by Tim Bogert
Environmental Stewardship is an ethic of responsible planning and management of resources. This concept is often used in many fields including the environment, economics, health, property, information, and religion, where it is linked to sustainability. Market-driven Environmental Stewardship combines sustainability practices with sound financial models to enable companies and the general population to embrace the use of alternative energy resources such as solar power.
So, what are we are trying to achieve with a renewable energy technology such as solar energy?
Current energy sources such as coal, oil, gas and nuclear power are not a sustainable plan of action especially as our consumption rises. In addition to availability, who isn’t concerned about pollution and our dependence on foreign sources of energy? And, if you’re not aware of the problems of America’s antiquated and overloaded power grid, reliable and consistent delivery of power to your home or business will soon be another major concern.
There is no question that a renewable energy source like solar electric technology is beneficial to the environment when compared to traditional coal burning methods. Energy produced from the sustainable fuel source of the sun means zero carbon emissions AND offsetting (canceling out) pollutants such as carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide, nitrous oxides and mercury. It’s clean and on-site solar electric (photovoltaic) systems feed the electricity directly to your building reducing your dependency on the grid or foreign energy sources.
Financing Solar Energy
Incentives from federal and state governments, such as the Investment Tax Credit (ITC), accelerated depreciation, rebates and feed in tariffs, allow for the installation of solar energy on your property. These incentives can cover as much as 30% to 80% of the cost of “Going Solar”. The incentives, which vary from state to state, make the cost of renewable energy a viable option for the average business owner. Essentially, environmental stewardship has become market driven because it makes sound economic sense.
As an example, solar energy systems can offer financial returns that can be better than many capital investments made by corporations every day. The return on investment (ROI) can be as little as 2–4 years and will yield an internal rate of return (IRR) in the teens. Financial options specific to renewable energy are also available in the marketplace requiring little or no upfront investment such as Power Purchase Agreements (PPA), Operating Leases and Capital Leases.
All of these programs will reduce costs and provide electric utility savings for over 25 years while reducing the need for power produced on the grid that comes from power plants burning carbon-based fuels such as coal, oil and gas.
Is Market-driven Environmental Stewardship for you?
If you are thinking about renewable energy options for your business, building or complex, Solar (PV) Installation or EPC Contractors in your area should understand exactly what renewable energy incentives are available and how you can qualify. In addition, they should be able to advise you on the financing options that best suit your company’s credit qualifications and tax appetite. Multiple online resources are available to help you too including DSIRE, the database of state incentives for renewable energy , Renewable Energy World, and the National Renewable Energy Laboratories (NREL) Renewable Energy Finance website.
Do you want to be a leader? Companies and individuals protecting the natural resources of tomorrow are progressive leaders. And, if it selecting distributed energy generation also makes smart financial sense, why not look good while doing good?
Make the right choice. While Solar electric systems (photovoltaics or PV) are the most common type of renewable energy, there are other options such as solar thermal, wind power, daylighting, geothermal and more. These options can be combined with solar electric for even great efficiencies or can be installed in buildings that don’t have the roof style or space for solar (or vacant land to “farm” for the sun). Each sustainable or green technology has environmental and financial benefits that can reduce your perpetually escalating utility costs rate for electricity. Are you ready to cut and stabilize your electric rates with Market-driven Environmental Stewardship?