Renewables sounds nice, but how do you pay for it?

Renewables sounds nice, but how do you pay for it?

Some businesses are lucky enough to have healthy cash reserves, but most businesses need to borrow to meet their growth and operational targets. Even if you have cash, with finance as cheap as it is, in many instances, it makes commercial sense to borrow.

Access to funding

Currently, in Australia, two renewable energy schemes encourage investment in renewable energy. They are the Large-Scale Renewable Energy Target (LSRET) and the Small-Sale Renewable Energy Scheme (SSRES). The LSRET creates a financial incentive for the establishment and growth of renewable energy power stations – so not relevant to the vast majority of businesses, while the SSRES creates a financial incentive for individuals and small businesses to install small-scale renewable energy systems such as solar panels.

Another means of finance comes from the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) which partners with banks and institutes to help fund clean energy. CEFC is an independent statutory authority with access to $10 billion in capital to invest in clean energy, acting as a catalyst to increase investment into emission reduction. Other organisations contributing to the renewable future include Verdia, Classic Funding Group and Juice Capital.

Green and clean energy is more than just a fad; and given the finite amount of coal and other non-renewables, it will be the only option in the future.

“By the time my kids are grown, green energy will be ubiquitous, just as the mobile phone is today. When I was a child, I never would have thought of using my phone to watch TV or order groceries or FaceTime my family in the UK. I see a time in the not so distant future, where our commercial buildings, homes, cars, educational facilities, playgrounds etc. will be energy providers, not energy users,” said Robert.

“The transition to renewables is inevitable. But as part of any CSR initiative, there’s no better way to demonstrate your business’ commitment to sustainability than green energy. And even taking into consideration the cost of installation, in some circumstances you could even be cost neutral.”

According to Robert, another essential selection criterion is to find a consultant who knows your industry.  See last week’s post for Robert’s top five checklist.

“It’s critical that your advisor understands the operating environment, regulation and challenges of your business. The energy needs of a school are vastly different to that of a hospital or a manufacturer,” said Robert. “Advice could have a design life of 10, 20 or 30 years, so knowing your client’s industry and circumstances helps future-proof and right-size the design.”

Case Study – Footprints Childcare, Brisbane

Footprints Child Care Centre in Brisbane’s south was looking to lower energy costs. Why?

“I spoke to the owner about a number of options, one of which was clean energy funding. Based on their circumstances, this option had the ability to be net positive from year one – with no capital required,” said Robert.

The business entered into a five-year solar lease arrangement with Classic Funding Group using high quality products with qualified installers. Installed in 2017, the system included a monitoring tool showing live energy data.

“The monitoring shows the owner the amount of ‘free’ energy generated in real time,” said Robert. “It’s also a fantastic tool to educate young children on the benefits of renewables from a very early age.”


Renewables is no longer just for mega-businesses or government departments. It has application and makes commercial sense across the SME sector.

In his final article, Robert comments on the future of renewables and its ubiquitous future - from bus stops to shopping centres. 

About Robert Saunders:

Robert is a Building Services and Energy Engineer with experience in all fields of heating, ventilation and air-conditioning for commercial and industrial applications. Robert’s passion is renewables. He combines technical expertise with proven skills in project management, problem-solving and system design solutions to ensure the best possible outcome for his clients. Robert holds a Bachelor of Engineering (Hons), Energy Engineering from London South Bank University, a BTEC National Certificate, Building Services Engineering; a BTEC National Diploma, Business and Finance. Robert is also a member of the Chartered Institute of Building Services Engineers (CIBSE) – UK, a Member of the Australian Institute of Refrigeration, Air Conditioning and Heating (AIRAH); an RPEQ in Queensland; a Registered Engineer Practitioner in the Northern Territory and a Member of Engineers Australia.

Robert is married with two beautiful girls aged 13 and 10. In his spare time, he collects signatures of the famous and infamous. His most prized signature is that of Edmond Becquerel (1820 – 1891), the pioneer of the photovoltaic effect.

Robert.saunders@calibregroup.com or 0416 029 160


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