Sunshine seems to be a given in California, as there is even the rumor of a law that grants sunshine to all citizens. (Unfortunately that law is just that, a rumor, and may be based on the Sunshine Act, which refers to government transparency.)
According to the Current Results website, downtown L.A. receives an average of 292 days of sunshine in a year – that’s an 80% chance of sunshine! Even the lowest ranked, Eureka, receives 179 days of sunshine – or almost 50%.
The high chance of sunny days makes California the perfect place for solar power. And for small- and medium-sized businesses, solar power can not only cut down your electricity bills, it can increase your standing in the community by that much more.
Solar Power – the Fiscal Returns
In California, residents – and businesses – can receive a guaranteed return on investment from their solar installation, because of a feed-in tariff. The tariff is similar to a power purchase agreement (where the government or the local electrical utility buys back electricity at a certain rate) but at a much higher rate. At the end of 2012 (according to Wikipedia) California had 364 megawatts of concentrated solar power and 2,559 megawatts of photovoltaics.
An article on the Clean Technica website from earlier this year (http://cleantechnica.com/2014/02/03/much-can-solar-panels-save/) shows a very interesting info-graphic – even though California is at the low end of the spectrum, it is estimated that you can save just under $40,000 over 20 years – that’s an average of $2,000 a year!
Increase Your Social Stock
Solar power isn’t just about cash flow, either. By installing “green” devices in your small business, you are shown to care about the environment – and the environment is very “sexy” nowadays. Customers will flock to you because you have a sustainable model – and word of mouth will make your social stock soar.
There are other ways to be more “green” in your business. Instead of sending out paper invoices, use e-invoicing – it can also save time, and make filing your taxes a lot easier. But you must advertise that you do this – at the bottom of your e-invoice, state, “We save X number of trees per year with our paperless invoicing.” Any kind of replacement of paper with e-mail is a good idea; you can send out e-cards instead of Christmas or announcements, send out an e-blast or an e-mail newsletter instead of paper advertisements. E-mail can replace many types of communication.
No matter what kind of business you run, small or medium, there are always ways to make your organization greener. From something as simple as planting trees near your business’s office (or planting them elsewhere and advertising that you are planting them) to going for LEEDs certification, every little bit counts. LEEDS – Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design – has different levels of certification, and includes solar power installations, construction of the building to let in the most light (without use of office lights) and much more.
It’s all up to you – greener is better; it can save you money and increase your standing in the community.