Electricity bills are one of the most daunting expenses for a small business owner. Both the price and energy consumption vary month to month, so it’s hard to estimate how much the electricity bill will be each month or even each season. And as a small business owner, paying attention to cash flow is especially important; with varying electricity bills, this may become challenging.
Additionally, fossil fuel-based electricity prices vary depending on political factors as well as the nature of the market; directly impacting electricity prices for fossil fuel resources. Small business owners are at a higher risk of being impacted by the inflation of these prices than larger corporations because they will more closely see the impact.
An electrician in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, David Gancz, commented, “A great solution for small businesses to combat these issues is to begin adopting renewable energy sources. Renewable energy resources will not only save the business owner money, but it will also have an extremely beneficial impact on the environment.”
Small business owners should consider some of the following renewable energy sources as they seek ways to save money and become more environmentally friendly. And of course, don’t forget that conservation and energy efficiency are the lowest cost ways to reduce energy bills!
Types of Renewable Energy Resources for Your Business
Choosing the right renewable energy resource can be challenging because small business owners may not know enough about each to choose the one that is right for their business. Here is a guide to the most feasible renewable energy resources that small business owners may be able to adopt:
This is one of the most common renewable energy resources for small business owners because costs have dropped considerably over the past decade, and because of how simple it is to install. Solar panels can be installed on the roof of a building, in the parking lot, or even in the backyard section of a business. Solar panels are an investment worth making because they provide clean and reliable energy to small businesses; while also acting as a completely renewable means of electricity.
Because solar panels convert the sun’s light into electricity, the “fuel” is free. The energy from the sun is converted by the solar panels into electricity and can power an entire small business, especially if battery storage is added. In addition to the outstanding environmental benefits that solar panels have, they also will ultimately save small businesses money.
Like solar energy, wind energy has many benefits and comes completely from nature. Wind energy technology has undergone significant improvements in recent years and costs have come down. Due to limitations of wind resources, and installation difficulties, most businesses will only be able to access wind power via an electrcity sevice provider (more about that below).
For companies that do have property with adequate wind, installing wind turbines is a great way to begin taking advantage of renewable energy resources. Small turbines may be placed on top of a tower or building to generate modest amounts of power.
Larger turbines can be installed if more property is available, typically about 100 feet about the ground where the most wind is able to be caught. These wind turbines generate electricity when their massive, three propeller blades are turned around a rotor. The rotor is connected to a shaft that spins a generator in order to create electricity.
Wind energy is especially great for small businesses that have a lot of space. Wind turbines are most commonly used on farms that sell produce/contribute to farmer’s markets or other small businesses that can operate in an outdoor setting or on a large landscape.
Geothermal Heat Pumps
Geothermal heat pumps are another great renewable energy resource that small businesses can incorporate. Geothermal heat pumps tap into the earth’s stable temperature in order to heat or cool interior spaces. Geothermal heat pumps take advantage of the earth’s constant near-surface temperature that tends to be warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer.
Geothermal heat pumps are designed with a three-part system in order to be a sustainable renewable energy resource:
- Ground heat exchanger
- Air delivery system
- Heat pump unit
This system is buried in the ground near the small business’s workspace. Though the initial cost of a geothermal heat pump can be daunting to small business owners, the upfront cost is quickly made up for because the use of heating and air conditioning units is significantly lowered; therefore lowering electricity bills.
Hydropower renewable energy is another resource that in most cases will only be accessible via an electricity service provider. It is dependent on the constant flow of water, perhaps from a nearby river or waterfall. This well-proven method of generating electricity may used by larger corporations that have large facilities to power, however, small business owners can adopt this form of renewable energy if a nearby resource is available.
Why Convert to a Renewable Energy Source?
Converting to a renewable energy source is beneficial for both the small business owner’s bank account and the ecosystem. The environment requires people’s awareness and effort now more than ever. If you’re a small business owner and recognize the vast amount of energy you are using, you can do your part by making the switch to a renewable energy resource.
Businesses and corporations are some of the biggest contributors to a damaged environment, polluted air, and the rise of global warming. Converting to renewable energy sources is important in order to protect the environment; small business owners have the opportunity to make this change faster than large corporations.
Small businesses that convert to renewable energy resources are eligible for promotions and rebates. Small businesses that work toward saving the environment also have the opportunity to make this part of their brand image; customers will be intrigued by a small business that practices conservation and concern for the ecosystem.
Look Into Your State’s GEA or CCA Electricity Service Provider Programs
GEA, Government Energy Aggregation, or CCA, Community Choice Aggregation, programs allow residents of a state, commercial or residential, to save money and receive higher renewable energy content. The energy that these programs provide comes from sources such as solar panels and wind turbines. People can then purchase this cleaner energy rather than powering their home or business with standard utility electricity.
For example, residents of New Jersey can reap the benefits of The Government Aggregation Act of 2003 which authorized municipalities and residents to establish a GEA. New Jersey’s GEA program allows residents to purchase electricity from third-party suppliers at lower prices than the utility price all while positively impacting the environment.
Keep this guide in mind as you consider ways to make your small business more sustainable.
Jennifer Bell is a freelance writer focusing on home improvement, electrical servicing, DIY and electrical advice articles. She works for Prime Electrical Services, an electrical contractor in New Jersey.