In the last year, we’ve seen a lot more companies become interested in community solar, and for good reason. A couple big factors are driving corporate interest:
Corporate sustainability goals
It’s not enough for companies to say that they care about the environment anymore. Employees and customers want to see companies taking real action to reduce their environmental impacts. A recent study found that 77% of consumers are more willing to buy from companies that have corporate social responsibility (CSR) pledges, which often include environmental and sustainability goals. And consumers are increasingly savvy about greenwashing, or companies making empty promises about sustainability with no action behind them.
For companies who want to do more for our planet and their teams, community solar is a win-win.
More and more, companies are looking for ways to reduce their full, 360-degree carbon footprints. In the past year, that has expanded to include the energy their employees use while working from home.
COVID and the rise of remote work
When companies transitioned to working from home for the duration of the pandemic, energy use transitioned from the office to employees’ houses and apartments. That posed some new challenges for companies. First, some of their so-called scope 3 emissions — or the emissions indirectly related to their business, like employees’ energy usage when they’re working remotely — increased. That’s the kind of thing companies are trying to avoid as they evaluate their holistic carbon footprints.
Second, employees’ energy bills increased. As our CEO told the House Subcommittee on Energy recently, “One of the impacts of the pandemic is that employees’ utility bills have gone up while working from home instead of the office. A number of companies have asked Arcadia to help manage this cost.”
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The answer to both? Community solar
Community solar can help companies meet both goals: making progress on their CSR goals and taking care of their employees. With community solar, employees, customers, and/or building residents can enroll in a local solar farm in their area. When the solar farm generates electricity, its subscribers get credits on their power bills and their communities get more clean energy. It’s the easiest way for anyone — renters or homeowners — to get the benefits of solar power with no installation, hassle, or extra cost.
Companies partner with us to make community solar available to their employees, customers, or property residents. We track the energy and savings for employees and for the business. The company can then use that information in their sustainability reports and marketing materials.
Our partner companies all have slightly different goals for offering community solar. Companies like Just Salad and Misfits Market want to give their customers another way to reduce their waste. Others, like Biogen, want to give their employees a way to be more sustainable as the company works toward its CSR goals.
We support companies with all of these goals and more. All together, our partners have helped add 5.5 million kilowatt-hours of clean solar energy to the power grid. That’s enough to keep 4.3 million pounds of coal from being burned for electricity.
As Alexa Minerva, our senior director of partnerships, explains, “Community solar is one of the greatest benefits companies can provide, especially now that remote work will be part of our lives for the foreseeable future. It’s a direct thing they can do to help their employees or customers add more clean energy to their local power supply. And it helps relieve the energy costs of working at home. For companies who want to do more for our planet and their teams, community solar is a win-win.”