Add this to the backdrop of record rising energy costs now at levels not seen since 2008, smaller energy suppliers collapsing and the impending release of the cap on standard energy tariffs from October and there is a perfect storm brewing, just as the UK prepares to host the biggest climate change summit in November (COP26).
Renewable Energy Installer hears from Neil Evans, managing director Caplor Energy who believes it is important for businesses and consumers to hear how they can benefit financially from investing in renewable energy at the same time as helping the environment.
Dramatic headlines coupled with a desire to protect themselves from the steepest energy bills in 10 years are driving a shift towards alternative options for UK businesses and consumers.
- The cost of installing renewable energy technology is reducing quickly
- It is now up to 50% cheaper to generate renewable energy than using fossil fuels
- Performance of renewable energy is continually improving in a rapidly growing industry
- Electricity suppliers are introducing agile tariffs to support renewable energy usage
- Grants and subsidies are still available for installing renewable energy
A rapidly growing industry
The renewable energy industry is growing fast, as consumers and businesses alike learn more about the huge savings and benefits that can be made, whilst also seeking to reduce their carbon footprint and support the drive towards net zero.
UK Solar firms installed 135MW of solar energy capacity in the second quarter of 2021, more than double for the same period in 2020. And large commercial rooftop installations of more than 100kW in size have seen their strongest ever period of sustained growth, supported by a rush of new planning applications that are fuelling the pipeline for the coming year.
So what’s driving this growth? Aside from the fact that businesses are recognising their responsibilities, the facts indicate that renewable energy is one of the best investments you can make right now. Currently, businesses are typically paying between 15p and 20p for electricity (which is set to rise significantly). Generating renewable energy with solar panels reduces the need to buy electricity at ever increasing prices.
If the energy generated is used on site the return is even greater. For example, a large commercial system of 100kw with 95% on-site usage will generate an average of 13.5% return, as well as over 40 tonnes of carbon reduction.
Installing renewable energy solutions such as solar PV, renewable heating, battery storage or solar thermal, could actually be the best investment decision a business could make. With solid payback periods of 5-6 years, ongoing energy security and a potential 40-year lifespan on solar PV systems for example, it increasingly makes economic sense to consider the change.
Businesses can, in many cases, make more money in the longer term by reducing energy bills than through other sales and cost reduction activities. And that’s before considering other benefits like capital investment allowances. Just like buying plant equipment or machinery, renewable energy will reduce tax burdens with 100% allowances into next year announced in the latest budget.
Neil Evans, managing director at Caplor Energy says: “Rising energy costs and climate concerns are becoming increasing threats for businesses, consumers and communities throughout the UK. We are all responsible for the environment we live in and can take control of our future by choosing sustainable and informed ways to power our homes and businesses.”
Increasingly, batteries are playing a more important part in renewable energy, enabling the purchase of energy on much cheaper tariffs at off-peak times (often just 4-5p in comparison to the higher typical rates of 15-20p), which can be stored and used during the day to offset more expensive power. In conjunction with solar, the business case looks even better as the solar panels can also charge up the batteries, helping to provide free energy at all times of the day.
The fact is that we will all be using renewable energy at some point in the next 10-20 years. Many large organisations have already taken The Climate Pledge to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2040, but for many there is every opportunity to achieve this target sooner. However, to achieve this we all have to start now. It is clear that businesses are now addressing social and environmental issues as part of their longer-term strategies, not to mention the impact of ethical operations on client and staff recruitment and retention, so reducing environmental impact has now become an integral part of many organisations’ brand values, which is a clear step in the right direction.
Benefits for business while benefiting the environment
Whether it is through generating power from the sun, storing and offsetting energy with batteries, using heat pumps to keep buildings warm or charge electric vehicles, there’s a renewable way for businesses to operate, with significant long-term savings available whilst also contributing to the reduction of the impact of climate change.
As one of the first renewable energy businesses established and accredited with the Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS), the team at Caplor Energy are passionate advocates of renewable energy, with a mission to inspire businesses, communities and home-owners to install renewable energy systems that will help to deliver a zero carbon future to conserve and enhance the long term social and environmental future of our planet.