The 2019 Report Card for California Infrastructure showed that the Energy sector received the lowest rank of all sectors, scoring a D- from the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE). Investor Owned Utilities (IOU’s), like Southern California Edison, Pacific Gas & Electric, and San Diego Gas & Electric are tasked with updating their severely under-maintained infrastructure.
Many upgrade projects are currently in effect. “The public utilities are modernizing their grids to accommodate the changing energy market. For example, from 2018-2020, SCE is replacing over 2,000 miles of cable, upgrading lower voltage wires so they can better accommodate…” explains the ASCE.
What does this mean exactly? California’s Revel Energy shared its thoughts with us. Dedicated to renewable energy solutions since 2009, Revel Energy was formed to provide Commercial, Industrial and Agricultural businesses with alternative energy beyond solar.
What does this mean for California businesses and commercial property owners?
Continued rate hikes will be the normal going forward. To pay for these major upgrade projects, IOU’s will need to increase rates, manipulate Time of Use and raise demand charges. California businesses can expect to see growth of their electric bill to outpace inflation significantly.
How do businesses protect themselves against these rising costs?
California business owners who spend $1,500 or more each month on electricity will need to look at alternative energies like commercial solar and energy storage systems.
“Our customers approach us to help lower their energy consumption from public utilities,” explains Ken Fournier of Revel Energy. “As rates go up, cutting energy usage and investing in renewable energies looks more and more of a necessity for business owners.”
Gaining energy independence through commercial solar and other renewable energies is a fast-growing concept. Southern California business are the fastest growing adopters, due to its solar saturated climate.
What kind of savings can businesses expect?
A lot of factors play into saving. Available square footage for the technology is a major pacing item. Other factors include, climate, building codes, and time of operation. Many businesses can see anywhere from 30% energy cost savings to well past 100% (in this case they would receive credits for future use). Here is one example of a San Diego mushroom grower who saves over 60% a month of electricity costs.
The average payback time via saved electricity costs is around 3-5 years. Many factors can expedite or slow repayment period, consult an energy consultant today for your business.
What upfront costs can businesses expect?
This depends heavily on the size of the system and how many layers of sustainable technology the business owner wants to use. For example, one manufacturer was running night shifts and was unable to capitalize with just solar. They installed an energy storage system to feed their electricity need when the sun went down.
Effective, commercial grade technology is not cheap like some consumer brands available. Incentives and Federal Tax credits can cut the cost of a comprehensive system significantly, sometime more than half. For businesses that don’t want to invest upfront, flexible financing options and lending programs like PACE are a good option.
What kind of businesses are good candidates to counter these rising costs?
California businesses that spend $1,500 or more each month in electricity are urged to contact an energy saving professional (Contact Here). Commercial energy contractors like Revel Energy will conduct a simple energy audit to point out opportunities for your business to save substantially on energy costs and start to put money back in your pocket.
— Solar Builder magazine