Though climate change has become a hot topic over the past two decades, 80% of energy production and consumption in America still happens through fossil fuels. It’s clear that a switch to renewable, clean resources will take time — but that doesn’t mean your business needs to wait around. There are various ways for you to make a substantial impact.
If you want to transition to a new power source that helps the planet, you can explore the five main types. Keep in mind that they all have advantages and disadvantages, so you may discover that one doesn’t necessarily work for your property. Take a look.
If you know renewable energy, you know solar. This alternative source works through photovoltaic panels, which capture and convert the sun’s rays to create electricity. Besides power, you can use solar to heat water, too. Furthermore, you can store the excess energy generated on particularly sunny days to use in emergencies.
It comes with a simple installation, so while you do need to hire a professional, your property likely already has the correct structure for solar panels. Plus, your business doesn’t have to be in a sunny location, as solar panels only need four peak hours of sunshine to generate power. However, you should note that upfront costs can be an obstacle.
While wind power isn’t as accessible as other renewable energies, your business may still be able to benefit. Basically, wind spins rotators on turbines that activate a generator, which converts the kinetic energy into electricity. Then, you can use that power to run your building.
If you have the acreage, you may be able to build wind turbines on your property. But even in that case, you still need to consider weather patterns, as the wind doesn’t always blow consistently. That said, wind turbines can store excess power in batteries just like solar, so whether you pick wind for energy ultimately depends on your property’s size and location.
Though a lesser-known alternative energy source, geothermal serves as a reliable and effective power source. It converts steam from the Earth’s core through an underground pipe system. This energy works for electricity, heating and cooling, and more — and because the Earth will always store steam in the core, you won’t experience power outages.
However, cost tends to be a burden. It requires time, effort, and money to drill into the Earth, making geothermal a more complicated installation than other alternatives. That said, you can access federal tax credits to help geothermal make more sense for your company.
If you’ve ever seen a dam before, you’ve witnessed hydropower in action. Hydropower uses the water’s movement to convert kinetic energy into power you can use for energy. These systems require various parts, like turbines and generators.
How do you access hydropower as a business? Ask your local municipality whether the town or city has a connection to a power grid that uses hydropower. It may be possible to tap into that resource. Otherwise, you’d need to have an on-site pond or lake to build your own setup.
When you burn organic materials like wood products and agricultural waste, you can create energy from the fuel that’s created as a result. That’s referred to as biomass energy. Because we’ll always have access to natural products like wood, leaves, and manure, we can use them to power buildings in a renewable way.
Through systems called pellet boilers, you can burn organic materials to power your business. This process isn’t widely used — and you have to follow air pollution regulations so you don’t negatively impact the environment. However, you can still use biomass energy to power your business, so long as you consider the potential environmental implications beforehand.
Renewable Energy Options Exist for Businesses Everywhere
It’s up to everyone to do their part in the fight against climate change — and your company can help. If you want to move away from fossil fuels, you have options to try at your disposal. From solar to wind to everything in between, alternative energy sources exist in many forms. Make sure to consider their ups and downs before you pick one for your needs.