When we think of people embracing green energy and fighting global warming, corporate America isn’t usually at the top of the list. In fact, we tend to think of corporations as the ones doing all the polluting. However, green energy and corporations are warming to each other. In fact, according to The Motley Fool, big business in America is choosing renewable power over the traditional electric grid. That trend, if it continues, will have more impact than a million homes with rooftop solar panels.
Big Businesses Embrace Renewable Energy
The list of American businesses who are trying to break it off with utility companies seems to be growing every day. MGM Resorts, Apple, Microsoft, and others are all reaching out, and exploring the options they have available in an ever-greener world. In America, companies like First Solar and Sun Power have signed huge deals with corporations, providing massive amounts of solar power to keep corporate headquarters and other business areas running.
Why are so many big businesses going green? Well, because it’s cheaper.
That might sound confusing when you think of the sheer cost that comes with installing renewable energy, and the additional cost of storing that power so it can be used later, but it’s important to remember that big businesses are playing the long game. Traditional utility companies, especially those that still use fossil fuels, aren’t interested in lowering the cost of power. They also have no control over the fuel supply, spreading the costs out to their customers in order to maintain their profits. That isn’t the sort of situation corporations like to be at the mercy of, so they’re leveraging their power to invest in alternatives.
Not only that, but thanks to the changing renewable energy landscape, more corporations will be able to choose green energy instead of tying themselves to the grid.
It’s the investment domino effect. Less than a decade ago, solar panels were considered prohibitively expensive. However, as demand and investment in solar panels and solar power increased, the technology became cheaper. Today, solar panels are mass-produced, and there is enough installed solar power that in certain parts of the world the electricity they produce is cheaper than what utilities can offer (.05 per kWh, in some particularly sunny parts of the U.S.). As big corporations throw their weight, and money, behind renewable power, that power is going to get even less expensive to produce. More importantly, though, that power is going to be reliable, and the supply is going to be steady. It also means that, while big businesses are footing the bill for research and development, the rest of us can reap the benefits of getting affordable solar power we can set up right in our own homes.
Energy Storage: Big Business’s Next Hurdle
Renewable energy has reached the point where it’s become mainstream, and it’s clearly here to stay. However, the challenge we’re facing at this moment, in big and small arenas, is how to store the energy we’re generating. Because while it’s true that the sun, the wind, and the waves produce more energy than we could ever spend, we need to be able to store it. Otherwise it’s like trying to quench your thirst in the rain. You can do it, but it would be easier if you had a water tower to store all that rain in so you could use it when it was convenient for you.
That’s the challenge corporate America, and big businesses around the world, are trying to overcome. And, judging from the continued defection of big business to third-party green energy plants, and the investments we’re seeing in on-site green energy production and storage, it’s a challenge businesses are meeting. Which is good for the rest of us, because it means that solution will soon be available for everyone.
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