Grid Alternatives for Small Businesses
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Small Businesses and the Electricity Grid
All businesses need to keep an eye on the bottom line, but small businesses in particular need to make sure every expense is accounted for. One area where small businesses certainly spend money is on energy. That’s right, from the technology needed to run the business, to heating and cooling systems, to employee amenities, to literally keeping the lights on, energy costs can be some of the highest operating costs for businesses. Sure, business owners could save a little money each month by switching to LED lightbulbs and keeping the thermostat set a little warmer in the summer and cooler in the winter, but what else can be done? Many businesses are seeking bigger solutions when it comes to energy efficiency, including how they can be less reliant on the grid.
Solar Energy for Small Businesses
While running completely off-grid may not be feasible for most businesses, solar technology is enabling small business owners to become less grid reliant. Renewable energy like solar provides small businesses who are interested in sustainability to not only help balance energy costs, but also lower emissions and share with customers that they are a business that operates with the environment in mind. As community members, that is something that small business owners can truly take pride in.
For those looking into solar power, the installation of photovoltaic solar panels may present another issue. There are two main challenges that business owners face when it comes to rooftop solar. The first is that they need a place to have the solar panels installed. Many small businesses rent their space, which means that solar installation may not be an option. The second setback to rooftop solar for small businesses is the upfront cost involved in purchasing the panels and having them installed. Installs of commercial solar panel systems can range from $50,211 for a 25kW system all the way up to $502,113 or more for a 250 kW system. Many solar companies offer financing, but that would be more debt that the business would take on.
An Alternative Solution: Community Solar for Small Businesses
Community Solar projects offer a great alternative to small businesses who are looking to rely less on the electric grid and want to support renewable, clean energy to the power grid and local communities. Community Solar programs, like those operated by Clearway Community Solar, harness the power of the sun to produce reliable electricity that is delivered directly to the same electric grid in the communities where small businesses operate, rather than just to one single property. This helps provide the grid load with a renewable energy source, solar, which means less reliance on fossil fuels sources, enabling small businesses and other organizations to support solar generation that is locally-generated, without the hassles of rooftop installations.
Small businesses can subscribe to their local Community Solar farm and in return, receive solar bill credits on their monthly utility bills to help lower or offset the energy costs or supply charges associated with running a business. It is similar conceptually to buying a book of energy coupons. You pay for the book of coupons, but the value is higher than the cost. Community Solar works the same way. Customers pay Clearway for the solar bill credits, or energy coupons by way of example, at a guaranteed discount every month. It is a simple way to support renewable energy initiatives while saving on operating costs.