How alternative energy creates long-term cost saving benefits
Switching to alternative energy represents the potential for greater efficiency and major cost savings in the long term, along with continuity of operations and an opportunity to become a green organisation.
While business leaders are optimistic about the doors that alternative energy can open for cost reduction, the cost to install the solution is a huge factor that affects their decision to deploy the solution.
However, Barry Venter, CEO of Nashua says that the cost of losing money as a result of load shedding makes alternative energy solutions certainly worth the investment. “You have to consider how much money the business is losing as a result of load-shedding or load reduction…it’s not a question of whether you can afford to invest in alternative energy, it’s rather a matter of when you’re going to implement it,” explains Venter.
He also points out that for businesses whom affordability is a concern there is the option to break up the installation in phases. It’s possible to start with a backup solution then integrate solar, then a hybrid system, and eventually an off-grid solar system.
So, it’s not a matter of how much an alternative energy is going to cost businesses, but how much of their profits they are willing to lose every time they’re left without power.
If a business doesn’t have the cash to outright buy the system, they can look at renting the equipment from a provider. A power purchase agreement (PPA) is also an ideal solution for businesses that are unable to finance the installation upfront. Another option is to deploy a solar installation or battery backup into other existing rental agreements that the business may have, such as for printers, laptops or computers.
To explain how a PPA works: a business commissions the installation of solar panels on a residential or commercial rooftop, providing power to residents or tenants. Instead of buying electricity from Eskom, each resident or tenant pays a monthly rental fee to the customer for the power generated by the solar panels.
Venter also made businesses aware that the cost of alternative energy has reduced significantly over the last couple of years. “Solar has definitely become more affordable with time; it’s no longer the expensive commodity that businesses have traditionally shied away from because of the cost.”
When choosing an alternative energy provider, there are a couple of things businesses should keep in mind:
A reputable supplier should be able to provide a comprehensive end-to-end solution.
They should offer post installation servicing and repair
Will their business still be around in a couple of years?
Are you able to monitor devices remotely to pick up on issues before they arise
Does the supplier have nationwide branches?
Venter concludes that the prevalence of load shedding and load reduction has accelerated the adoption of renewable energy solutions among SMEs but advises customers to make sure that providers have the necessary expertise and can provide long term support.