Are you a commercial property landlord with property that has to have an EPC? Talk to us about solar panels.
Following changes to the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) in April 2023, you should consider having solar panels installed (100% tax relief available) in order to be compliant with the law, avoid fines of up to £150,000, and reduce your electricity bill.
From 1 April 2023 it is unlawful to let or continue to let a commercial property with a F or G EPC rating, even if the lease was granted prior to 2018 (unless certain exemptions are met).
Renewable energy products including solar panels are a great way of meeting the required EPC standards. The installation of solar panels is eligible for special rate pool allowances and would be subject to the £1m annual investment allowance (AIA) which allows 100% relief on eligible assets such as plant and machinery and integral features, including solar panels.
Solar panels help improve energy efficiency as well as compliance with MEES regulations:
Energy Efficiency Improvement: Installing solar panels on a commercial property can significantly improve its energy efficiency. Solar panels generate renewable energy from sunlight, reducing the property’s reliance on traditional energy sources. By generating clean electricity, solar panels can lower the property’s overall energy consumption and carbon footprint.
Enhanced EPC Rating: The Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) is a key component of MEES regulations. Solar panels can contribute to a higher EPC rating for the property. As solar panels generate renewable energy, they can increase the overall energy efficiency of the building, potentially raising its EPC rating to meet or exceed the required minimum standard.
Financial Savings: Solar panels can help commercial landlords reduce energy costs. The electricity generated by solar panels can be used to power the building, reducing the need to purchase electricity from the grid. This will result in lower energy bills and long-term financial savings.
Increased Property Value and Attractiveness: Installing solar panels can enhance the value and marketability of a commercial property. As sustainability becomes a more significant factor in property decisions, having solar panels can make a property more attractive to potential tenants or buyers who prioritize energy efficiency and environmental responsibility.
Positive Marketing and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR): Incorporating solar panels can demonstrate a landlord’s commitment to sustainability and corporate social responsibility. It can be a valuable marketing point, showcasing the property as environmentally friendly and aligned with the growing demand for green buildings.
While solar panels can offer a number of benefits, it’s crucial to consult with professionals familiar with the latest regulations, including amendments made to MEES regulations in April 2023. Our team can provide specific advice on compliance and the potential impact of solar panel installations on your commercial property.
When a commercial landlord considers installing solar panels, there are several key considerations to keep in mind:
Energy Efficiency and Building Regulations: Ensure that your property meets the necessary energy efficiency requirements and building regulations. In the UK, commercial properties are subject to various energy efficiency standards and regulations, such as the Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating requirements and the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES). Assess your property’s current energy efficiency status and determine how solar panels can help improve it.
Feasibility and Suitability: Assess the feasibility and suitability of solar panel installation on your property. Consider factors such as the roof’s orientation, available space, shading issues, and structural integrity. Engage with a professional solar panel installer or a renewable energy consultant such as our team to conduct a thorough site assessment and determine the viability of solar panel installation for your specific property.
Financial Considerations: Evaluate the financial aspects of solar panel installation. Consider the upfront costs of purchasing and installing the panels, as well as ongoing maintenance expenses. Assess potential financial benefits such as reduced electricity bills, potential income from excess electricity generation through feed-in tariffs or the Smart Export Guarantee (SEG), and any available government incentives or tax credits for renewable energy installations, such as the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) or the Green Homes Grant Scheme. Consult with financial advisors or solar energy experts to understand the return on investment and long-term cost savings.
Planning and Building Regulations: Determine whether your solar panel installation requires planning permission or approval under the UK building regulations. In some cases, solar panels may fall under permitted development rights, while in others, you may need to submit a planning application. Consult with your local planning authority or a planning consultant to understand the specific requirements for your property.
Grid Connection and Interconnection: Understand the process and requirements for connecting your solar panel system to the grid. Determine whether you need to seek permission from your Distribution Network Operator (DNO) or make any modifications to your electrical system. Ensure compliance with grid interconnection regulations and safety standards.
Contractor Selection: Choose a reputable and experienced solar panel installation contractor such as our accredited partners. Request quotes, check their track record, and review customer testimonials. Ensure they have the necessary certifications, licenses, and insurance. A professional installation team will ensure that the panels are installed correctly, safely, and efficiently
System Design and Performance: Work closely with the solar panel installer to design a system that maximizes energy generation for your property. Consider factors such as panel placement, tilt, orientation, and the selection of high-quality solar panels and other system components to ensure optimal performance and long-term durability.
Maintenance and Monitoring: Understand the maintenance requirements of the solar panel system. Regular cleaning and inspection may be necessary to ensure optimal performance. Additionally, consider implementing a monitoring system that tracks energy production, detects any issues, and allows for proactive maintenance and troubleshooting.
Insurance and Liability: Review your insurance coverage to ensure it includes protection for the solar panel system and any potential liability associated with its installation and operation. Consult with your insurance provider to understand any necessary adjustments or additional coverage required.
Regulatory Compliance: Stay informed about any local, regional, or national regulations regarding solar panel installations, permits, interconnection requirements, and safety standards. Ensure that your installation adheres to these regulations to avoid any penalties or legal complications.
It’s crucial to consult with professionals, including solar energy experts such as within our team, financial advisors, legal counsel, and relevant authorities, to guide you through the process of installing solar panels on your commercial property in the UK. They can provide specific advice based on your location, energy needs, and regulatory requirements.
If you would like to start a solar project with Ecclesall Design, then get in touch with us by clicking here: contact Ecclesall Design