Costco. The Gap. FedEx. Staples. Frito Lay. Macy’s. BJ’s Wholesale. Toyota Motor Sales USA. Target. Khol’s. Google. Whole Foods. Wal-Mart. Kettle Foods.
Question:What do these companies have in common?
Answer:They've all invested in solar energy in recent years.
And they’re not alone: A countless number of small and mid-size businesses have gone solar, too. This growing commercial demand may in part explain why the solar sector has seen such phenomenal growth in recent years.
Given these sun-shiny trends, it may be appropriate to ask if all this corporate interest in installing PV is well founded, or whether Wal-Mart and Macy’s have gone completely mad. As it turns out, the management at these companies does actually know what they’re doing. More and more companies are getting solar because it makes both financial and strategic sense.
We present here four ways solar energy can help add real value to your bottom line: (1) Peak shaving; (2) Price-hedging and price “lock-in"; (3) Getting ahead of the regulatory curve; and (4) Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). Here we go.
Large buildings draw a lot of power. Beyond the amount your company pays for the energy it consumes (measured in kilowatt-hours), it may also be subject to something called a “Peak Use Charge." This is because electricity is more expensive during hours of peak demand.
If your building uses a lot of power during this time -- typically during mid-day -- you’re probably being dinged by a stiff surcharge. This amount can sometimes be higher than the charge for the actual energy consumed!
Nationwide electrical rates vary from $0.145 kWh in Arizona to $0.28 kWh in Southern California to as high as $0.34 kWh in Hawaii. Those rates raise, on average, 4.9% per year.
By taking advantage of First American Solar Technology's equipment lease or purchasing and taking advantage of available state and federal tax credits you can lock your rate at $0.5 to $0.7 per kWh for the next 25 to 30 years.
It's no longer a question of if the U.S. will apply a price to carbon emissions -- it's not even a question of when -- it's happening right now!
Accordingly, many corporations are already building the new carbon regulations into their current strategic plans.
More and more companies are coming to view solar energy as a means of driving real returns on investment. Primary motivations can vary a bit from company to company. Regardless of whether your company seeks to reduce long-term costs, hedge against rising and often fickle energy prices, enhance its role as an environmental leader or prepare for the inevitable -- carbon legislation -- solar energy is proving to be an effective means toward these ends.
It’s clear that CSR is here to stay -- and the world will no doubt be a better place because of it. Solar energy improves both your company’s environmental and economic bottom lines. Put simply; it is clean, carbon net-negative technology.
Solar power not only offers the chance to contribute to responsible environmental stewardship, but it also represents a compelling -- and useful -- narrative with which to achieve your company’s external communications goals. In brief, it’s a win-win.