Recent research done by Shelton Communications Group reveals that sustainability is on the minds of today’s companies and organizations. 93 percent of the largest companies in the world now publish sustainability reports as part of their efforts to increase understanding and transparency around their sustainability initiatives. 82 percent say that sustainability is an important factor in corporate decision-making, a substantial increase from the 67 percent who said the same just four years ago.
In addition, 66 percent of business leaders in the US and Canada report that they expect to increase their reliance on renewable electricity in the near future. Why? It’s common knowledge that investing in solar and other renewable energy sources increases property values and lowers utility bills, but Shelton’s research demonstrates that there are many other reasons for commercial and industrial investment in alternative energy sources.
Internal Benefits of Corporate Solar Adoption
Insight into the leading drivers behind corporate solar investment reveals not only which factors are influencing decision-making, but also what benefits companies receive when they introduce alternative energy systems. Data collected by Shelton from 2013 to 2016 reveals a shifting landscape of corporate priorities and the way leaders understand the impact of investment in renewable energy sources.
Energy savings and cost reduction, while still the most cited reason for sustainability initiatives, is on the decline as a leading driver for sustainability. While 66 percent cited it as their top reason in 2013, that number fell to 42 percent in 2016. Likewise, corporate culture (or desired group identity as a sustainable enterprise) experienced a significant drop in influence, from 35 to 22 percent. So, what’s replacing cost savings and culture in the minds of today’s corporate decision makers?
While these two common reasons for solar adoption still remain important factors in decision-making, they appear less important than climate concerns and compliance with government regulations. Concerns about climate experienced a substantial uptick over the course of the study, from only 4 percent in 2013 to 15 percent in 2016. The only other factor that saw significant change was compliance with regulations, moving from 16 to 23 percent.
Another aspect of solar investment that motivates decision makers? Building resiliency - or the long-term sustainability of the investments they make in their facilities. Energy storage and backup power, along with water conservation, are frequently cited as important investments in the resiliency of corporate offices, warehouses, and other facilities.
External Benefits of Corporate Solar Adoption
The priorities of corporate decision makers clearly demonstrate their understanding of the many benefits of solar adoption, including energy savings, building resiliency, compliance with regulations, and corporate responsibility to mitigate climate change. However, there’s another major factor exerting pressure on businesses to embrace renewable energy sources: their customers.
Shelton’s research demonstrates that more consumers than ever before are including sustainability in their purchasing decisions. Millennials, poised to become the dominant market force for the next few decades, are leading this trend. While only 26 percent said that “buying and using eco-friendly products” was “an important part” of their purchasing decisions in 2013, that number has now grown to 51 percent.
That’s right, over half of customers in the leading consumer demographic want to know that they’re supporting a company that cares about sustainability and the environment. Of those consumers, 64 percent could name specific brands they support due to their commitment to sustainability. The two most important factors consumers identified? “Zero waste” and “renewable energy.” No wonder so many corporate leaders are planning to invest in renewable energy sources in the near future!
Our Commercial & Industrial Expertise
At Solar Design Studio, we’re passionate about working with commercial clients to turn their sustainability priorities into reality. From energy and cost savings to building resiliency, we understand the many reasons decision makers choose to embrace solar energy and work to maximize the impact of their investment. Our years of experience in both solar design and installation ensure the success of your sustainability initiative at every stage.
With a complete suite of commercial solar services encompassing strategic planning and market assessment, energy storage and backup power systems, project permitting, financing, and more, we’re the perfect partner.
Is your company ready to embrace the many benefits of solar energy? Contact us today!