Recent advancements in technology and the birth of entirely new industries have shifted the way business is done across the globe. With so many new sectors in the limelight, how are traditional industries making themselves new again and ensuing they remain relevant in the 21st century? The energy industry is one such traditional space which has long been considered a stable, possibly slightly stale, area to conduct business. It has historically been monopolized by utility companies, but due to a number of factors the space has been trending towards democratization in recent years. Increasing technological advancements in renewables, changing consumer preferences, decentralization of resources and regulatory changes have all caused a shift in how businesses operate within the space and are fueling the inspiration for energy leaders to modernize the way they do business. The ingredients for lasting change are there, and innovative companies who are willing to take a leap of faith will undoubtedly find success as they lead the industry into the future.

Expanding Access to Renewables Nationwide

Clean energy sources have been making up the majority of new capacity additions over the last decade, with wind and solar leading the way. Recently, technological advancements specifically in solar energy have made significant strides, helping to reduce costs.

Innovative companies are entering the market in order to remove the need for developers to bear the costs of building sales, marketing and billing organizations and allowing them to focus on what they do best – financing, building, and operating solar power plants. Thus, affordable renewable energy should no longer be restricted to corporations, as the market conditions are there for it to become a widespread reality. 

These renewable sources are spread all over the United States, produce energy on a smaller scale and allow for local energy distribution, which offers numerous advantages and benefits. This decentralized energy distribution structure can be more reliable and more predictable than massive energy producing plants that are prone to transmission failures. Shorter distances from energy generation to the eventual end consumer reduces transmission costs, as well as wear and tear on the grid. The increasing competition in the energy space and the decreasing size of renewable power plants continues to drive prices lower, increase efficiency and innovation, and support the creation of more local jobs, allowing the development of the local economies.

Consumers Take Control of their Carbon Footprint

Customers have gotten used to simple and easy-to-use solutions like Amazon and Uber in every part of their lives, yet the energy industry hasn’t experienced much innovation and options remain archaic. Programs like Community Solar are here to change that by saving consumers money every month as well as encouraging the use of renewable energy throughout the U.S., all supported with online platforms and modern marketing techniques. It will be crucial to continue to empower consumers to take control of their energy costs, consumption and environmental impact through innovation and a modern tech-based approach that is accessible to all in order to increase interest in the renewable space.

Additionally, the climate is changing and the effects are there for everyone to see and people are looking for ways they can get directly involved in being part of the solution. Historically, switching to renewable sources for individuals was a premium option, difficult to do and something which would increase the cost of monthly energy consumption. Now, with the widespread availability of renewable sources and technologies that are more cost efficient, consumers have a viable – and in some cases more affordable – option with programs like Community Solar, Virtual Net Metering and others offering guaranteed discounts with the use of green energy. The end consumer now has a real, actionable way to reduce their carbon footprint by supporting lower-cost renewable energy.

Community Solar Powers Consumer Choice

While the U.S. as a whole doesn’t have an overarching clean energy plan, individual states have set various aggressive renewable energy goals. For instance, New York State put a law in place that will require for 100% of the State’s energy to come from renewable sources by 2040. The only way for this mandate to become a reality is if renewable energy truly becomes mainstream. Thus, states are putting in place and funding programs that will help them reach their renewable energy goals.

As previously mentioned, Community Solar is one program states are deploying in order to ensure wider use of renewables. A program that is disrupting the world of alternative renewable energy, Community Solar breaks the reliance of renewable developers on the large energy-consuming corporations such as factories and manufacturers. The program allows, and in some cases even requires, for the residential consumer and small businesses to participate. This shift in the addressable population enables the developers to reach the masses and also allows residential dwellers – renters and owners alike – access to renewable sources of energy they were previously barred from.

This expansion of access has a significant impact – a large percentage of the U.S. population who live in shaded areas, don’t have room on their roofs, are not allowed to install their own panels and many others could not previously connect to solar energy and now have that ability. Such programs make affordable renewable energy accessible to everyone and share the wealth with the end consumer in the form of guaranteed savings. This is especially relevant in times when the economic conditions are uncertain and people need to do whatever they can to save on bills, something many people have recently been experiencing throughout this global crisis.

Looking to the Future

Through programs like Community Solar everyone is able to enjoy the benefits of renewable energy, including consumers (renters and homeowners alike), businesses, developers, and governmental entities. The infrastructure, technology, and government support that has been put in place democratizes and positions the renewable energy industry for long term success. It is now in the hands of innovative companies looking to modernize the industry to ensure that success is reached and shared by all. Renewable energy is the future, and will undoubtedly make a lasting positive impact on both our society and the environment. Now that green energy is more accessible than ever, it is our duty to embrace it and do our part.

Aviv Shalgi is a serial entrepreneur, and is the CEO of an energy tech startup, Solar Simplified. His military background, engineering career, and consulting experience have allowed Aviv to become a well-rounded business leader. As an innovator, Aviv has always been focused on positive disruption in industries where there are opportunities to solve fundamental problems. This is what drew him to Solar Simplified, where he strives to make affordable renewable energy accessible to everyone, while providing consumers with guaranteed savings and making the process simple and transparent for consumers, solar developers and regulators. 

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.