While many large corporations are adapting their business models to assist the move towards a net-zero future, it’s harder for SMEs to go green. Dynamic Business sits down with the Co-founder of Smart Energy, Jasper Boyschau, to discuss how SMEs can reduce their emissions using solar energy.
We start with a definition of the term net-zero: “This refers to the balance between the amount of CO2 produced by humans versus the amount that is removed from the atmosphere,” Jasper explains. “Achieving this doesn’t mean cutting all emissions; we can still produce some as long as they are offset. For example, rapidly phasing out fossil fuels such as gas, coal, and oil, and instead transitioning to renewable energy.”
The benefits of solar energy
Jasper argues there is a strong business case for SMEs to switch to solar energy.
“For small businesses, every cent matters and solar is something that has the potential to shed thousands off bills each year. In some cases, we have seen solar users see up to $2,000 in savings in just one calendar year. Solar also offers SMEs an opportunity to lock in their energy prices for the future at no upfront cost, providing businesses with more affordable energy.
“SMEs will require Government support in their efforts which is something that many other countries have come to realise over the years,” says Jasper, “For example, the UK has given their SMEs increased knowledge of energy consumption with smart metering and other high-tech devices which help them keep track of their energy usage and act accordingly.
“In the meantime, for SMEs who own their workspace, making the switch to solar is a great first step which will reduce energy costs all while promoting a green work environment.”
Jobs, jobs, jobs
Clean energy is already creating jobs and will continue to do so as Australia moves away from fossil fuels and makes that transition into renewable energy.
“In just four and a half years, we have seen the demand for renewable energy grow so rapidly that Smart Energy was able to create 1,000 jobs for both Aussies living in metropolitan and regional areas.
“Solar and wind installation, maintenance of solar and wind farms along with renewable energy storage have already proven to be an ongoing source of jobs for the nation. Although these jobs will require training, it is a great opportunity for those looking for work or to transition from coal mines.”
More government support required
The urgent need to move toward becoming net zero was acknowledged in the recent federal budget.
“The budget announcement was a step in the right direction with $1.8 billion being assigned to energy and emissions reduction initiatives which will ultimately bring us closer to the net-zero goal,” says Jasper. “However, with much of the funding being dedicated to a gas-led recovery, there was definitely a missed opportunity when it came to the rooftop solar PV sector.
“Solar energy has been booming in the past few years. In February alone Smart Energy saw record weeks bringing in 410 solar installations and sales. Solar will play a major role in getting Australia to net zero and if this is recognised in future budget announcements, there is hope that the 2050 goal will be achieved.”
When asked about a realistic timeframe for Australia to become carbon neutral, Jasper replies: “Australia is lucky to have such a high amount of renewable energy opportunities including solar PV, geothermal, wave and solar thermal energy, wind power, hydroelectricity and heat pumps. Alongside this, the country’s desire to make the switch to renewables makes it is entirely feasible that we can be carbon neutral by 2050.”