Small businesses probably have no better way to get reliable and affordable energy than from installing their own on-site generating equipment. These “micropower” technologies are small, modular devices that generate electric power on a relatively small scale and that are designed to produce power close to where it is actually used. Some examples:
Microturbines the size of a refrigerator that generate 30 kilowatts of electricity, enough to power nearly any small business.
Solar water heaters are particularly suitable for small businesses that use a lot of hot water, such as cafeterias and laundries.
Fuel cells, solar photovoltaics, small wind, micro-freeflow hydropower power and small natural gas/biogas turbines.
What’s more, there’s a distinct affinity that links micropower with small business. By definition, micropower is decentralized; so is small business. Therefore, micropower fits small business like a glove. An added attraction: small business owners can exercise this option on their own; they don’t have to get the government or the utilities to act. Such technologies often make more economic sense for small firms than for big ones or for homeowners. Below is a case study of a small business that is revolutionizing the use of micropower.
Size: 96 employees
Mission: To enhance the lifestyle of those in the global community who still do not have access to conventional power through the development and distribution of low cost, reliable, renewable energy technologies for lighting, communication and education. For those with conventional power, the mission is to reduce the world’s dependence on often unstable and polluting fossil fuels, while at the same time, building a profitable enterprise that offers financial security to its shareholders and those employed.