Sacramento Solar News – Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) is always on the front page with some innovative program designed to add more solar panels for homes and businesses. They are now offering special energy rebates to boost solar for small commercial business. Traditionally Sacramento has had some of the lowest electrical rates in California but the city is not stopping there. Solar is good for our local economy and our country. We wish more of the country would sit up and take notice. Read More –
SMUD, city of Sacramento to offer energy rebates for small businesses
Sacramento Bee Rick Daysong
Sacramento, already one of the greenest cities when it comes to office space, is aiming to get greener. City officials and the Sacramento Municipal Utility District next month will roll out a new rebate program for small businesses looking to install solar panels and invest in other energy upgrades.
Funded by a $500,000 federal stimulus block grant from the U.S. Department of Energy, the program also will provide energy audits for small business hoping to lower energy costs and reduce their carbon footprints.
“There really aren’t a lot of solar programs like this targeting small businesses,” said Reina Schwartz, director of the city’s Department of General Services. Sacramento is already among the leaders in the nation when it comes to solar and green buildings.
A 2007 Bee tally found that the city had the country’s second-highest quantity of office space certified under the U.S. Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, or LEED, rating system.
But most of the city’s LEED-certified buildings are occupied by the state, and few house small manufacturers or mom and pop businesses.
Ray Kapahi, partner at GHG Climate Team LLC, a local energy efficiency consulting firm, said the potential savings for small businesses are big.
A dry cleaner, for instance, can reduce its energy usage by as much as 35 percent by installing solar retrofits, he said. Those upgrades, in turn, could pay for themselves in seven to 12 years, he said.
A big bank, meanwhile, could spend millions of dollars on solar and fulfillment upgrades but see only marginal savings since those buildings are relatively new and much more efficient than a mom-and-pop factory, he said.
“The small guys are where you are going to get your biggest bang for your buck,” said Kapahi.
Currently, SMUD offers rebates of up to $10,000 for business customers and residential customers for energy efficiency design projects.
The solar rebate program is SMUD’s first that specifically targets energy retrofits for small businesses. “We really wanted to boost the resources available to small businesses,” said the city’s Schwartz.