When we’re surprised with something positive, we tend to feel greater joy than we would have, had we not been expecting the good fortune. This cognitive delight is particularly powerful if the good news forces us to change our perspective about a topic or situation.
If you’re a business owner, you’ve learned to expect the unexpected. Maybe you’re planning for unforeseen challenges by creating a cash reserve, diversifying product offerings, or looking into solar power.
Installing commercial solar panels is one of the best ways to plan for an unpredictable market, as it provides a few ways to potentially boost a company’s bottom line.
But aside from the anticipated benefits of using solar to power your business, there are a handful of unintended benefits as well. And these, according to your brain receptors, can lead to even greater excitement.
Here are six possible benefits of commercial solar that a business owner might not expect.
1. A Hedge Against Volatile Electricity Prices
Many are aware that installing solar panels on or near a commercial property can reduce the amount of electricity needed from the grid, which may lower utility costs. But did you know that those shiny solar electric or photovoltaic (PV) panels can help protect a company from volatile electricity prices?
It’s true. Going solar enables companies in most states to lock in their solar energy costs as long as the panels continue producing power — often 25 years or longer.
How? Whether a business owner opts to pay cash for the solar system upfront or chooses a loan- or lease-based predictable monthly rate for the duration of the financing term, the costs over time may still be less than what a utility provider would charge.
2. Improved Reputation and Public Image
Even though a commercial solar system could pay off on a business owner’s balance sheet, going solar isn’t just about monetary savings. Integrating solar power into your business model could be just as big of a win for the environment as it is for a company’s bottom line — and people will notice.
By now, you’re likely aware that producing emission-free energy can help a company reduce its carbon footprint and move closer to achieving its sustainability goals. But you may not have anticipated the positive public image or improved brand reputation that accompanies a commercial solar system.
Installing on-site solar is a visible, undeniable effort to reduce a company’s greenhouse gas emissions. As a result, this decision could elevate its corporate image by showing that the business owners care about environmental and socioeconomic impacts.
Think of the positive PR that may be generated each time someone sees this commercial solar array. By raising awareness about the importance of decarbonization on a commercial scale, business leaders may even inspire others to shift to solar.
3. Support for Local Jobs
Committing to eco-friendly principles is just one way a business owner can support his or her local community. Job creation is another potential benefit — one a company may not have considered.
In the U.S., solar PV installers are one of the fastest-growing occupations. The Bureau of Labor Statistics expects this occupation to grow 27% between 2021 and 2031.* The more businesses that go solar, the higher the demand for these local jobs that can’t be outsourced.
Clean energy is building a new workforce in America. Jobs in the fossil fuel sector are being replaced by solar technicians, energy analysts and grid integration engineers.* Although jobs in the solar energy sector slowed down when the pandemic hit, they are making a fierce comeback.*
By choosing solar, business owners can potentially boost employment opportunities for young professionals or seasoned workers looking for a career change — or anyone who wants to make a positive impact on the planet.
4. Appeal to New Customer Segments
In today’s economy, a company's commitment to sustainable business practices is valuable at every level, from the boardroom to the end user. Installing commercial solar panels demonstrates that a company cares about more than making money. By showcasing this commitment, a business can attract customers whose personal values resonate with environmentalism and corporate social responsibility.
While most customers want to know that the businesses they support are good global citizens, this is especially true for Millennials, who now represent the largest group of consumers in the nation.* Therefore, choosing to be sustainable (and highlighting these efforts) can help ensure that a business appeals to America’s largest group of consumers.
Beyond capturing new customer segments, companies that go solar could also gain brand loyalty. By increasing retention, a business can improve its customer lifetime value and capitalize on additional offerings down the road.
5. Attract Mindful Employees
Beyond customers, a socially and environmentally engaged corporate culture generally attracts and retains like-minded employees. By adopting and guiding employees towards sustainability initiatives such as solar, a company offers employees a sense of purpose. In doing this, business owners empower team members to create a brighter future not only for others but also for themselves.
A strong culture communicates how different roles will contribute to the greater good. This helps improve overall employee satisfaction and may even reduce voluntary turnover and minimize recruitment and training costs.
6. Gain a Competitive Edge
One reason commercial solar has become so popular is that it’s a sound business strategy, adopted by a number of Fortune 500 companies, from Sprint to REI to General Motors.* As business owners look for different ways to gain an edge over the competition, many seek out low-risk, high-yield investments — and land on solar.*
Consider that solar production itself is quite low-risk. When the sun is out (yes, even on cloudy days), PV panels absorb the sun’s energy, and inverters turn the current into usable power. In addition, solar infrastructure is durable and long-lasting; many systems require little maintenance.
As soon as a commercial solar system is turned on, it can begin to benefit your business. Like other construction projects, the minimal risks associated with solar could be mitigated by choosing a reputable solar energy company, like Sunnova.
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Business owners who commit to being part of the solution may enjoy a range of benefits that extend far beyond electricity savings. From improving a company’s public perception to supporting the local community, commercial solar panels can help businesses thrive while staying ahead of the competition.