If you investigated the value of switching to solar power for your small business in the past and determined it wasn’t cost-effective or beneficial to the business, you might want to take another look.

Almost every consideration has changed in the direction of making solar a better alternative than it was even just a few years ago. Solar panel and battery technology has improved, allowing for more output from fewer panels and more storage capacity. The cost of solar has dropped by half compared to a decade ago while the tax incentives have recently increased. And research shows consumers are more likely than ever to patronize businesses that demonstrate concern for the environment and reducing their carbon footprint.

All in all, it’s a perfect storm for small businesses to consider solar energy. And small businesses have some advantages over their larger competition when it comes to the benefits of solar.

Consider all this:

1. Small businesses have more to gain from solar

Large commercial outfits have the market power to negotiate rate reductions with power companies while small businesses must pay the general service electrical rate more similar to ordinary residential costs. With a higher cost of kilowatt-hour (kWh) from the local utility, the relative cost of solar is lower and the return-on-investment is faster. A solar system might pay for itself in 4-6 years rather than 7-9 years.

2. A little will go a long way

Small businesses don’t require huge solar fields to offset their energy use. Roof panels are often sufficient to become fully carbon neutral. That allows your business to reduce its operating expenses from day-one with a smaller investment.

3. Uncle Sam is chipping in

The new climate change law boosted the Solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC) to 30% of upfront costs, including batteries, and even more if the materials used are manufactured domestically. Because small businesses don’t have the big offshore accounts and teams of accountants to find tax loopholes, that amounts to a larger advantage than to corporations.

4. You can get off the grid (sort of)

Climate change is accelerating chaotic weather events that tend to knock out power, like hurricanes, tornadoes and flooding. Fracking for natural gas has been linked to increased earthquake activity. By creating a micro-grid that protects you during a utility power outage, your small business increases its resilience by going solar with battery storage. You may be able to operate when people most need it, and your competitors are without power.

5. Solar is more efficient, less expensive

A single residential solar panel 10 years ago delivered 240 watts of energy. Today that same panel accounts for 480 watts, and its quality and durability have improved. Energy storage for rainy days was almost non-existent a decade ago but thanks to the popularity of electric vehicles, batteries can hold significantly more energy, to be delivered when you need it. With prices declining over time and efficiency and capacity increasing, the cost-benefit analysis for using solar power in your small business is significantly more positive than just a few years ago.

6. Consumers (and your employees!) like you better

Green consumerism is more popular than ever, research shows. A study found that 87% of consumers have a more positive image of a company that supports social or environmental issues, and 88% will be more loyal to one that supports social or environmental issues. Solar panels on the roof of your office or store is a big advertisement for your environmental stewardship. And it’s not just consumers, research shows employees are more loyal to employers that value sustainability.

7. We like you better

Solar companies like working with small businesses because there is usually a single decision-maker. Large businesses can take months to make simple decisions, but with small businesses, your solar provider can get right to work and help you save money and protect the environment faster.

Solar power conjures images of corporate solar farms and roof panels on individual residences, but the largest payoff often comes for small businesses. If your business hasn’t explored solar recently, doing so now can reduce your costs and your impact on the Earth.


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