Energy Efficiency as a Service – Low hanging fruit for saving money in your renewable energy projects

energy efficiency

The Energy Efficiency Concept

Energy efficiency is an interesting concept for helping businesses and individuals reduce energy waste to support energy conservation and sustainability.

For businesses, energy efficiency is good for improving their bottom line.  On the other hand, individuals switching from incandescent to LED bulbs, for instance have the opportunity of reducing their energy bills and hence good for their pockets.

What does Energy Efficiency involves?

When it comes to energy efficiency and energy management; it can involve targeting the following to reduce your energy consumption:

  1. Replacement of old or obsolete equipment with new or more energy efficient equipment that does not consume a lot of energy.
  2. Process optimization to reduce energy wastage. Processes with low energy intensity are good for the environment and production cost, especially in the industrial sector.
  3. Use of renewable energy such as solar energy is also a form of energy management or energy efficiency because it ensures the energy is conserved as it comes from a sustainable source.

Renewable energy is considered sustainable when it fulfills three (3) demands of energy i.e. (i) the energy can be naturally replenished, (ii) technology should improve energy efficiency, (iii) the long term availability.

Renewable energy technologies in this case may include bio-energy (biogas, biofuels & biomass), wind energy, solar energy, geothermal, hydro and other new forms of renewable energy such as wave & tidal energy.

 How to overcome financial barriers to Energy Efficiency

All of the above energy efficiency solutions have tremendous benefits, but can be costly when it comes to implementation and hence calls for finding innovative financing solutions that help to reduce the financial burden to the end-user.

As such, just like how solar panels are supported these days using third-party financing solutions such as leasing and power purchase agreements (PPAs); financing energy efficiency is also moving in the same direction.

Solar PPAs and solar leasing let you buy clean, affordable solar power that is generated on your roof by solar panels that are completely owned by a solar provider. This approach of going solar is known as “Solar as a Service”. 

Solar panels, the installation and the maintenance of all solar panels is provided by a solar provider and the only thing paid by the end-user is the solar power produced from the panels, just like buying power from a local utility company.

Today this concept is also being implemented in the energy efficiency business where energy conservation solutions are implemented by a third party. In this regard, the customer does not own the equipment and hence there is no upfront investment.

Such a financing solution provides benefits such as instant return on investment without any upfront capital cost and includes maintenance and asset repair costs at the same time.

Better Buildings – a program of Department of Energy defines this concept  as a pay for performance, off-balance sheet financing solution that allows customers to implement energy efficiency projects with no upfront capital expenditure.

The provider pays for project development, construction and maintenance costs and once the project is completed, the end-user or customer makes service payments that are based on actual energy savings and other equipment performance metrics, resulting in immediate reduced operating expenses.

Energy efficiency is a low hanging fruit that can be explored before going solar or thinking about renewables.  It is cost effective to think about energy efficiency first because of the amount that you can end up saving without investing in other capital-intensive equipment such as solar panels. A penny saved is a penny earned, as they say.  For more details, about energy efficiency as a service and renewables, please contact us at support@switchingtosolarpv.com

Switchingtosolarpv.com is a website resource for promoting sustainability, systems thinking to solving problems, going green concepts and going solar online tools.

Interested in going solar? Get started with this solar panel cost calculator to determine how much it can cost you to go solar and your expected estimated savings. You will also discover other details such as your carbon footprint reduction, how many solar panels you need etc by just providing very simple data such as your average monthly energy bill.

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