Close to 25% of Aussie businesses have already gone solar: Survey

Nearly one-quarter of Australian businesses claim to have already tapped rooftop solar as a measure to cut electricity costs and be more environmentally responsible, a new survey has found.

The survey, published on Monday by energy management company Energy Action, found that 23 per cent of businesses generate some portion of their electricity supply using solar PV, up from just 14 per cent just two years ago. Another 37 per cent said they had “implemented solar PV measures in their business,” up from 23 per cent in 2014.

Commercial solar, while much slower to take off in Australia than the residential market, has been making up some ground over the past year, but is yet to take hold.

To boost the market, schemes like the Clean Energy Finance Corp-backed Westpac Bank loan facility have been launched to encourage Australian businesses to invest in solar, battery storage, energy efficient technologies and electric vehicles.

But progress is being made. The survey also found that the proportion of businesses who said they were seriously considering investing in technologies like solar PV and even battery storage and smart energy management systems was 84 per cent. Another 43 per cent reported they now had a formal energy management strategy in place.

“The results of this year’s survey indicate that energy management and procurement are increasingly becoming a core part of corporate strategy, and show ongoing growth in the number of businesses outsourcing these services,” said Energy Action CEO Scott Wooldridge in a statement on Monday.

Businesses have also maintained a strong commitment to energy efficiency and sustainability initiatives, the survey found, with 72 per cent claiming to have made investments in energy efficiency and sustainability programs that resulted in savings of over $10,000 a year.

“While the findings of previous studies suggested that a critical shift was underway, the 2016 results reinforce a prevailing view that energy management has evolved from pursuing cost-cutting initiatives to making a strategic commitment to an integrated energy management approach,” Wooldridge said.

© 2016 Solar Choice Pty Ltd