It’s a question that puzzles many CEOs: Is going solar the right choice? Even though solar is the most mature renewable technology, tested in multiple residential and commercial installations, business leaders are still uncertain about making the move. As rebates and incentives start to dry up, the window of opportunity that make solar an attractive investment is closing. Here are a few questions that may help you decide whether to go solar or not:
Does Solar fit in with your financial model?
The facts point towards a revision to common thinking about solar: There has been a dramatic drop in solar PV prices from $4.5/Watt in 2006 to $0.81/Watt ($1.01/Watt for non-Chinese products). In the past three years the average price of solar has gone down by 75%. This is not inclusive of the rebates and incentives still available in the US. From $0 down leases to paying for solar upfront, the market presents multiple options to “get with the program” and go solar. Yet, each option presents its own financial rewards and risk. As a business, you best understand your cash flow and business model. It’s important to work with solar companies to tailor a solution that is in line with your business model and financials.
Is your core business energy intensive?
Going for a solar solution for your business is an investment: it has returns. The more energy intensive your core business processes and activities, the greater the returns. For example, if you are data intensive IT firm with your own servers and the air-conditioning and ventilation required to keep the servers running at optimum levels, spending on solar may drastically reduce the energy footprint of your organization. Facebook, Cisco, eBay and Apple are just a few companies looking to power their data centers through solar.
Can you leverage Solar for strategic advantage?
Your organization’s strategic vision and direction should be the foremost factor in your decision to implement a solar solution. The cost savings created by solar allow for financial “play”, or, in other words, free up money for you to reuse strategically. This money can be reinvested in the company. For example, the money can be invested in growth through product development or in employee retention if you operate in an industry where capable human resources are hard to find. Finding strategic fit for solar within your business can mean competitive advantage over rivals through greater focus on your core business.
Stay tuned for a follow-up story tomorrow on how to maximize the impact of solar on your brand.
Nabeel Hussain is marketing manager at ClarySolar, a San Diego-based renewable energy company. He has over five years’ experience in product management and marketing strategy as well as a passion for technology and renewable energy.