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Top 5 blogs of 2019

Top 5 blogs of 2019

This year, our most popular blogs focused on energy resilience, energy optimization, energy efficiency, and commercial solar – innovations that can accelerate your journey to sustainability.

Businesses are focusing on sustainability more than ever before, and it is requiring them to change the way they think about energy. Achieving sustainability requires a new approach to energy management – one that involves implementing innovative energy solutions and strategies that balance efficiency and financial performance with being more socially and environmentally responsible.

Businesses that view energy as a strategic asset are making energy a fundamental part of their overall business strategy on their journey to becoming a sustainable business. Earlier this year, we published research that identified key characteristics and action points for organizations to become more sustainable and future-focused. This research found that sustainable businesses are generating their own power, optimizing their usage to yield cost savings and generate new revenue streams, implementing socially and environmentally responsible solutions, and investing in smart technologies that boost energy efficiency measures.

Therefore, it was no surprise that when we rounded up our top five most popular blogs of 2019, energy resilience, energy optimization, energy efficiency, and on-site energy generation with commercial solar were top-of-mind topics for organizations this year:

5. Five operational efficiency KPIs

Improve manufacturing operations and cut costs by setting specific, measurable goals.

Manufacturers are faced with the pressures of producing more high-quality goods, with less money, time and resource. Regulations are becoming more stringent and competition is growing in the market. Due to these increased business pressures, there’s a greater emphasis on alternative ways of being competitive. These include improving speed to market with new innovations, operating more efficiently and being more environmentally conscious.

To achieve the goals of lean operation, industrial manufacturers need to constantly monitor, benchmark and improve. KPIs can prove a valuable gauge of progress, helping manufacturers to set and achieve their business goals and maintain critical business resiliency.

4. What is the average payback period of a solar PV installation?

Discover how installing commercial solar panels can yield solid financial returns while generating onsite power for your business.

Solar is an investment that makes good business sense – one that pays businesses back through lower energy costs from day one, new revenue streams through programs like net metering, resilience from grid interruptions and demand charges when solar is integrated with battery storage, and the monetization of assets like roof space, parking lots, and empty land.

Many businesses wonder how much time it takes for the total savings and revenue streams from their solar PV panels to cover the total cost of the installation. This is known as the payback period from solar, meaning how long it takes for you to break even on your investment.

The speed of solar payback depends on several factors.

3. Maximize your energy budget in 2019 by leveraging the ITC

The Business Investment Tax Credit (ITC) is one of the most lucrative ways to reduce the investment costs of your solar installation, but in order to maximize this incentive, it’s important to include solar power in your 2019 planning.

The United States government is incentivizing businesses all over the country to install solar photovoltaic (PV) panels and maximize their energy strategy by powering their facilities with clean, efficient electricity. It is doing so by providing a generous tax credit, known as the Business Investment Tax Credit (ITC), that reduces the upfront costs of investing in solar, allowing businesses to enjoy a shorter payback period as a direct result of leveraging this credit.

While the ITC is applicable to other technologies like wind, geothermal, and microturbines, it has proven to be one of the most important federal incentives directly responsible for the growth of solar energy adoption in the U.S. Described as a “tax policy success story” by the SEIA, the ITC has resulted in 59% compound annual growth in the solar industry since it was enacted. As a result of its extension in 2015, solar pricing continues to fall as the technology becomes more efficient and more solar PV systems are installed throughout the country.

How does the ITC work? And what impact could it have on the operational efficiency of your business as you plan your 2019 energy strategy?

2. Find opportunity in PJM’s new Demand Response Program

Here is everything you need to know for the upcoming PJM Demand Response market changes.

The PJM Demand Response market will change to a new, single model for the 2020/2021 season. This new structure, Capacity Performance, will replace the previous options within PJM and will expect year-round commitments as opposed to the four-month, “Summer Only” structure that was previously in place.

Historically, PJM has run a summer DR program to provide flexibility and safeguards to the grid when electricity demand is high due to hot summer temperatures driving up demand. But, during the Polar Vortex of 2014 on the coldest day in January, 22% of PJM generation was unexpectedly unavailable to serve customers. The unanticipated winter event demonstrated to PJM how vulnerable generation resources are to extreme conditions and that robust incentives were needed to encourage stability in year-round performance of emergency capacity resources. As a result, PJM designed Capacity Performance (CP) to improve reliability by incentivizing capacity resources to be available whenever they are needed.

1. What is energy resilience?

Energy resilience is about ensuring a business has a reliable, regular supply of energy and contingency measures in place in the event of a power failure.

Causes of resilience issues include power surges, weather, natural disasters, accidents and even equipment failure. Human operational error can also be an issue and should be factored into resilience planning.

As the energy landscape undergoes a radical transformation; from a world of large centralized coal plants, to a decentralized energy world made up of small-scale gas-fired production and renewables, the stability of electricity supply will really begin to affect energy pricing. It’s imperative that businesses plan for this change.

The challenges that the growth of renewables bring to the grid in terms of intermittency, means that transmission and distribution costs are set to consume an increasing proportion of bills.

Ensuring your business is energy resilient helps insulate against price increases or fluctuations in supply, becoming critical to maintaining operations and reducing commercial risk.

It has been a great year. We look forward to serving you in 2020 and helping to drive your sustainability ambitions forward.