When PV retailers start tackling commercial PV, they soon realise that commercial bills are more complex than residential bills…. a LOT more complex. One of the key differences is that there is a separate demand charge.

Rather than paying residential rates of 20-35c/kWh, commercial customers often pay 10-16c/kWh when all of the energy charges are tallied up, plus a separate demand charge. Solar payback is much worse because of this lower electricity price makes solar payback… commonly about 9 year payback.

Solar power can certainly reduce peak demand, and the value of this peak demand reduction can be significant, when it’s incorporated it can even bring a 9 year payback down below 7 years. The challenge is how to calculate the likely peak demand reduction.

Read more: Solar Demand Reductions

Something unusual recently happened in the LGC market. While the solar industry was suffering through a terrible May, the LGC market came alive. Now, most LGC trading typically happens in January and February as Liable Entities prepare for the annual surrender of LGCs, and there is far lower volumes of trading outside of those months. The chart below shows an analysis of the REC Registry that depicts the monthly LGC trading volume – Januaries and Februaries have been excluded. You can see the massive spike in May, which was preceded by a noteworthy April and an outstanding March. The only time we’ve seen trading volumes this large before was when liable entities were snapping up cheap LGCs from PV systems before the RET was split into LRET and SRES.

Largest Large Scale Solar LGC Trading Month Ever Australia

So who is responsible for this return to LGC market liquidity? SunWiz’s RETelligence provides LGC market transparency to subscribers through weekly-updated interactive dashboards that answer questions like:

  • How much is each liable entity holding compared to their surrender liability, and how have parties’ holdings evolved over time?
  • Who is buying and selling LGCs, how does this compare with typical behavior, and who trades with whom?
  • Which liable entities have REC purchase agreements with each power station?
  • How is each power station and fuel source performing?

This information allows subscribers to understand the market dynamics in intricate detail, helping inform key decisions, manage risk, and improve upon negotiating positions.

Subscribe to RETelligence from $6000 ex GST per year.

The Australian Solar industry has seen ups and downs, to the point of being described as a Solar Coaster. But now it is confronted by a protracted downturn, the likes of which it hasn’t seen before. To the point where 4 out of 5 months in 2015 have been lower than every month since January 2012. Indeed, May 2015 was the worst May for REC registration since 2010. Overall, volumes are 20% down on last year - 245MW has been registered in the first five months of the year, compared to 310MW the same time last year.

Monthly solar kW installations Australia

Queensland and South Australia have been hardest hit. Queensland had registered 105MW of installations in the first five months of 2014; this year it sits at 80MW; SA registered 48MW over January-May 2014 but only has 27MW in the same period in 2015.

SunWiz STC Creation Year

The declining volume is creating immense pressure in the solar industry. Many of the installing electricians have pulled-back from solar, returning to sales of other electrical equipment, but the marketplace is still over-crowded. Intense competition has driven prices to unsustainable lows, making it difficult to make a profit. Meanwhile fat-walleted electricity retailers who will swallow years of loss-making solar business segments are looking to enter, command, and dominate the market.

Thankfully there are islands of opportunity – where there is commercial PV there is growth. The NSW market is growing because of its focus on commercial PV, even as the residential market there contracts. Queensland on the other hand has been over-reliant on residential PV and is now suffering because of it.

NSW solar capacity installations

QLD Monthly kW installations

The challenge faced by many is that commercial sales are far more difficult to close than residential sales. One of the main challenges with commercial is that businesses take a lot of time deciding to purchase PV, somany solar companies waste months courting and educating what turns out to be tyre-kickers. Making a profit in commercial PV necessitates a fresh approach, in which pipelines are filled with high quality leads, tyre-kickers are effortlessly filtered out and customer education is an automatic process, so that ample time is available for the customers most likely to buy. Profitable sales demand an innovative focus upon selling a meticulously-calculated financial outcome using best-practice sales materials, meanwhile delivering an excellent sales experience so that you can justify a price that’s higher than your competition. SunWiz’s ProfitVoltaics service electrifies commercial solar profitability, and is 100% necessary for survival.


SunWiz is exhibiting and presenting at Solar 2015 this coming Wednesday and Thursday (13th & 14th May)

Come along and:

  • TOMORROW MORNING (Wed May 13th) See Warwick present on Battery Storage Design for Grid-Connect Systems at the SEIA Professional Development Session – 11:15-12:15 on Wednesday 13 May
  • Get a sneak preview of the soon-to-be-released PVsell – its undergone an overhaul and now features customizable output that allows you to quickly build your own dazzling proposals from cover letter to contract, with all the graphs in between.
  • Get an outstanding PVsell offer, so good we have to tell you in person
  • Learn how to radically transform the profitability of your commercial PV sales
  • Ask anything you like of the WOracle.
  • Learn a trick or two from the top dog in the Solar industry

Our presentation on Battery Storage Design for Grid-Connect Systems will show how a 7.6-year payback is possible with Tesla storage if a 5kW PV system is included.

We are at stand C3, sharing with Solar Analytics. Keep an eye out for Sunny

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