SMEs waking up to the idea of generating their own electricity

New research from business-to-business energy supplier, Opus Energy, suggests a growing level of interest among small to medium enterprises (SMEs) ...

in generating renewable energy from their own businesses, with one third expecting to introduce solar panels, wind turbines or anaerobic digestion for example, and 38 per cent expecting to be generating their own renewable energy within five years.

Despite recent cuts in energy tariffs, and perhaps faced with finding new ways to generate income (42 per cent highlight the revenue opportunity behind any decision), a large number of SME business leaders questioned in the Opus Energy survey expect to be generating renewable energy within the next five years, with younger business owners (aged 18-34) more likely to make the investment sooner.

Opus Energy recently launched its power purchase agreement which enables customers to generate additional income from renewable energy, while powering their businesses and reducing their carbon footprint. The survey highlighted that most SMEs (59 per cent) felt they would definitely be interested in generating their own power if the Government provided subsidies.

The research also found that 42 per cent of SMEs said they would switch to generating some or all of their own power from renewables if it could be proven that they would make money out of it. This has encouraged Opus Energy to call on the energy sector to make it easier for businesses to find the information they need to get started. 

Craig Birch, a farmer from Lincolnshire who also runs a green waste composting business, is a good example of a small business owner investing in generating renewable energy. An Opus Energy customer, he installed a wind turbine on his land in May 2011 and is already reaping the financial benefits of renewable power generation and believes he is contributing to sustainability at the same time.

The wind turbine generates between £40,000 and £50,000 per year in income for Craig’s farm, and the equivalent amount of power needed to run half his village. In addition, his import supply contract with Opus Energy has created an approximate £1,000 per year cost saving for Craig on standing charges and connection capacity charges. This is approximately 25 per cent of the overall contract value for the exported power.

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