Initially in Europe, PV growth was in the commercial sector, later spreading into the domestic sector. In Ireland, the main driver is Part L of the Building Regulations 2011, which applies to new domestic dwellings.
When it comes to commerical installations, a major benefit is tackling the cost of electricity - Ireland has one of the highest electricity costs in Europe. Due to this high cost of electricity, the payback for a commercial installation is only seven to eight years. This figure is based on the current cost of electricity, which will only rise. While the expected life of a PV installation is in excess of 25 years, ongoing savings will be substantial. This is without considering the returns of a Feed In Tafiffs or the use of accelerated capital allowances.
As mentioned above, Feed In Tarfiffs are yet to be introduced in Ireland, however when it does happen, the commercial sector will benefit significantly more from a PV installation. For the most part, commercial businesses are open and consuming electricity primarily during daylight hours. With good design, matched to the individual requirement, the PV plant can operate to minimise the use of electricity from the grid and to maximise the advantage of Feed In Tariffs when introduced.
Electricity prices, Europe 2014 (Data: Eurostat, Strom Report) Source: Strom-Report
Other advantages of PV are that a business can safeguard itself against further price increases. The business is now in control of its own plant and there is little, if any, maintenance. This can provide business with a significant competitive advantage, especially those businesses or industries that are heavily dependent on electrical power.
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