Written by: Joanah Gamboa
How can you cut down business costs?
One way would be to turn to solar energy, a sustainable and environmentally-friendly solution to diminishing fossil fuel reserves. But what about expensive costs on installation, logistics, and maintenance of the solar photovoltaic systems or PVs? Here’s some good news for you! Solar energy –including installation and other fees– has become more cost-effective due to rising environmental awareness.
In the past five years, the average price of US solar PV fell over 50%. What contributed to this apart from the growing environmental consciousness is the innovative solar startups who crafted financing arrangements that allowed everyone to have easy access to solar power without the upfront costs. These startups not only introduced breakthrough products to the market, but also offered Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) and solar leasing — set-ups that give you affordable means to do your share of preserving the environment.
Here are 6 startups who put affordable solar power out into the mainstream.
From the minds of two brothers who aspire to deliver clean and more affordable energy comes a city that fights for sustainability with the sun. Backed by Elon Musk, SolarCity is one of the largest full-service solar providers in the nation. It claims to have provided solar systems to one in every three residential homes in the United States. SolarCity ranked 9th in MIT Technology Review’s 50 Smartest Companies 2015 and 2nd in Fast Company’s The World’s Top 10 Most Innovative Companies of 2015 in Energy.
CEO: Lyndon Rive
Headquarters: San Mateo, California, United States
Financing options: Purchase, Loan, Solar Lease, and PPA
Claiming to be one of the largest installers of solar panel in the UK, Freetricity has changed Britain’s environmental landscape by offering their customers free solar panel installation and maintenance. This service is paid for by the UK Government’s Feed in Tariff Scheme (FiT), a scheme that provides incentives to those who utilize renewable energy. Through this arrangement, Freetricity will receive all FiT privileges while customers enjoy free electricity. Freetricity also installs a paid-for solar system that will allow businesses to generate long term revenues from the government scheme.
CEO: David Plummer
Headquarters: London, U.K.
Financing options: UK Government’s Feed in Tariff Scheme (FiT)
Managing approximately 15 projects around Texas, Circular Energy designs and installs solar panels, providing American homes and businesses with affordable and sustainable energy solutions. Just like SolarCity, it offers solar leases and power purchase agreements to help people minimize energy costs while doing their bit for the environment. Circular Energy also offers businessmen with trainings on federal policies, incentives and rebates to help increase profit.
Headquarters: Austin, Texas
Financing options: Solar lease and PPA
4. Vivint Solar
Originally a provider of residential solar energy systems, Vivint Solar opened its doors to commercial and industrial projects just this June. The Utah-based solar company finances, designs, installs, monitors and services the solar energy systems to make things easy for its customers. In December last year, it received the Frederick County’s Business Leader Award for 2014 in Maryland.
CEO: Greg Butterfield
Headquarters: Lehi, Utah, United States
Financing options: Purchase and PPA
Sungevity’s campaign for commercial consumers is straight to the point: “Sunshine is good. You can bank on it.” This startup has been banking on the sun’s power since 2007. Apart from the financing options, it offers 24/7 monitoring and 20-year system warranty, among other benefits. Sungevity personnel can install solar panels on a roof, a shade structure, or a ground mount system. Sungevity prides itself in taking businesses towards energy independence, freeing them from the “unpredictability of utility rates.”
CEO: Andrew Birch
Headquarters: Oakland, California
Financing options: Purchase, Solar Lease, PPA
“To provide a better way to mount solar to roofs” is the idea that spurred Pegasus Solar to create LightSpeed Mount Residential. The product is a rail-less solar mounting system for composition and tile roofs. Because it is rail-less, you will be freed from paying extras like the material and manufacturing costs of rails, longer installation time, and logistics. Their flagship product also boasts of installation flexibility – which allows it to be installed in portrait, landscape, or mixed orientation. Unlike the products listed above, it does not offer any financing options, however, its rail-less product gives it an edge over the others.
Headquarters: San Jose, California
Financing options: na
Healthcare is not the only industry that experienced a boom this year. A number of solar startups also emerged, aiming to minimize fossil fuel burning, tone down carbon footprint, and reduce energy cost.
The costs in using solar power for your business are no longer as intimidating as they used to be. The companies above prove that switching to green energy is sustainable and affordable. All that’s left to do is to weigh which one is applicable to your and your business location.