More Companies Choosing Wind Power Over Solar

(3BL Media/Justmeans) – Businesses looking to sign renewable energy contracts or even develop their own solar or wind projects often find themselves on a steep learning curve about borrowing money, structuring contracts and understanding the complex rules that govern the energy industry. Streamlining the supply of renewable energy can help a company to save money and time.

While Corporate America is buying more renewable power than ever before, businesses increasingly favor wind power over solar. According to Bloomberg New Energy Finance, companies such as Amazon, Microsoft, Google, Dow Chemical and 3M are now buying five times more wind than solar. Interest in solar energy too is on the rise, but at a slower rate.

For companies where energy is a key cost component, wind energy becomes a more attractive option because it is cheaper than solar. According to the American Wind Energy Association, the costs of wind power have come down by 66 percent in the last six years.

Ryan Wiser, a renewable energy market researcher at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, part of the US Department of Energy, said that the lowest price for a wind contract is around $0.02 per KWH while it is $0.03 for solar. That minor difference in price can add up to a hefty bill for heavy users of power, such as data centers that require a round-the-clock power supply.

More than half of the 4,000 MW of new wind energy contracts last year, and 3,440 MW this year, were signed by companies across industries from tech to grocery chains, according to the wind trade association and the Rocky Mountain Institute.

Amazon, for example, has signed agreements for several hundred megawatts of new wind energy that are scheduled to start delivery in 2017. Microsoft recently announced the biggest wind energy contract, at 178 MW, in its renewable energy portfolio.

Solar industry is playing catch-up with extensive construction of factories to build solar panels, most notably in China. Prices for solar contracts have reduced 63 percent over the last five years, said the solar trade association. In the 2016 ranking of top corporate solar buyers, Target gets the top spot with 147.5 MW of installed capacity, followed by Prologis, Apple, Costco and Kohl’s.

Source: The Guardian

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