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Thursday, December 25, 2008

A Green Energy Business Model

I just recently heard about a new sustainable-power business model.  It would work best in areas where cost of electric power rates are in the medium to high range.  I hope it takes off. 

Customer: Warehouses, BigBox businesses, etc.  It could be any operation that consumes power (for lighting, machinery, etc) and has an open roof sprawl.

Technology: Solar panels on the roof collect cheap energy to reduce higher energy costs paid to local grid power company.  Solar power on the roof could supply approximately 20% of the electrical needs of the business.

Problem: Solar power installed on the roof would be expensive up front.  The power costs are only cheaper when amortized over decades.  It requires skilled maintenance, which is not the core competency of the business.

Solution: A third party business whose core competence is solar power purchases the equipment and maintains it.  The Big Box business signs a 20 year contract to buy all the solar power supplied from the roof by the 3rd party business.

Everybody's Happy: The Big Box business saves on energy costs.  The 3rd party power company makes money and employs people.  The citizens get cleaner power generation used in their environment.  Ubiquitous solar power will drive down cost, making it even more competitive.

I think this is the first time I've ever gotten excited about a business model.  Merry Christmas.

Burton MacKenZie



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