Fears are growing of Christmas chaos for British businesses and consumers after industry warned of factory shutdowns within weeks as fuel prices spiral upwards.
In an emergency conference call with energy intensive industries, business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng was warned that electricity costs five times their normal level were “not sustainable” for a host of companies – some of which risk irreparable damage to facilities if they are forced to turn the power off.
Friday’s video meeting between Mr Kwarteng and the Energy Intensive Users Group (EIUG) came after the government rejected suggestions that they might have to curb industrial energy use with a 1970s-style three-day week this winter due to a global supply shock that economists fear could derail the recovery from the pandemic.
Change needs to happen fast and maybe some of these dramatic headlines are beginning to drive the shift towards alternative options for businesses and consumers in the UK to protect themselves from the steepest energy bills in 10 years.
Currently, businesses are typically paying between 15p and 20p for electricity (but as we all know, that is set to rise significantly). By generating your own renewable energy with solar panels for example, you reduce the need to buy electricity at ever increasing prices – that’s already a big win!
Then, if you are using more of the energy you generate on site, you will get a greater return. For example, a large commercial system of 100kw with 95% on-site usage will generate an average of 13.5% return, as well as over 40 tonnes of carbon reduction.
But, what many business owners may not realise is that by installing renewable energy solutions such as solar PV, renewable heating, battery storage or solar thermal, it could actually be the best investment you will ever make. With solid payback periods of 5-6 years, ongoing energy security and a potential 40 year lifespan on solar PV systems for example, it increasingly makes economic sense to consider the change.
In many cases, businesses can actually make more money in the longer term by reducing their energy bills than many other sales and cost reduction activities.
And that’s before you consider other benefits like capital investment allowances. Just like buying plant equipment or machinery, renewable energy will reduce your tax burden. As announced in the latest budget, there will be 100% allowances into next year.
So, there are lots of areas where solar energy alone can provide a big financial win for your business – the economics really do make sense and many businesses are already reaping the benefits.