7 Answers to the Most Frequently Asked Questions about Renewable Energy for Small Businesses
As a small business owner, you want to save on all your expenses as much as possible so as to reach your set goals faster and expand your business. There are actually quite a few ways for putting some money aside from all your monthly payments and fees. One of these is going green and switching to renewable energy sources.If your company starts running on a renewable energy source, you won’t only be able to save thousands of dollars but will also live and work in a much cleaner environment without any harmful greenhouse gas emissions or other chemical waste. Renewable energy sources are absolutely clean energy alternatives that will not only be a beneficial choice for you but for the place you live in and our planet in general.
The traditional energy sources are not only harmful but finite as well, which means that the world is going to run out of them one day. Besides, the more time passes, the more expensive these energy sources will become. As opposed to this, renewable energy sources are infinite (e.g., wind and solar energy are constantly replenished) without any negative side effects and with prices that keep constantly falling.
The US relies on coal, oil and natural gas as the main sources of its energy, however, renewable energy is becoming increasingly popular, especially in New York City - one of the most excessive energy using cities. The government of NYC has serious projects running currently aimed at the implementation of different energy efficiency tools, sources and plans.
Apparently, before going green, you, as a small business owner, want to know more details about renewable energy, its advantages, benefits, costs and much more. We have made a list of the most frequently asked questions about renewable energy to help you in your search for the best way of becoming energy efficient.
1. What is Renewable Energy?
For starters, let’s define the term ‘renewable energy’ to make things clear: renewable energy is any source of energy that exists naturally, is theoretically inexhaustible and doesn’t not originate from fossil or nuclear fuel. This was quite an academic definition, especially if you are a newbie in this field - below we will introduce renewable energy more thoroughly.
So, in a nutshell, any type of potential energy that can be replenished after use is itself renewable energy. When we say that renewable energy is an infinite source of energy and can be replenished, we obviously, mean it on a human timescale (e.g., sun might not be there forever but at least for the coming few billion years it will warm the humanity up).
Some renewable energy sources have been in use for quite a while now, such as wind, tidal and hydro power (for sail ships, water mills, etc.). However, in order to bring renewable energy sources into wider scopes and aspects of our lives (one of which is small businesses and different companies), there was a requirement for more technological development and intellectual investment. This is how modern renewable energy types have been created that will enable you to have them set up at your business site and enjoy the results.
2. How Does Renewable Energy Work?
There are many types of renewable energy that have come to successfully replace the traditional sources of energy. Each of these renewable energy types uses different natural sources for generating power and covering all your energy and water usage needs. Find the more detailed descriptions of the way they function below:
- Solar Energy: Solar power is pretty much one of the most common types of renewable energy. Having a solar panel installed at your company, you will be able to cover your air and water heating needs. Another solar technology are the solar photovoltaic systems that use solar cells for turning sunlight into electricity. Solar panels are installed on unshaded, pitched roofs and don’t require much maintenance.
- Geothermal Energy: Geothermal energy is taken from the heat that’s stored under the earth’s surface. It can also be captured from the absorbed heat present in the atmosphere and oceans. In short, the earth’s heat is turned into electricity by means of geothermal energy.
- Wind Energy: The kinetic energy of the wind is processed into mechanical energy and electricity. The technologies used for getting wind energy are wind turbines which are small single building applications to large onshore or offshore wind farms. Wind energy could be a good idea for those businesses that possess a large unused space for installing the wind turbines.
- Hydropower: Water also comes with kinetic energy that can be turned into electricity. In this case, the water flow is sent to turbine blades that spin making the electrical generator attached to the turbine spin as well thus generating electricity.
- Biomass Energy: This type of renewable energy is generated from organic materials such as wood, straw and other crops. The energy is generated by burning these materials. Biomass is considered renewable because its inherent energy is extracted from the sun, besides it can be replenished within short time periods. When trees are burned, they emit the same amount of carbon dioxide as when they die naturally. Thus, using biomass energy, you will not harm the environment in any unnatural or additional way.
3.Why is Renewable Energy Important?
Now that you know how different renewable energy sources work and what natural riches they make use of, it’s high time to look at their benefits and advantages. The latter are obviously the main factors that make renewable energy important:
- Cleaner and Greener Environment: Renewable energy usage will greatly reduce the amount of greenhouse gas emissions that come with the traditional energy sources. The environmental impact of renewable energy sources is close to none. Why not invest in living on a better planet?
- Infinite Energy Source: With renewable energy you can be sure that you are providing the coming generations not only with a better environment but also with an energy that will hardly ever run out. Besides, as noted above, it keeps getting cheaper which means that your grandchildren will have a chance of paying close to nothing for the electricity they use.
- Economy: Renewable energy sources function on certain facilities (solar panels, wind turbines, etc.) that require well-thought workmanship. This means that the higher the demand for renewable energy sources, the more new jobs will be created for people who create these facilities and install them. Besides, the economy also grows as the US sells renewable energy systems overseas as well.
- Fight against Global Warming: As more and more people start using renewable energy, the biggest threat of our era - global warming might start its retreat. With the help of clean energy you will be able to contribute to climate change in a positive way. .
