3 Questions Featured

7:00pm EDT December 26, 2008

Fred Fox, president of Fox Independent Energy LLC., founded his company in 2006 after obtaining his solar electrical approval by the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners and becoming director of the Georgia Solar Energy Association. He provides information on the benefits of solar energy along with advice on how to cost-effectively evaluate, purchase and own solar energy systems.

Q. Why should businesses invest in an alternative energy program that may cost more than their current energy bill?

There’s always an economic justification for change. Although purchasing equipment or initiating a new energy program will be more costly initially, the company will save in the long run. If the start-up cost for solar energy is $100,000, the company will actually have spent $35,000 over the course of 25 years. A good analogy is paying $40,000 for a car that costs $30,000, but you never have to buy gas for it. The purchase will be a savings.

Q. Aside from savings down the road, what benefits can a business expect to achieve with energy alternatives such as solar?

The U.S. has experienced brownouts and blackouts in the past, and that pretty much makes everything come to a screeching halt. There’s minimal — at best — production without electricity. We are no longer able to support our electricity needs with our current system. We’ve always rented electricity on a monthly basis, but solar and some other energy alternative options allow us to produce — even store — our own power. With a solar system in place, maintenance would eventually be the only cost.

Q. Changing the form of energy a business uses is a capital-intensive investment; is there an upfront incentive that lessens the blow?

When a renewable energy investment is analyzed over a full-life-cycle context, the cost of the energy per energy unit is far less than what a business will pay as energy continues to escalate over the same time span. An investment in renewable energy levels energy costs for many years in the future, allowing a business to become ever more profitable.