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How Businesses Can Further the Development of Renewable Energy

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The corporate world has multiple incentives for switching to more sustainable practices. Direct savings realized by business leaders include taking advantage of tax credits and deductions and lowered utility bills. Indirect savings often take the form of increased profits as public relations improve and the company customer base grows.
How Businesses Can Further the Development of Renewable Energy

In the past, certain technologies like wind and solar posed problems for industry leaders due to intermittent outages. However improvements in equipment and storage have made wind and solar power equivalent to the traditional grid in terms of performance and reliability. Here are the reasons to convert your organization to renewable energy and reap the financial rewards.

Renewable Energy Saves Money

Renewable energy saves business leaders money in the form of tax credits and deductions. Deductions come into play after your gross income is determined and can get you into a lower bracket but not reduce your taxable income beyond zero.

Your business potentially can qualify for the following three credits:

  •  The business energy investment tax credit. Qualifying businesses receive a 30 percent credit for solar, small wind and fuel cells. They receive a 10 percent credit for combined heat and power, geothermal and micro-turbines. In order to qualify, the business must own the equipment and place it into use in the year the credit is claimed.
  • The solar investment tax credit. In order to qualify for this credit, businesses must install, develop or finance solar technology. This means companies who invest in solar without installing their own equipment still can benefit.
  • Tax deductions for green buildings. The Section 179D deduction applies to businesses who make certain improvements such as installing new HVAC and electric systems which reduce power use, improve the wrap (floors, walls, roofs, etc) to save energy or install hot water systems. If these improvements reduce company energy use by 50 percent, a deduction of $1.80 per square foot is available.

Another way industry reaps financial rewards by switching to renewable energy is by saving on power bills. The amount of savings actualized depends on the amount of energy produced through solar or wind sources; companies which invest in sufficient grids may not pay any monthly power bill at all.

Historically, businesses making the switch to renewable energy needed to concern themselves with remaining attached to the grid. After all, the advent of giants such as Amazon with their 2-day shipping gave companies added incentive to keep the power on and machines running to meet increasing customer demands. However, recent advances in technology now make the switch easier.

One such innovation is perovskites. While still in the laboratory and not yet available for commercial use, once they hit the market, business owners can paint or spray perovskites on existing silicon panels. Typical cells operate at only 20 percent efficiency; perovskites increase this level by more than 2 percent.

Advances in solar storage promise to bridge the gap between green energy and 24/7 reliability. While most research centers around lithium-ion batteries, experiments with non-lithium alternatives show promise. Flow cells, for example, prove more economical than lithium-ion cells, and experts expect the cells to lead the firming of wind power through 2020.

Societal Changes Bring Additional Rewards

Industry leaders understand the need to keep current with societal changes. One such change is the rise of co-op style leadership in businesses. Co-op businesses base themselves upon democratic principles where each worker gets one vote and each vote carries the same weight.

This creates an additional incentive for business owners to get on board with renewable energy. Members of the younger generations will feel the impact of climate change the most; therefore, they increasingly demand to trade and work with companies whose practices they support. Businesses which insist on remaining with traditional energy systems risk losing valuable staff and replacing them is costly. They may also find themselves losing customers. Failing to switch to sustainable practices can result in long-term profit loss.

 

Conversely, going green creates an instant marketing avenue for industry leaders. In a global economy, developing a brand reputation for sustainability matters to longevity. Fully 85 percent of millennials state a company's environmental practices matter highly or very highly, followed by 80 percent of Generation Z and 79 percent of Generation X.

Making the Switch to Renewable Energy for Your Business

Making the switch to renewable energy benefits a company’s bottom line and helps ensure its continued sustainability in a changing world. When combined with the future of the planet, switching to sustainable business practices, including investing in wind and solar technology, only makes sound business sense.

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