The world is finally waking up to the dangers of climate change. In response, more and more businesses are switching to renewable energy. EPA’s Green Power Partners on the Fortune 500 list are at an annual green energy use of 64 billion kilowatt-hours, with about half of them using only this type. Among those committing to this sustainable use of resources are Kohl’s, Walmart and Apple.
The pendulum is swinging toward reducing fossil fuels and increasing greener fuel types. Now is the best time to get on board with renewable energy — current federal tax credits can save businesses up to 25% on installation costs through the end of 2022 and slightly less from then till 2024.
Benefits for Businesses
The potential benefits of switching to renewable energy are numerous. Below is a sampling of ways energy professionals and builders can help businesses profit from adapting their plans and embracing sustainable power sources.
1. More Consistent Energy
Using traditional power sources makes businesses entirely dependent on unreliable technology. Heavy storms or accidents can cut the power, shutting down operations until workers can repair the damage. For companies who choose to invest in their own renewable energy sources, downtime is much less frequent. They no longer rely on others to make repairs and can be up and running while their competitors fall behind.
Renewable energy sources don’t typically create all-or-nothing scenarios for outages. If one solar panel or turbine fails, the others can continue the power flow.
2. Green Energy Incentives from the Government
Based on their location, a business should be able to apply for local, state and federal grants and tax deductions. Advise each company to check its eligibility and see what money it can get to offset the upfront costs of setting up renewable energy sources.
Professionals should also ensure they’re selecting the correct type of green power to adhere to the conditions of the grants and deductions. Solar energy is the most commonly supported, with wind close behind.
3. Minimize Carbon Footprint
Together, electricity and industry make up 49% of the economic sector’s greenhouse gas emissions, which has an astounding impact on climate change. Most of that figure is from the carbon dioxide released by burning fossil fuels like coal. While renewable energy production isn’t 100% free from emissions, it generally offsets more than it creates.
The creation of the starting materials like solar panels sometimes releases carbon dioxide — so the longer a company uses the same resources, the more it can offset the initial emissions. The sustainability of renewable energy benefits the community and the climate.
4. Reach a Larger Audience
Customers are expecting more from the businesses they support. A focus on addressing climate change is one significant aspect that’s become almost a requirement. Becoming a company fueled by renewable energy resources is a way to give a brand a boost in the public eye.
Consumers are more aware than ever of greenwashing — they want tangible evidence of a company’s efforts. Switching to renewable energy is a legitimate way to show potential customers the business is taking climate change efforts seriously.
5. Save Money
While the upfront costs of installing renewable energy sources can be rather high, they end up more than paying for themselves over time. By creating their own energy, businesses are no longer reliant on other companies for their electricity needs. They can make as much power as needed without fearing fluctuating market prices. Even if they can’t completely cover their required energy, the amount they need to spend with traditional power companies would be significantly less.
How to Get Them on Board
Depending on each business’s energy needs and available resources, there are different methods of entry into renewable energy. Small shops and companies with plenty of outdoor space can install their own solar panels and create energy where needed. Other companies will need to outsource and establish contracts with providers of alternative energy types, like wind, solar, hydroelectric and biomass.
Now is a better time than ever for businesses to rely on renewable energy. Not only does this help our planet but it also could cut energy costs and build rapport with consumers.
See more posts from Jane Marsh at environment.co
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