Why the Triple Bottom Line of Solar Energy Makes Sense Now More Than Ever

Positive news is brewing in corporate America and we all could use some right about now. Here it is: A growing number of corporations are moving beyond the traditional, singular focus on driving shareholder value to implementing the framework of the triple bottom line—people, profit and planet—into their strategies. The goal of this approach is to make a positive impact on society and the environment as well as financial performance.

Kind of like having your cake and eating it with everyone else.

If there’s one industry in perfect alignment with the triple bottom line, it’s the solar industry. Solar power is renewable, improves air quality and supports public health by removing carbon emissions, and reduced energy costs. Benefits like this have universal appeal and are becoming hard to pass up.

Well-known American corporations agree. Retailers like Target, Walmart, Kohls, Costco, and Ikea have embraced solar in a big way as have other corporations such as Apple, Intel, Extra Space Storage, Prologis, and GM. Solar power reduces energy expenses, while creating clean, green operations, which in turn aligns with what’s important to customers. More on Target’s commitment to solar here.

Solential customer Bill Boncosky, CEO of Indianapolis-based Art to Remember, made a conscious decision to move to solar when he built his company’s new headquarters. He captures the triple bottom line power of solar perfectly with this comment:

“Going solar represents an investment in the environment and our community. For me, it was the right thing to do. For many of our teammates, our solar system is a big source of pride. In fact, it’s become a great way to attract talent. Many people are attracted to a company and culture that values sustainable energy.”

Major power companies are also onboard with the triple bottom line of solar energy. On May 29, Duke Energy Florida, part of publicly traded Duke Energy (NYSE: DUK), announced three new solar power plants, completing a 700-megawatt generating commitment made to customers in the Sunshine State. When completed in late 2021, Duke Energy Florida’s power plants will eliminate nearly 3 billion pounds of carbon dioxide emissions each year, a major step in improving the state’s air quality and potentially, its public health.

The plants will also dramatically reduce the price of electricity for Florida residential customers. In 2020, the national average retail electricity price per kWh is 13.31 cents per a single kilowatt hour. In Florida, the cost is 11.37 cents.

Here’s a summary of the three new solar plants. Note the impact on the cost to customers:

  • The Duette Solar Power Plant in Manatee County will generate 74.5-megawatts (MW) annually, enough to power approximately 23,000 homes at peak production. The estimated cost will be 4.2 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh) for a typical residential customer.
  • The Charlie Creek Solar Power Plant in Hardee County will generate 74.9-MW annually, will capable of producing enough electricity to power about 23,000 homes at peak production annually. The estimated cost will be 3.9 cents per kWh hour for a typical residential customer.
  • The Archer Solar Power Plant in Alachua County will also generate 74.9-megawatts (MW) annually, powering approximately 23,000 homes at peak production. The estimated cost will be 3.2 cents per kWh for a typical residential customer.

Duke Energy Florida is serious about solar power. It’s investing an estimated $1 billion to construct or acquire a total of 700 MW of solar power facilities from 2018 through 2022 in Florida and is planning to reach a total of almost 1,700 MW of solar generation over the next 10 years. Duke Energy Florida is also encouraging others to invest in renewable energy within the state.

       Corey Miller, Solential

As America emerges from the coronavirus pandemic, there is no better time for businesses, cities, nonprofits, and farms to adopt solar power and achieve the triple bottom line benefits it delivers to everyone: renewable energy, improved air quality and lower costs. Solential will work with you on your strategy, including identifying attractive upfront financing and even grants. Contact Corey Miller at cmiller@solential.com or text/call 317-627-4530.