America’s large-scale solar market is set to get a boost after the launch last week of a new business advisory body aimed at speeding up the shift to renewables by big corporates.
Launched on Thursday by the Rocky Mountain Institute, the Business Renewables Center (BRC) hopes to add another 60GW of solar and wind energy capacity to the US total by 2025 – nearly double the current installed amount.
With more than 25 founding members, including major corporations, energy project developers and transaction service providers, the BRC wants to remove the main obstacles preventing corporations from building solar or wind into their energy profiles.
“Corporations can be a powerful lever for expanding renewable energy in the United States and beyond. They can lock in long-term affordable prices for clean energy that supports the bottom line, reduce their carbon footprint, and fullfil their corporate sustainability commitments,” said RMI Managing Director Hervé Touati.
Already in the US, big corporates including Apple, Google and Walmart have made sizeable investments in solar and wind to cut costs and reduce their corporate footprints.
While Walmart – like Swedish furniture giant Ikea – has mainly installed solar on its retail outlets and warehouses, Apple and Google have invested in and developed larger-scale projects, such as stand-alone solar farms.
According to RMI, nearly two-thirds of Fortune 100 and nearly half of Fortune 500 companies have commitments to shift to renewables, but most have not yet acted on this, due to the cost and complexity of large-scale renewables transactions.
“The collaborative effort of the BRC will make it easier for corporations to enter the renewables market. Instead of having hundreds of corporations reinvent the wheel, each member can get immediate access to the cumulative knowledge and wisdom of the industry. Each problem only needs to get solved once,” said Rob Threlkeld, manager of renewable energy at GM.
The BRC’s founding corporate buyers include Becton, Dickinson and Co., Bloomberg, eBay, GM, HP, Kaiser Permanente, Nestle Waters North America, Owens Corning, Salesforce.com, Sprint and VF Corporation – representing a combined 24TWh in electricity consumption per year.
The Centre’s founding project developers include Apex Clean Energy, E.ON-Climate and Renewables North America, FirstSolar, Invenergy, NextEra Energy Resources, NRG Energy, OneEnergy Renewables, OwnEnergy and SunEdison.
“The BRC brings us closer to corporate buyers and helps us better understand their needs. It allows us to focus our time on where we, as developers add the most value—building new projects that supply renewable energy,” said John DiDonato, vice president of wind development at NextEra Energy Resources.
Founding transaction service providers include Altenex, Climate Friendly, Customer First Renewables, Origin Climate, Renewable Choice Energy, Renewable Power Direct and Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati.
© 2015 Solar Choice Pty Ltd