Case study proves so­lar has good ROI for kiwi busi­ness

Black Di­a­mond Tech­nolo­gies Limited were look­ing for an ef­fi­cient and af­ford­able en­ergy so­lu­tion for their head of­fice in Welling­ton. A so­lar ar­ray was iden­ti­fied as the most ef­fec­tive op­por­tu­nity to re­duce over­all en­ergy con­sump­tion.

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For many commercial businesses in New Zealand the real cost of elec­tric­ity can be tens of thou­sands of dol­lars ev­ery year. With an an­nual en­ergy us­age of over 392MW (392,000kWh) Black Di­a­mond Tech­nolo­gies Limited (BDT) was no dif­fer­ent.

Elec­tric­ity is, of course, vi­tal to any busi­ness how­ever BDT no­ticed that the price of elec­tric­ity was fluc­tu­at­ing and there was a need to ex­plore other elec­tric­ity op­tions. The abil­ity to op­er­ate with lower on­go­ing en­ergy costs would en­sure the busi­ness as a whole runs more ef­fi­ciently.

As exclusive dis­trib­u­tors of Mit­subishi Elec­tric prod­uct, BDT was al­ready dis­tribut­ing pre­mium qual­ity Mit­subishi Elec­tric Black Di­a­mond So­lar Pan­els to the New Zealand So­lar Pho­to­voltaic (PV) mar­ket, so did not need to look far to find a so­lu­tion. As so­lar PV is now more af­ford­able than ever it was con­cluded that BDT’s re­turn on in­vest­ment (ROI), and over­all re­duc­tion in on­go­ing elec­tric­ity costs would ben­e­fit from in­stalling this new tech­nol­ogy.

As is the case with many commercial businesses, BDT con­sumes the ma­jor­ity of their power dur­ing the day, herein lies the ad­van­tage of in­stalling PV. With en­ergy con­sump­tion oc­cur­ring at the same time that en­ergy is gen­er­ated BDT is able to get the max­i­mum re­turn per kWh. When more en­ergy is gen­er­ated than used, e.g. on the weekend, the ex­cess units are cred­ited against their elec­tric­ity bill.

It was vi­tal any so­lar ar­ray in­stalled would see a sig­nif­i­cant re­duc­tion in BDT’s over­all en­ergy us­age but also en­sure max­i­mum ROI was achieved. With this in mind the de­ci­sion on size was one based not solely on roof space avail­able, but also took into con­sid­er­a­tion the way BDT uses elec­tric­ity. A sys­tem was de­signed which en­sures any en­ergy gen­er­ated dur­ing of­fice hours is self-con­sumed, en­sur­ing max­i­mum ROI.

Af­ter BDT’s re­quire­ments were fully as­sessed, the de­ci­sion was made to choose a 30.68kWp ar­ray. In to­tal 118 Mit­subishi Elec­tric Pre­mium PV-MLE260HD Black Di­a­mond So­lar Pan­els were in­stalled.

The fi­nal lay­out and in­stal­la­tion at BDT’s head of­fice was unique. BDT places high im­por­tance on in­dus­try leading tech­ni­cal train­ing and sup­port for their na­tion­wide spe­cial­ists and con­sumers. With this in mind BDT placed great em­pha­sis on in­cor­po­rat­ing this 30.68kWp ar­ray into their Na­tional Tech­ni­cal Train­ing Fa­cil­ity based at head of­fice.

It was de­cided to in­stall the PV in­vert­ers (which con­vert the en­ergy gen­er­ated from the ar­ray into en­ergy suit­able for con­sump­tion) as a dis­play which can be used to ex­plain PV.

In to­tal BDT’s Head Of­fice so­lar ar­ray is es­ti­mated to gen­er­ate 34,270kWh per year. The sys­tem is de­signed for max­i­mum self-con­sump­tion and has the po­ten­tial to pro­vide 25.12% es­ti­mated sav­ings on the daily op­er­a­tional en­ergy re­quire­ments. As is the case with any commercial so­lar PV ar­ray, BDT’s Head Of­fice ar­ray can also be de­pre­ci­ated across its life cy­cle cre­at­ing a tax ben­e­fit, and in­creas­ing the re­turn on in­vest­ment. BDT is also proud to re­port an es­ti­mated an­nual CO² re­duc­tion of 16.4 tonne.

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