8 Easy Ways For SMEs To Benefit From Renewable Energy

October 30

The numbers speak for themselves...

8 Easy Ways For SMEs To Benefit From Renewable Energy

The world today is 1°C warmer than pre-industrial levels. While that may not sound like a significant figure, 1°C means that sea levels have risen by more than eight inches in that time. Artic sea ice is now declining at its fastest speed in 1,500 years.

Following a spate of destructive hurricanes in the US, record droughts in other parts of the globe and even forest fires in the Arctic, the race is on to make urgent changes. Individuals and businesses must go greener - for the sake of our planet and future generations.

The good news is that a few small changes can make a vast impact. With funding bodies offering an array of green incentives, customers increasingly supporting 'green' businesses, and significant cost savings to be made, businesses across Ireland can get ahead by seizing eco-opportunities.

If your SME is considering going green, but just needs an extra nudge, these useful facts and tips should inspire you to take action today.

Fossil fuels heading for extinction

While we've all depended on fossil fuels to keep the lights on and to stay warm and prosperous for decades, they are on their way out.

Since the industrial revolution, the human race has consumed resources such as oil, gas and coal with abandon and experts expect they'll run dramatically low in the last quarter of this century.

 As this energy time bomb ticks on, there's a growing urgency to find alternative energy resources that allow us to continue living the lives we want to live, while protecting the world around us. Renewable energy, from wind, sun and sea, can give us all the energy we need, but businesses need to get behind it in order to ignite a renewable energy revolution.

 Act now, and your SME will be future-proofing itself before the curtain falls on fossil fuels.

Ireland targets 16% renewables by 2020

Under the Renewable Energy Directive, Ireland has set the target to produce 16% of its energy from renewable sources by 2020. In order to motivate businesses towards this green goal, the government has created a series of lucrative incentives.

An array of tax credits and state grants for investors in green technology are helping keep prices down while expensive infrastructure is built. All of that means you can integrate renewable energy into your business today, with great savings, and stay safe from price fluctuations as fossil fuels diminish.

Discounts drive take-up of electric cars

For cash-savvy SMEs that lease vehicles, it can really pay to go electric. Companies such as Sixt offer leasing deals where you'll get discounts on cars, insurance and mileage if you choose electric vehicles. These special prices are a real incentive to invest in environmentally friendly vehicles. When you add into the equation the savings you'll make on petrol and diesel, going green is a complete no-brainer.

Grants to turn your lighting green

It isn’t just in the world of transport where choosing renewable energy can boost your day-to-day operations. In 2017, SEAI piloted a ‘smart lighting grant’ aimed at SMEs. Just under half a million euro has been invested in upgrading lighting systems for more than 60 SMEs, and there's still time to take advantage. Visit the SEAI website for the latest on grant calls and application dates.

Get your hands on €3,800 solar support

Building on the success of its lighting scheme, SEAI has also introduced solar power grants to the tune of €3,800. You can use the sum to install solar PV panels as well as batteries for energy storage. Investing in solar panels will decrease your bills over time, which puts more profit back in your pocket.

Green economy creates more jobs in Ireland

In these uncertain times, with Brexit looming, the renewable energy sector can provide a surprising boost to the economy. That's because developing a new network of solar, wind, geothermal and hydroelectric energy means employing and training people to install, maintain and hook up these services.

 The more companies that make the switch to renewable energy, the more jobs we'll create, and the stronger our domestic economy will become. By investing in ourselves, and preserving our beautiful country, we can ensure Ireland has a long and prosperous future.

 Strive for ISO 50001:2011 accreditation

As Ireland strives to strike its 2020 emissions target, SMEs are being encouraged to upgrade their energy certification to the all-new ISO 50001:2011. Achieving this certification brings benefits to your business, including a 10% reduction in your energy use, reduced emissions and a lower carbon footprint.

Being part of the elite group of businesses that holds this crowning certification will give you prestige on an international scale. All of your energy equipment will have been verified to be of outstanding quality, meaning you'll be less likely to experience expensive and frustrating breakdowns with boilers or electrical faults.

33% of customers would pay more for renewable energy

Finally, it's worth remembering that what is good for the planet can also be good for your business. Potential customers are increasingly keen to support businesses that are committed to going green. In fact, reports that in a survey of 1,001 consumers, 33 per cent said they would pay more for energy from renewable sources. So if your business shows it genuinely cares about being sustainable, you'll likely have a substantial new pool of people that become interested in your company.

Energia is Ireland's largest green energy supplier and is currently supplying 25% of Ireland’s wind power. With more wind farms currently in development, that number is only going to grow.

 There has never been a better time for SMEs to consider making a smart decision about their energy provider. It may seem like something small, but it's incredible what a positive impact such small changes can have.

With grants and savings up for grabs, not to mention increased customer satisfaction, SMEs have a variety of options and opportunities at their disposal. The end of fossil fuels is not a question of if, but when, and renewable energy is the long-term solution.


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