(3BL Media/Justmeans) - Hillary Clinton has just rolled out her climate change plan, which would rapidly expand our use of renewables, tripling the number of installed solar panels to half a billion by the end of her first term. That’s certain an ambitious goal. In her statement she indicated her intention to rely heavily on tax credits to accomplish this. Whether or not that will be sufficient remains to be seen, but another announcement made yesterday by SolarCity, should certainly help.
The California-based company announced a new plan that would target small and medium sized businesses (SMB) as a huge untapped for solar energy systems. Focusing initially on owner-occupied businesses in California, the rollout contains a new pricing model that will allow these businesses to pay anywhere from 5-25% less for electricity than they currently pay, depending on usage and current cost, with no upfront charges. Twenty-year fixed rate financing will lock in savings, even if utility prices go up.
There are currently 28 million small and medium businesses in the US, which account for 99% of all businesses. It’s difficult to get a breakdown on what portion of energy use that amounts to, though this report from EERE suggests that this segment accounts for roughly 40% of all commercial building square footage (including government offices, but not malls). The report also highlights the substantial opportunities in energy efficiency while noting that California has been far more successful in reducing energy use than the rest of the country. This falls in line with the conventional wisdom that suggests that improving efficiency first, before installing renewables, is the more efficient path.