

Compare business solar prices

Solar power has the potential to be a game-changer for cheap and sustainable energy. The sun will never stop shining, so it is an infinite resource, and with the case for shifting to greener energy getting ever and at a time when non-renewable energy prices have been haywire, there are both strong ethical and business cases. But the solar power industry is still maturing, so is this case strong enough yet? 

Pros and Cons of Solar Panels for Businesses

There are definite benefits to businesses going solar. These include, but are not limited to, the following:

Benefits of Solar Panels for Businesses

Cost Savings on Energy Bills

As we’ve seen in recent times, the cost of fossil fuels can swing dramatically, and as time progresses they’re only likely to increase further. Solar panels allow your business to generate its energy, and there are powerful financial benefits to doing so. You’ll be able to lower your dependency on the national grid, and while the savings will be highly dependent on your set-up and business energy use, they could be substantial. 

Government Incentives and Grants

There are several incentives and grants for businesses that invest in solar panels on offer from the UK government. The Smart Export Guarantee (SEG), for example, is a scheme that pays businesses for any excess energy they generate and export back to the grid. This can provide an additional income stream for businesses with solar panels and help offset the initial installation costs.

Low Maintenance Costs

Solar panels require little maintenance once they are installed. Most solar panels come with a 25-year warranty, and their lifespan can even be extended up on this with proper care. This low level of maintenance means that your business could enjoy the benefits of solar energy for many years with minimal ongoing costs.

Reduced Carbon Footprint

Installing solar panels can significantly reduce your business's carbon footprint, which is a good thing to do in and of itself. But you can benefit beyond financial savings. Solar panels are a highly visible badge, demonstrating your commitment to sustainability and this can potentially attract environmentally conscious customers. It also helps your business meet government targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

It’s not all good news, though. There are also potential drawbacks that you should take into account before taking the plunge.

Drawbacks of Solar Panels for Businesses

Initial Investment Outlay

The main drawback of solar panels for businesses is the initial investment cost. Depending on what you need, the cost of installation can be significant. However, the long-term savings on energy bills and government incentives can help offset these costs over time.

Reliance on the Great British Weather

Solar panels generate electricity from sunlight, so their efficiency can be affected by this country’s occasionally inclement weather conditions. However, solar panels can still generate electricity on cloudy days, albeit at a reduced rate. It is essential to consider your business's location and average sunlight hours when deciding whether solar panels are a worthwhile investment.

Physical Requirements

Solar panels take up physical space. They need adequate room to be installed for installation, whether that be on your business's roof or on the ground. Businesses with limited space may find it difficult to install a large enough system to meet their energy needs.

Factors to Consider Before Investing in Solar Panels

So, what should you be taking into account when considering whether to invest in solar panels? There are several competing factors. 

Financial Considerations

Over the last decade, the cost of solar panels has decreased, reaching a level where solar is now competitive with other forms of power. Despite this price decrease, solar power is still a sizable investment, especially for those with a limited budget. Weigh the initial costs against long-term costs and explore financing options. 

Purchasing panels upfront is often the most economical decision, in terms of a Return on Investment. Eventually, your utility savings will provide a return on your investment. If your budget does not allow for an upfront purchase, you can pay for the panels over time. You should also take into account grants and other incentives, which may reduce that initial outlay further. 


Before investing in solar, determine how much power you want to produce and whether you’ll have the space to be able to generate it. Depending on the constraints of your space, you may use ground-mounted arrays, roof-mounted arrays, or a combination of the two. Ground-mounted arrays are easy to access but require extra space on your property. Roof-mounted arrays are well suited for denser areas with limited space. 

Regulatory and compliance factors

There are, broadly, three areas of regulation to which you will need to adhere. Quality and safety regulations apply to all solar panel installations and works, regardless of size, complexity or property type. 

All solar panel installations in the UK must comply with local building regulations, particularly concerning structural integrity and electrical safety. These regulations ensure that roofs can withstand the additional loads put upon them by solar panels and help to reduce the risk of electrical hazards. 

If you want to self-certify that your solar panel installations and other components comply with the regulations, you’ll have to join a Competent Persons Scheme. Without this,  installers must seek building regulation approval, a process that can be more time-consuming and expensive. 

A connection to the local grid allows businesses to purchase electricity from business energy suppliers during prolonged periods without sunny weather. Additionally, small-scale generators can sell excess generated electricity back to the grid through the Smart Export Guarantee scheme. 

To participate in solar power grid export through SEG tariffs or other grid integrations, installations must adhere to MCS (Microgeneration Certification Scheme) standards or their equivalent. These standards ensure the quality, performance, and safety of solar systems and are recommended (although not compulsory) for off-grid businesses.

Distribution Network Organisation agreements are responsible for distributing electricity from the national grid to local destinations and are key in maintaining grid stability and safety, especially when adding new solar installations. They allow assessment of the impact of the installation on the local electrical grid and determine if any adjustments or upgrades are necessary for safe and efficient operation.

Environmental Impact and Sustainability Goals

Everyone will have different priorities. Some building owners want to produce a portion of their power through solar, while others want to achieve net-zero energy. You’ll want to consider the durability and longevity of the materials being used, as well as the specifics of where you want to put them. The physical dimensions of solar panels can greatly impact their installation options and overall effectiveness. It is important to maximise the available space for solar panels to generate the most energy possible. This can be achieved by selecting panels of appropriate size and shape.

There’s a lot to consider when you’re considering the installation of solar panels for your business,  but the financial savings that can be made, the preferential terms that can be found for making the switch and the decarbonisation of your energy use remain powerful arguments for making the switch. Switching to solar energy could future-proof your business against further energy price shocks, make savings on your bills, and make a significant contribution towards a greener future. Even though that market is still maturing, the case for you to look into it further is getting stronger and stronger with each passing day.

Compare business solar prices

Related Guides & Tools

The Different Types of Solar Panels Explained

The Different Types of Solar Panels Explained

Explore the world of solar technology: Understand the various types of solar panels, their efficiency, and how they power up our future sustainably.

Solar Panel Grants and Funding For Businesses

Solar Panel Grants and Funding For Businesses

Explore options for solar panel grants and funding available to businesses, aiding in cost-effective renewable energy transitions.

How Much Do Solar Panels Cost For Businesses

How Much Do Solar Panels Cost For Businesses

Explore the varying costs of commercial solar panels, influenced by system size, panel type, and location, to optimize your business's green energy investment.

Guides & Tools

© Switch Pal Limited 2024

All rights reserved. Switch Pal Limited is registered in England & Wales: 12545529

Made with 💜 in London, UK