More and more U.S. businesses are choosing to significantly increase their procurement of cost-effective renewable energy through the installation of onsite solar photovoltaic systems and the purchase of contracts to buy or invest in offsite renewable energy.
According to a recent report by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), over 60% of the largest U.S. businesses have set public goals to increase their use of renewable energy. Large corporates are setting these public goals because using renewable energy is becoming a core element of their business & sustainability strategies, and just as importantly, renewable energy is increasingly a more cost-effective option from a procurement stand point. It is no longer just the environmentally-conscious companies that are looking to benefit from renewably-generated electricity.
In July 2014, twelve leading U.S. corporations joined forces and collectively created the Renewable Energy Buyers’ Principles in an effort to broaden their ability to procure renewable energy. The twelve founding companies are Bloomberg, Facebook, General Motors, Hewlett-Packard, Intel, Johnson & Johnson, Mars, Novelis, Procter and Gamble, REI, Sprint, and Walmart. The Principles emerged from discussions between the participants convened by the WWF and the World Resources Institute.
According to the Principles’ authors, “we know renewable energy can already achieve cost parity, or better, compared with traditional energy” and furthermore “a significant part of the value to us from renewable energy is the ability to lock in energy price certainty and avoid fuel price volatility”.
This message resonates strongly here at EnterSolar, where our mission is to provide corporate clients with cost-effective solar electricity solutions.
Corporate Renewable Energy Buyers’ Principles: Increasing Access to Renewable Energy
Being able to promote your business as environmentally responsible is not just important to your clients, but to your employees as well.
Many businesses overlook the added benefit of championing environmental responsibility as an employee retention and recruitment tool. While the notion of “corporate social responsibility,” may have once been regarded as a corporate philanthropy, it has quickly become a crucial part of any large company’s long-term strategy – not just in marketing, but in recruiting, too: As consumers are ever more concerned with where products come from, employees now want more from their employer than a paycheck. They want a sense of pride and fulfillment from their work, a purpose and importantly a company’s whose values match their own.
In a survey by the nonprofit Net Impact, 53% of workers said that “a job where I can make an impact” was important to their happiness, and 72% of students about to enter the workforce agreed. Most would even take a pay cut to achieve that goal.
- 45 % of employees said they would take a 15% paycut for a job that makes an environmental impact.
- 58% would take that same paycut to work for an organization with “values like my own.”
Research conducted by Cone Millennial Cause group, found that 80% of a sample of 1,800 13-25 year olds wanted to work for a company that cares about how it impacts and contributes to society. More than half said they would refuse to work for an irresponsible corporation.
What’s more, according to that same research, by the year 2020, Millennials will be 50% of the workforce. And 2020 isn’t that far away…
The Massachusetts SREC-II program officially launched on Friday, April 25th. For Massachusetts businesses with large under-utilized roof or land areas, the SREC II program can provide a lucrative way for companies to ‘go green’.
By way of background, an SREC is a Solar Renewable Energy Certificate and it represents the renewable attributes of one Megawatt-hour (MWh) of solar generated electricity. Massachusetts requires its investor owned utilities to buy a certain number of SRECs annually in order to meet the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standard requirements. The purchase of these SRECs provides additional revenue to businesses and property owners with solar energy systems. When packaged into multi-year contracts (also known as strips), SRECs can provide highly visible and predictable cash flow streams that can be readily financed.
Key Design Features of the SREC-II Program are:
- The SREC financial incentive differentiates between various market sectors and is particularly attractive for roof mounted systems on large commercial buildings (i.e. 30,000 square feet or larger).
- The SREC incentive is reduced in value over time, providing the best benefits to those businesses that enter the SREC-II Program early.
- The SREC revenue combined with attractive Federal tax credits and depreciation, plus new and existing State and Local Incentives, make solar a very compelling investment for Massachusetts businesses and property owners who also want to demonstrate leadership and position their companies at the forefront of their Industry.
Whether your business is interested in owning a solar PV system, leasing one, or simply purchasing low-cost solar energy with no capital outlay as part of a ‘Power Purchase Agreement’ (PPA), the revenue provided by the new SREC-II program is a key economic driver that makes going solar a compelling business case.