The Solar Puzzle

Setting up a business has always been hard, I’m told, but I’m sure it must have become more complex over time. The market’s more crowded, tech savvy is a must, things cost more and we’re having an energy crisis. But I’d like to think that these things can be interpreted as positives, as well as barriers. For example: there are more potential customers, the internet is a great platform for selling, there’s more money to be made and we have an opportunity to create environmentally sustainable industries.

It’s no wonder that commercial solar energy is taking off. What business today wouldn’t want to reduce its energy costs while improving its green credentials in the eyes of the public? It’s a no-brainer. That said, it’s still a complex thing to get off the ground, and needs to be managed carefully to support cash flow after the initial financial layout.

This is something I’m trying to get my head around at the moment. It was my new year’s resolution to get the bakery onto solar by the end of the year, and I think it can happen. But I failed to specify exactly what this would look like. I mean, would we be completely off-grid? 50 percent? Maybe 30? Should we upgrade our lighting to LEDs? How would we manage the fact that the bulk of the work happens outside of daylight hours? Is industrial energy storage a possibility?

The answers to all these questions depends largely on two factors: how much money we’re able to invest, and how much space we have for rooftop solar panels. This is good, because it means the first step of the journey is already clearly defined. I need to start with a review of our financial situation and infrastructure, then go from there.

Obviously, I’m keen to be as off-grid as possible, but I also don’t want to get carried away and spend more on the purchase and installation that the business can afford.