4. What are the Benefits of Using Renewable Energy for Small Businesses?
The next important question that arises in your mind is how your small business will benefit from investing in a renewable energy source and going green. We already mentioned that your business will become much more energy efficient and you’ll save lots of money. Let’s have a close-up look at this and other benefits of renewable energy for your small business:
- Lower Energy Bills: This is probably the main reason why your business should go green. Instead of paying thousands of dollars for your monthly electricity bills, you can pay much less if you convert to a renewable energy source.
- Tax Credits: Your company can get tax incentives from the local government as a reward for your green initiative. Besides, you might also be able to cover at least 30% of your renewable energy system installation with the help of these incentives.
- Improved Reputation and More Customers: People will highly appreciate your step toward reducing your carbon footprint and going green. It will make them feel that you care about them and the environment which will highly increase the possibility of many customers choosing your services over others. This will earn you a good reputation and possibly increase your sales. Besides, conversion to a renewable energy source will have your employees stay with you longer and be loyal to the goals of your company.
- Healthier Environment for You and Your Employees: And last but not least, having a renewable energy source at your company will make it a cleaner place for long and loaded working days. Reducing your carbon footprint, you will have a positive effect not only over the whole environment but also on a smaller scale, on the office you are working at. Don’t harm the health of your employees by sticking to the traditional energy sources which are going to run out sooner or later.
5. What is REC?
A REC or a renewable energy credit is a certificate aimed at tracking the progress and compliance with the Renewable Portfolio Standards of different states. RECs should correspond with the environmental attributes of energy generated from renewable energy sources.
To put it simply, a REC is proof that your energy is being produced from renewable energy sources. You will be issued a REC in the following case: when one megawatt-hour (MWh) of electricity is produced and sent to the electricity grid from a renewable energy source.
Using a REC, you will be able to substantiate your renewable electricity use claims. Different levels of government, regional electricity transmission authorities, NGOs and trade associations support renewable energy credits.
RECs will help you get funding for renewable energy technologies for the energy companies. The prices of RECs are also inclined toward decrease as the demand for renewable energy grows.
6. Do I Have to Purchase Solar Panels or Wind Turbines?
The main dilemma that many small business owners stumble upon is the choice between solar panels and wind turbines. Deciding which one to choose can depend on a number of different factors such as the location of your company, your budget, energy needs, number of employees, etc.
To help you make the right choice here is a quick comparison of solar panels and wind turbines”
- Solar Panels: To start with, solar panels require very little maintenance. All that is required from you is checking the connections, tightening the bolts, cleaning the panels on an annual basis. There are no moving parts which makes things much easier for you. Besides, if you are late with your annual maintenance, it’s highly unlikely that you will have many problems.
What refers to the installation of solar panels, they can be placed pretty much anywhere as long as the sunlight falls over them. You can install them on the roof, on the ground, on the side or any other comfortable place of your building.
Solar panels usually come with a 25-year warranty, as for the design life of your panel, it can serve you for 30-40 years. Solar panels don’t make any noise during operation.
Sun power is environmentally safe and doesn’t have any damaging effects on wildlife.
A drawback for solar power is that the size of the panels you’ll need to generate the same amount of energy in different geographical places can be different.
- Wind Turbines: Wind turbines are very space-efficient, so to say. A single wind turbine (the most powerful one) can generate electricity for 600 US-based households. Imagine how little you would need to have enough wind energy at your company. The maintenance of wind turbines can depend on the manufacturer. Direct drive turbines require little maintenance due to the small number of moving parts. Other turbines that come with a gearbox require annual maintenance.
Wind turbines should be installed 30 feet above anything within 500 feet. This is not good for buildings located in big city centres and near many trees.
The warranty period ranges from 5 to 10 years while the design will last from 20 to 40 years depending on the manufacturer. Wind turbines make a little noise at higher wind speeds.
One of the main advantages of wind turbines is that they are said to use less energy as compared to solar panels.
As for the drawbacks of wind turbines, the one worth mentioning is the threat they have against wildlife, e.g., birds. However, this problem is also solvable by making the turbines more innovative and choosing their locations more carefully.
Make your final decision based upon the needs of your company and locations because both solar power and wind energy can be a great alternative to the traditional energy sources. And above all, their costs are equally falling as the demand grows.
Note: You can always purchase your energy from an ESCO (energy service company). This will release you from having to do all the dull purchasing processes on your own. Trusting the professionals is always a good decision.
7. Which is the Best Energy Supplier Company or How Can My Business Go Green?
An energy supplier company will help you switch to renewable energy in the most efficient way for your small business. The thing is to choose the right company which provides a team of qualified professionals and has established a loyal customer base and gained solid experience in the field over the years. You can learn about all these points by doing your own research and surfing the net for a list of the most famous energy suppliers.
To make your search easier, we recommend you to apply for the services of Phoenix Energy Group. Our green energy groups will take the responsibility of having your business go green in the most professional way and at affordable prices. We have years of experience and numerous satisfied customers to back up the quality of our services.
Here is what Phoenix Energy Group offers to help you go green:
- Identification of the ways that will improve the sustainability of your business
- Creation of marketing material for your location
- Creation of partnerships for broadcasting your sustainability efforts
- Creation of Press Releases and strategies for your social media outlets
- A thorough investigation of your business needs and demands so as to provide the highest quality and most effective services
Go green, boost your business, its reputation and have a hugely positive impact on the environment with the help of our green energy gurus!