Smaller companies looking to buy renewable energy now have more options

first_imgSmaller companies looking to buy renewable energy now have more options FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Fast Company:It sounds like the opening line of a sustainable businesses’ nerd joke: Bloomberg, Salesforce, Gap Inc., Cox Enterprises, and Workday walked into a solar purchasing agreement together. But this is actually something that is happening: The five companies have teamed up to collectively act as the anchor tenant of a new 100-megawatt solar project in North Carolina. They’ll be able to use the shared solar to offset the energy use of some of their own operations across the country, and the purchase will help increase the share of clean energy flowing through the local grid.New renewable energy projects, like a solar farm of this scale, generally need the backing of a large company to provide both the demand for the energy and the funding. Google and Apple, for instance, have both backed large solar developments across the country in order to meet their respective goals of reaching 100% renewably powered operations.It’s often more difficult for smaller companies to fund and access smaller amounts of renewable energy. But in recent years, a handful of companies–like the five above–have teamed up to collectively purchase renewable energy. This model, called energy aggregation, lowers costs for purchasers, and allows smaller companies with more minimal energy needs to participate in the clean energy market.But most energy aggregation deals are still led by a large anchor tenant. A deal finalized last year, for instance, saw Apple finance the majority share of both a wind and solar project, under which three smaller companies–Akamai, Etsy, and Swiss Re–gained access to a few megawatts of wind and solar. The deal between Bloomberg, Cox, Workday, Gap Inc. and Salesforce is unique because each partner will split the financing and the energy supply equally. The five businesses connected with each other two years ago through an event hosted by the Rocky Mountain Institute’s business renewables center. They decided they wanted to pool resources toward the development of a renewable energy project, but how they could do so was less clear.Separate to the conversation happening between those five businesses, a Seattle-based startup, LevelTen Energy, was coming up with an answer. The company launched three years ago with the idea to develop a marketplace – “sort of like a matchmaking service,” says CEO Bryce Smith–to connect potential energy buyers with renewable projects in development across the country. LevelTen’s marketplace, which came around a year ago, is designed to help smaller companies, or those with lighter energy needs, purchase slices of renewable energy projects that fit their needs.More: Why Salesforce, Gap, Bloomberg, and others are teaming up to buy solarlast_img

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