Quantcast
Business

Solar Now Cheaper Than Fossil Fuels for Many Small Businesses

Solar power is the fastest-growing source of electricity in the country, and now mom and pop shops can take part in the boom.

SolarCity has devised an an affordable solar power option for small businesses, allowing them to pay less for solar power than they pay the utility.
Photo credit: Flickr

Solar panels are usually seen on the roofs of residential buildings, schools, large companies or government institutions, but now, SolarCity is expanding its services to small and medium-sized businesses, or SMBs, the company announced. This move essentially allows local businesses to cut ties to their utility and save money against rising electricity costs with renewable energy.

SolarCity is first offering this service to SMBs in California with plans to expand to the east coast and other territories early next year. The company said it will initially design solar energy system sizes between 30 - 500 kilowatts of generation capacity for SMBs with approximately 5,000–50,000 square feet of available flat roof space.

With more than 28 million small and medium-sized businesses in the country—or 99 percent of American businesses—it's a move that's tapping into a very large and potentially profitable market that's worth at least $10 billion a year, according to U.S. News.

However, very few local businesses have been able to harness the sun's energy affordably.

Why? As SolarCity pointed out in a statement, "Solar projects for small and medium sized businesses have traditionally been very difficult to finance because SMBs do not have the formal investment grade credit ratings of large corporations, and also have no commercial equivalent to the FICO scores that are often the basis of consumer financing."

SolarCity CEO Lyndon Rive also told Fortune, “The truth is that small and medium businesses have been neglected by the solar industry over the past five years.”

To solve this problem, SolarCity will finance the upfront cost of panels to SMBs like it would under a traditional solar lease or power purchase agreement. These solar contracts are usually cheaper (and much cleaner) than the electricity produced by the local utility.

SolarCity is also utilizing the Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) program, which allows business to pay the solar payment on its property tax bill. PACE, a popular program which exists in about a dozen states, provides building owners the financing for upgrades on energy efficiency, renewable energy (like solar panels) and water conservation. The Golden State recently allowed businesses to use the PACE program through the state's CaliforniaFIRST initiative.

SolarCity, the largest solar installer in the country, will also tap into its vast network of local installers to fit panels onto SMB's roofs instead of going through a more expensive third party, which will cut costs even further.

The solar company also boasts that its lightweight solar panel mounting system can "fit 20 to 50 percent more solar panels on each roof surface" and allows workers to install panels significantly faster.

Overall, SMBs will pay 5 to 25 percent less for solar than for power from their local utility under SolarCity's new service, the company claims.

"When you fly into any airport, you see these industrial areas—what are small warehouses with small businesses in them—and there’s no solar," Rive told U.S. News. “We now have a solution that makes it cost-effective."

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

13 Top U.S. Companies Pledge $140 Billion to Slash Carbon Emissions

Hillary Clinton: If I’m Elected President Every American Home Will Be Powered by Renewables by 2027

5 Bold and Beautiful Solar Projects From Around the World

Show Comments ()
Sponsored
Roderick Eime / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

New Evidence Suggests Ancient Egypt Was Brought Down By Volcanoes and Climate Change

Ancient Egypt is often described as an exotic place—pyramids, hieroglyphics, lavishly worshipped kings and queens.

But in many ways, it has a lot of parallels to modern life. It was an economically diverse, culturally vibrant and unequal place.

The millenniums-old society also struggled with a phenomenon that people today know all too well: climate change. And it may have ultimately led to the civilization's demise, according to a new paper by a team of researchers at Yale University.

The team of researchers studied the tail-end of ancient Egypt during the Ptolemaic dynasty between 305-30 BCE.

Keep reading... Show less
Portuguese youth plaintiffs, from left to right: Simão and Leonor; Cláudia, Martim and Mariana; André and Sofia. Global Legal Action Network

Kids Harmed by Portugal Fires Reach Key Crowdfunding Goal for Climate Lawsuit

As Portugal reels from its worst wildfires on record, seven Portuguese children have met an important crowdfunding goal for their major climate lawsuit against 47 European nations.

