Commercially minded

Liz MacFarlane, Zenex Solar, identifies a number of barriers to increasing PV deployment in the commercial market

I’ve had a fascinating insight this week in to the potential for some really innovative PV installations. It’s easy to get lost in our daily supply of PV equipment for standard domestic, commercial and ground mount schemes and to forget how entrepreneurial we’ve had to be to grow the market where we can.

From motorway verge PV, flotillas of solar on our reservoirs and the growing car-port market, it’s all going on.

Of course, we still need to focus on the commercial rooftop arena, which is still under-represented. It’s not difficult to see the potential here and also to recognise some of the barriers to entry.

The government’s ‘lift and shift’ idea which enables the owner to take their system with them and continue to benefit from their investment should they move premises goes some way to tackle the issues around landlord/tenant complications on commercial property.

Our market is very different to that of our foreign counterparts with a large amount of UK commercial sites being landlord held. This leads to all kinds of issues around tenancy agreements, length of tenure and value of PPA. Then there is the general nervousness of landlords after disappointment in other investment, and the perceived issues around repairs and maintenance. And finally, there’s the basic confusion around some of the solar supply-chain politics.

If commercial roof-space is an area you’re trying to break in to, then my one piece of insight is this; The people who are succeeding here seem to be speaking to the whole sphere of influencers, as well as the decision makers. They are keeping the process simple, providing a holistic service and keeping some of the background market politics away from their customers.