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Give solar and wind power their day in the sun

By Paul Carson

With the ever increasing cost of electricity, businesses of all sizes really should be considering various forms of renewable energy sources on site. Technology has developed quickly and the choices available across wind and solar in particular are now very well proven.

While there aren't any capital grants available up front, the incentive payments for generation are significant enough to make any investment in renewables attractive for businesses.

Any business with enough surplus land should consider erecting a wind turbine if the site is suitable or if the capital cost was prohibitive, still enjoy a steady revenue stream through a rental agreement by partnering with companies like Simple Power, who would own and operate the turbine.

Solar PV is an option open to almost any business with a roof, as the panels can simply be mounted onto the roof and power generated from them can be used on site or sold onto the grid.

For those businesses who may be restricted to installing renewable energy generators, the option of offsetting may be worth considering.

The large retailers such as Tesco, Sainsbury's and Ikea have all bought up renewable generation capacity in the form of off-site generators including entire wind farms. This is a serious possibility for smaller businesses to consider.

Generally, there is no sign of energy costs reducing for the forseeable future, so all businesses need to review their energy purchasing policies, including giving consideration to on-site generation.

The cost of renewable energy will decrease over the years so it is crucially important for the public to back renewable developments such as wind turbines and solar panels.

We simply cannot rely on fossil fuel-powered generation any longer. There must be a continued drive towards sustainable energy sources and the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment (DETI) must ensure the incentives remain in place to encourage investment in the renewables industry.

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