Whenever we talk to businesses about return on investment, the biggest bang for the buck is always renewable energy, usually in the form of solar panels. They pay for themselves and save significant money over their lifetime. They are also an emission free way to serve your energy needs, and a huge contribution to greenhouse gas reductions to prevent climate change.
But not everyone has real estate, or a south facing roof, or a roof at all. In fact, it has been our experience that more than half of the small businesses that the Monterey Bay Area Green Business Program helps are tenants in a building and are not able to make decisions on where their energy comes from independent of their property managers. We have found success working with property managers that can take a few minutes to listen to us and realize how much money they could be saving. However, sometimes landlords verge toward the more absent side. What option do tenants have in where their energy comes from? How can they still purchase renewable energy without having the real estate to construct solar panels or wind turbines?
Now, it is as simple as changing a few things online with your current utility provider. Pacific Gas and Electric, our energy utility, now offers businesses an alternative option. With PG&E’s Solar Choice and Regional Renewable Choice programs, you have the option to purchase up to 100% of your electricity from solar power, without needing to install solar panels. These programs are a choice if you want to lower your environmental footprint and promote renewable power generation. You can enroll through PG&E by calling 1-877-743-8429 and can begin supporting solar energy generation in early 2016. Solar energy is purchased from a pool of solar projects in Northern and Central California. If you wanted the benefits of renewable energy to provide positive impacts more locally, PG&E will soon have options for this as well. As early as 2016, you will be able to contract directly with developers for a desired amount of solar energy, between 25% and 100% of your annual use. The Regional Renewable Choice projects are estimated to begin delivering energy in late 2017 or 2018. To learn more, click here.
In the near future, your business will have a local option with Monterey Bay Community Power. Monterey Bay Community Power is a regional project among local government agencies that aims to provide electricity to residents and businesses throughout Monterey, San Benito and Santa Cruz Counties through the new Community Choice Energy (CCE) model. CCE enables communities to choose clean-source power at a cost equivalent to PG&E, while retaining PG&E’s role in maintaining power lines and providing customer service. The CCE model helps ensure local economic vitality because money from rates paid by local customers stays local. Surplus revenues will stay in the community to help fund renewable energy projects, create jobs and stimulate the economy. Monterey Bay Community Power has completed a feasibility study and formed agreements with the local governments in the region. It’s anticipated that local green businesses and residential customers of PG&E will have the option of purchasing more green power by the spring of 2018.