For small businesses, there is no standard, one-size-fits-all approach to efficiency. This is why being a business owner requires tenacity, intelligence, creativity, ingenuity and the ability to spot an opportunity a mile off.
Thus, not every business is able to make the transition to using solar energy because for many, the time isn’t quite right. However, the day is soon coming when going solar may be the obviously prudent solution to lowering energy-consumption costs. Times are changing in the world of solar-energy development and manufacture, and though it has been seen as inefficient in the past, the next few years could bring a plethora of new benefits that have the potential to drive down costs and even increase revenues.
Here we count down a few reasons why it may not be a bad idea to harness the power of the sun for your small business and leave those fossil fuels in the past.
5. Go Solar. Get a Tax Break
Perhaps one of the most obvious incentives for going solar is the fact that the U.S. government gives businesses a nod of approval when they switch. Not only will you make Uncle Sam happy that you’re helping keep earth’s air nice and fresh, but he’ll also cut you a 30 percent tax break.
Of course, there are requirements and stipulations that your business must fulfill if you are going to qualify for this tax incentive, but these policies are fairly straightforward. SEIA.org has a user-friendly guide and “quick facts” that should point you in the right direction.
While these tax breaks will not necessarily compensate the total cost of the switch, it will certainly help bring this option into the realm of feasibility.
4. Go Green. Look Good
According to an April 1, 2013, USNews.com article, 75 percent of Americans are in favor of using solar energy over fossil fuels, and that statistic even outpaces wind power, which is at a stunning 71 percent. What can we take away from this study?
Simply put, people are generally in favor of going green. There are several possible factors that are driving this overwhelming sentiment:
- First, more of the U.S. population is becoming environmentally conscious.
- Second, people are concerned about U.S. dependency on foreign oil, which largely comes from countries that don’t always have America’s best interests at heart.
- Third, people generally like the idea that solar energy comes from a renewable source, because the U.S. can avoid energy crises due to a fossil fuel supply shortage.
These hopes and fears are deeply engrained in all of us, meaning that your company can tout the fact that you’ve gone green. Companies have been using this label as a way to increase positive publicity and appear more environmentally friendly.
3. Go Forward. Get Ahead
One of the biggest reasons why the market has been slow to make the switch is because solar panels have been just a hair too inefficient in the past. This inefficiency hasn’t made that cost-to-benefit ratio make sense quite yet, but recently many developers and manufacturers have begun to change that.
For instance, the Wall Street Journal pointed out that companies are currently perfecting the development of “ultra-thin, high-efficiency solar cells” which have the capability to convert 30 percent of their solar absorption into energy, rather than silicone cells which only deliver 24 percent.
Unfortunately, at this point, these new cells are still quite pricey up front. However, remember how 75 percent of the U.S. population is in favor of development and implementation of solar energy? The demand is certainly there, so it’s only a matter of time before the supply grows and drives down prices.
2. Go Cheap. Save Money
Major retail corporations (who are undoubtedly concerned about PR) are making the switch to solar in droves. Companies like Wal-Mart, Costco, Kohl’s and Apple have already begun to install solar cells, and the number of megawatts has skyrocketed from 300 in 2012 to 445 in 2013, according to The Denver Post. Why is this happening?
It’s largely due to the “fall in solar system prices,” according to the Denver Post. This fact has also been reported in the Wall Street Journal article, which says prices have plummeted 40 percent between 2008 and 2012. The rate of supply and the advancement in solar technology are now just breaking into that point where making the switch is becoming entirely financially feasible.
1. Go Efficient. Get Sustainable
Let’s face it: efficient businesses that produce more than they consume will thrive. All others will not.
With this principle in mind, solar energy simply makes sense. Using fossil fuels is an act of consumption of a finite substance, whereas using solar power is an act of sustainability through an infinite source. In addition, one of the very strengths of installing solar cells is the fact that it mostly eliminates your dependency on the power grid, and your business becomes almost totally self-sufficient.
What does this mean for your small business?
It’s a simple, yet novel concept: Because you’re not going to be using that fossil-fuel-burning power company’s electricity anymore, you won’t have to send them any more costly checks. Your small business has basically invested in power.
This is why you might want to consider going solar today, before your small business is considered a fossil tomorrow. In this new energy market, you are what you burn.
Savannah Marie is a writer with a passion for sustainability. Connect with her on Twitter: @savfmarie