More than £20,000 ($26,400) was pledged by 589 people, allowing the Global Legal Action Network (GLAN)—the nonprofit coordinating the lawsuit—to identify and compile evidence to present to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, France. GLAN now has a new stretch target of £100,000.

Keep reading... Show less
Flying insects such as bees are important pollinators. Flickr / M I T C H Ǝ L L

German Nature Reserves Have Lost More Than 75% of Flying Insects

A new study published Wednesday in the journal PLOS ONE adds more evidence that insect populations around the globe are in perilous decline.

For the study, researchers from Radboud University in the Netherlands, alongside their German and English colleagues, measured the biomass of trapped flying insects at 63 nature preserves in Germany since 1989. They were shocked to discover that the total biomass decreased dramatically over the 27 years of the study, with a seasonal decline of 76 percent and mid-summer decline of 82 percent, when insect numbers tend to peak.

Keep reading... Show less
Politics

Pushing Toxic Chemicals and Climate Denial: The Dark Money-Funded Independent Women’s Forum

By Stacy Malkan

The Independent Women's Forum is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that has taken money from tobacco and oil companies, partners with Monsanto, defends toxic chemicals in food and consumer products, denies climate science and argues against laws that would curb the power of corporations.

IWF began in 1991 as an effort to defend now Supreme Court Justice (and former Monsanto attorney) Clarence Thomas as he faced sexual harassment charges. The group now says it seeks to "improve the lives of Americans by increasing the number of women who value free markets and personal liberty."

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored
Mladen Kostic / iStock

Toxic Toys? After Nine Years, a Ban on Harmful Chemicals Becomes Official

Phthalates are a particularly harmful type of chemical, used, among a range of other ways, to soften plastic in children's toys and products like pacifiers and teething rings. In response to mounting concern about the serious health impacts of phthalates—most notably, interference with hormone production and reproductive development in young children—Congress voted overwhelmingly in 2008 to outlaw the use of a few phthalates in these products and ordered the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) to assess the use of other types of the chemical in these products. After much delay, the CPSC voted 3–2 Wednesday to ban five additional types of phthalates in kids' toys and childcare products.

Keep reading... Show less
Wikipedia

Oil Spills Pose Dire Threats to Marine Life

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says oil pipelines have no place in BC's Great Bear Rainforest. Opponents of the approved Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion to the West Coast and the cancelled Energy East pipeline to the East Coast argue pipelines and tankers don't belong in any coastal areas. Research led by the Raincoast Conservation Foundation confirms the threat to marine mammals in BC waters from a seven-fold increase in tanker traffic is considerable.

After examining potential impacts of a 15,000-cubic-meter oil spill in BC waters on 21 marine mammals, researchers concluded most individuals would be at risk and a few local populations wouldn't survive. Baleen whales, for example, are highly susceptible to ingesting oil because they breathe through blowholes, filter and eat food from the ocean surface and rely on invertebrate prey. Oil residue can stick to the baleen, restricting the amount of food they consume.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored
Shutterstock

September 2017: Earth's 4th Warmest September on Record

By Dr. Jeff Masters

September 2017 was the planet's fourth warmest September since record keeping began in 1880, said the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI) and NASA this week. The only warmer Septembers came during 2015, 2016 and 2014. Minor differences can occur between the NASA and NOAA rankings because of their different techniques for analyzing data-sparse regions such as the Arctic.

Keep reading... Show less
Animals

Shocking Photo of Dehorned Black Rhino Wins Top Award

Africa loses an average of three rhinos a day to the ongoing poaching crisis and the illegal rhino horn trade. In 2016 alone, 1,054 rhinos were reported killed in South Africa, representing a loss in rhinos of approximately six percent. That's close to the birth rate, meaning the population remains perilously close to the tipping point.

This year, the Natural History Museum in London awarded photographer Brent Stirton the 2017 Wildlife Photographer of the Year grand title for his grisly image of a black rhino with its two horns hacked off in South Africa's Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Park.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored

mail-copy

Get EcoWatch in your inbox