Reducing the use of energy has broad appeal during this period of increased focus on clean energy. The cleanest energy is that which is never used via conservation measures, or that which is already being created from nature – renewables. If it was possible for the sun to meet the total demand for electricity – that would be the ultimate clean energy scenario!
A recent Bloomberg Technology article announced that a coalition of 60 large energy-consuming companies, including Facebook and Microsoft, have joined together to advance the movement towards clean energy. It was noted that their goal of developing 60 gigawatts of energy from renewable sources will be enough to replace the energy generation capacity that will be lost from all the coal-fired power plants scheduled for shutdown in the near future.
“Large energy consumers such as Facebook and Microsoft that want to run on cleaner energy than utility grids provide have relied for years on buying power directly from renewable energy developers through power purchase agreements. Those opportunities are getting harder to find in some states and are not available to smaller companies” Bloomberg Technology
For businesses not on the same scale as a Microsoft, one of the primary obstacles to adopting renewable energy has been the upfront cost of converting to new energy-generating technology. The costs can be sizable and have left many energy projects stalled on the drawing board.
In an attempt to address the obstacle of initial costs, a variety of innovative energy specific financing options have been created. Options such as Property Assessed Clean Energy or Rural Energy for America Program are intended to make businesses more profitable by reducing the overall quantity of energy being used, as well as the total dollars spent on energy.
“Much of the activity so far has been in the form of PPAs and that’s an efficient way to secure renewable energy, but it’s challenging for small companies,” Bloomberg Technology
A PPA, or Power Purchase Agreement, is another financing option that is designed to make the switch to renewable energy more affordable. The Energy Alliance Group of Michigan (EAG) recently partnered with the Michigan-based Srinergy company to provide PPA financing opportunities for smaller businesses.
The advantage of a PPA is that a business can contract to purchase their future power from a third party who then installs energy-generating technology on-site. The technology (in this case solar) is owned and maintained by the third party. All the benefits of renewable energy can be achieved immediately without the upfront expense to a business owner. A significant appeal is the fact that the cost of the energy purchased is typically cheaper than the energy priced from the grid.
“The cost barrier of clean energy can now be overcome through the use of innovative energy financing options!” Scott Ringlein, The Energy Alliance Group of Michigan
With the demand for clean and renewable energy on the rise, unique financing tools are making that option more affordable. Navigating the many financing options can be overwhelming initially, but ultimately worthwhile on many levels both financially and environmentally. Energy specific financing is often the determining factor between a proposed project that simply sits on the drawing board or one that actually launches and creates dramatic results. Financing supports the choice for new sustainable sources of energy that big businesses are leading the way in making more mainstream.