Solar is energy of choice for businesses going 100% renewable
Solar PV is the most popular form of renewable energy among businesses while biomass generation offers the best return on investment, according to a new report from The Carbon Group and CDP.
The report, The journey to 100%, was launched yesterday (19 January) in relation to the RE100 group - a global campaign group made up of 15 corporate giants that are together encouraging other companies to use power exclusively from renewable energy sources.
The report finds that solar PV is the most popular renewable technology across all sectors thanks to ease of installation and application, with many companies putting panels in places where it is immediately visible to colleagues and customers to showcase their commitment to renewable power.
But solar PV is not just a vanity option, with capacity set to double in the US within the next two years, offsetting 40m tonnes of CO2.
Swedish retailer Ikea is one of the 15 RE100 signatories to take advantage of the falling price of solar generation, having installed 550,000 panels on its stores in nine countries.
Ikea chief sustainability officer Steve Howard said: "Investing in renewable energy is good for business, the economy and the planet. That's why we've committed to match 100% of our energy use with our own renewable energy generation by 2020 and have allocated €1.5bn to take us closer to this goal.
"Every business can benefit from making the switch to clean, abundant energy and RE100 is a call to action to accelerate this transition."
Despite the popularity of solar PV, the RE100 report suggests that biomass energy - which produces heat and power for industrial processes - could be a better investment.
For example, RE100 member Mars operates several around the globe treating wastewater anaerobically, which produces biogas. The biogas is then used to fuel boilers and heat water. This approach prevents methane from being released into the atmosphere, in addition to reducing consumption of fossil-fuel derived natural gas by approximately 3%.
In total 15 companies have joined Mars and Ikea in publically targeting 100% renewable energy, including Nestle, BT, H&M and Philips.