The benefits of renewable energy to the SME

Keith Arkins

BECOMING known as a 'green' company can often lead to attracting more business eco friendly customers and in turn boost the company's profits. Often on face value, the move to renewable energy seems it's not worth the effort. However, things are not always how it seems at first glance, so I want to look at the benefits to a company wishing to switch to more sustainable energy sources.

The price of fossil fuel continues to rise over the years and that trend of rises will continue to develop as the resources for this energy become continually scarce and as the world's population rises and the industry requirements mirrors that rising trend. This means that you could be spending considerably more for your energy than any of your competitors who utilise renewable energy of some form or another.

Investing in solar panels to harvest the sun's energy can be an economically intelligent investment for your business. Because you don't need to worry about competing for resources, you can ensure your solar panels will keep your energy costs low for years.

As a business bedded into the fabric of the local community, you may be interested in showing your commitment to the environment to your clients, customers and indeed the local community. Going green can provide your company with a good PR news story. Protecting the environment is now an expected character of every successful business and as it may not be the deciding factor in promoting your business, it will highlight the non-environmental competition.

As a business owner, you want to ensure your employees, and your place of business, always has access to electricity and energy. In the event of bad weather, you may find you're out of power, unable to operate normally and quickly start to lose money. The longer the power is out, the more business you could be missing out on.

While renewable energy also depends on the weather, it is more stable and easily distributed than traditional fossil fuels. This means if one windmill or bank of solar panels stop functioning, the others are able to pick up the slack. There is a very small likelihood of service disruption with renewable energy. This allows your business to stay open and keep functioning on a daily basis.

If you are a business owner or board member, the question in relation to investment, is always regarding your “Return on Investment” (RoI). True, the initial investment on renewable energy projects can be considerable however, you are always assured of a good return on your investment or major saving in terms of energy costs on an annual basis, for a reasonable period of time.

Take a drive round The Mournes, The Glens of Antrim or even look out your house window, if you live in the countryside and you'd rather see a windmill turning along-side a red brick redundant chimney stack, instead of a rusty steal funnel with black smoke bellowing out of. It's important for every business owner or company to make good decisions that do not have a negative effect on the community, and that the company is seen as delivering a positive impact.

No matter what your industry is, you want to be perceived as a leader in that area. As a business owner or director of a company, you need to make strategic and smart decisions that push you ahead of your competitors. If there are not many companies in your industry using renewable energy solutions, switching can differentiate you enough, that you become a progressive leader. It will show that you embrace new challenges and that you are not afraid to be out in front of the pack, even on your own.

Renewable energy can bring many different benefits to your business. Whether you're looking for a way to leave a smaller footprint on the planet or you're hoping for a new way to differentiate your business, making the switch to renewable energy is an important decision you could make as a business owner.

:: Trevor Bingham is in charge of business development at Tarkenta – Focused Battery Solutions

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