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Why Small Businesses should go green
Renewable energy has become a global focus over the past few years. Around 100 countries, have set renewable energy targets, including the UK. In Europe, the aim is to acquire 20% of the total energy supply from renewable sources.
The drawbacks of using fossil fuels have become more evident over the past century. Not only are they a finite source of energy, but they’re also having a negative effect on the environment, due to the release of greenhouse gases in the production process. The need for developing renewable energy sources is greater now, more than ever, as fossil fuels will be depleted in the next 50 to 60 years.
In the UK, businesses are the largest consumers of energy, using 56% of the UK’s electricity. If more businesses switch to renewables, a significant difference could be made to the environment. Plus, for businesses, green energy has other benefits. As well as being the quickest way to cut your carbon footprint, or becoming carbon neutral, renewable energy can be a very cost-effective option - you can get paid for going green.
The financial incentives for going green
Renewable Heat Incentive
The Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) is a government scheme that has been set up to incentivise homes and businesses to switch to renewable heat.
If your system is eligible, you’ll receive quarterly payments over the course of 20 years. You can find more information on the scheme and how to apply via Ofgem's website.
Feed-in Tariffs (FIT)
This is another government scheme created to promote the uptake of renewable energy. It’s open to both homes and businesses, with eligible installations including: solar PV, wind and hydro. Under the scheme, participating electricity suppliers are required to pay eligible generators and exporters.
Similar to RHI, payments are usually made quarterly, from the date your business becomes eligible, for the electricity your installation has generated or exported and are based on meter readings.
Despite heavy cuts to the scheme at the beginning of 2016, joining can still be beneficial. Learn more about FIT and eligibility criteria.
Renewable Energy Sources
Biomass energy accounts for roughly 85% of the country’s renewable energy**, and is simply the burning or fermentation of organic material, such as straw, wood or other crops.
As well as on a national scale, biomass systems can also be installed in individual homes and business. Common installations include stove burners for heating rooms, connected with back boilers for heating water. Initial installation can be costly but with around £800 available per year in savings, it should eventually even out.
Find out more about the pros and cons of biomass energy here.
If you own your business premises, or have a long-term lease in place, installing solar panels could be an option.
One of the main benefits is the ability to generate free, green electricity for use at your site, meaning that you require less energy from the grid during daytime hours. Savings can equal thousands a year (depending on your normal bill).
Learn more about solar panel installation.
Green Energy suppliers
If your business does not own or long-term lease its premises but you still want to cut your carbon footprint, switching to a green energy supplier might be the best option for you.
Squeaky (available through us with our Do It For You service) is one supplier which provide electricity through entirely renewable sources. Its platform allows businesses to buy directly from generators in a cost-effective way, delivering a better deal for both parties.
All its electricity supply contracts are secured through Europe’s largest renewable generator, so it will only ever provide power from 100% clean sources. Importantly, prices are very similar to regular suppliers.
Save money and cut your carbon footprint
Whether the aim is to cut your carbon footprint, to save money or both, renewable energy is one of the key ways to help your business achieve its goals.