Is the Time Right for Solar at My Business?

With an increase in awareness of the long-lasting effects of fossil fuel and carbon emissions, more and more businesses are investigating the use of solar power. The reasons are twofold. First, a smaller carbon footprint can help large companies offset their emissions in other areas, making them eligible in some cases for rebates or reduction in carbon taxes or penalties.

Many large corporations have seen the benefits of moving to renewable energy. Most Walmart stores now boast solar panels that power their lights at their stores. Overall, Walmart claims to cover 36% of their energy needs from renewable sources. Apple, Amazon, Target, and Google each have the capacity to generate over 200mw in solar power using their own panels, according to Solar Energy Insights.

But just because the big companies are finding it right to make the transition to solar doesn’t mean it’s right for every business. After all, major corporations carry a different sort of tax burden than a typical business. Additionally, they may find goodwill among some potential customers, all while being able to take advantage of their massive buying power and profitability.

How might solar power benefit a small business?

Sadly, the financial incentives to go solar are not as strong for businesses as they are for some homeowners. There is not the same groundswell of local, state, and federal grants and rebates to encourage businesses to make the transition.

This does not mean it might not be the best choice. Here’s why small companies are making the switch, even without big tax incentives:

It’s good publicity

Installing solar panels can be a splash move for small businesses. Certain customers and investors will want to associate with businesses that can boast high renewable energy use. And also, installing solar panels makes a brand look cutting edge and forward-thinking.

It’s good for the environment

In addition to being good publicity, installing solar and other renewable energy sources is good for the environment. The impact of carbon emissions is readily visible to everyone and efforts to reduce them will depend on all of us. Many small businesses are simply deciding to do the right thing.

It’s a good investment

Businesses can take a longer view of their finances than families can. While a ten-year period to recover the investment seems unrealistic for a family, this sort of expense item is pretty common for businesses. If you see that your investment will pay for itself in the 10 year or sooner with increasing fuel costs, it can start to make sense for the company in a way it would not make sense for a family.

Photo by David Cristian on Unsplash

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