How to Finance Your Way into Renewable Energy
Businesses committed to more responsible practices are switching to renewable energy to combat the effects of climate change and take control of their energy costs, ultimately improving their bottom line. While this global movement of conscious businesses is growing, some cannot fulfill their desires because they struggle to finance their projects.
What is renewable energy?
Renewable energy, often referred to as clean energy, comes from natural sources or processes that replenish themselves. The graphic below shows what is traditionally considered renewable energy.
Solar Energy is radiant light and heat from the sun that is harnessed to produce electricity.
Hydropower - the largest source of renewable energy in the United States - is power derived from the point of falling water or fast running water that converts the force of water into electricity. Hydropower is considered a renewable energy source that doesn’t harm our environment but one that affects local biodiversity.
Windpower is the use of airflow through wind turbines to generate electricity.
Biomass is the energy derived from burning biomass that contains the energy that plants absorb from the sun in photosynthesis. When this biomass is burned, it produces electricity. There is a controversy around this type of energy since some sources argue, based on new studies, that burning biomass generates as much carbon emissions as fossil fuels.
Geothermal energy is the heat that comes from the sub-surface of the earth. It is contained in the rocks and fluids beneath the earth’s crust. The California Geysers are an excellent example of this type of energy.
Solar and wind are considered the “greenest” ways to generate electricity because of their minimal contribution to climate change. So far, wind energy constitutes less than 8% of the total energy produced in the US. Still, innovation and the lower equipment costs make this form of energy generation the most growing one.
Renewable energy for small businesses
If you are familiar with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals -SDGs, you understand that switching to renewable energy plays a vital role in achieving at least half of these worldwide aspirational goals. To that extent, governments and big companies are setting ambitious targets and making substantial investments to switch to new and “greener” technologies that produce cleaner electricity. However, smaller enterprises that want to collaborate to achieve the SDGs struggle to access cheap financing for their equipment upgrade projects. Luckily, there are several initiatives across the US that pursue the expansion of these types of investment.
For example, the state of Connecticut is sparking the green energy movement through the CT Green Bank, the nation’s first green bank. With their Commercial & Industrial Property Assessed Clean Energy (C-PACE) program, they are helping Connecticut building owners to access cleaner, cheaper, and more reliable energy. C-PACE is just one program in a portfolio of green energy financing options designed to accelerate the adoption of green energy by making it more accessible and affordable. This program finances 100% of the investment, and typically loans are repaid in 10 years.
With C-PACE, building owners can enjoy the advantages of energy upgrades immediately and pay for them over time through a voluntary benefit assessment lien, levied and recorded against the benefiting property, to be repaid along with real property taxes. It’s a safe investment that produces returns immediately and for years to come.
A program like C-PACE allows building owners to:
Take control of energy costs to save money and increase their bottom line.
Invest in upgrades that improve buildings.
Finance 100% of green energy upgrades.
Initiatives like C-PACE play a significant role in a world that celebrates responsible businesses because they provide small business owners with the possibility to make their business more cost-efficient while at the same time setting an example in their local communities.
If you are willing to take the jump into renewable energy, we suggest considering the following:
Installing solar panels to generate electricity and heat your water
Switching to geothermal heating systems
Considering wind energy to power your building
Trying better insulating the building or installing triple panel windows
Improving your office and production equipment to make them more energy efficient
Simple initiatives count too
Adopting greener practices is easier than you think. If you are still not ready to invest in renewable energy equipment, there are other simple initiatives your business can engage in to adopt a more eco-friendly path. At TBB, we have developed a free guide, “Tips to Green your Business,” that is available for download with your email subscription and that provides you with easy tips or “quick wins” that offer great returns for relatively low effort. A glimpse of this category of initiatives could be thinking of ways to reduce your energy consumption, such as (*):
Turning off electronics when they’re not in use
Buying light timers, so all the lights will automatically shut off at the end of the day
Enabling sleep mode on your electronics, so they use less energy when they’re not in use
Buying energy-efficient office appliances such as LED lights
(*) Download our free guide to learn more.
How renewable energy could benefit your business
Going greener has multiple benefits such as save on energy costs, get tax benefits, improve reputation, reach a larger audience of conscious consumers, provide for a healthier work environment, and most importantly, help reduce carbon emissions to make sure we have a sustainable world for this and future generations.
Contact your energy provider company to learn more about your “greener” choices. If you are interested in incorporating more socially and environmentally responsible practices, you can contact us. TBB can help you incorporate sustainable practices into your business model. In a market that expects more from business owners and executives, we can help deliver and stay relevant.