Australian businesses are jumping on board the renewables boom, with almost half of the nation’s major companies making the switch to clean, affordable and reliable renewable energy, in a bid to take control of their power bills and tackle intensifying climate change says a new report released by the Climate Council.

The ‘Renewables & Business: Cutting Prices & Pollution’ report shows that the number of Australian businesses installing solar power increased by 60% over 2016 and 2017, while total business solar capacity has more than doubled since 2016.

Climate Councillor and energy expert Greg Bourne said electricity prices for small business owners had skyrocketed by almost 90% in less than 10 years, while gas prices had tripled in half that time.

“This report shows that the rising cost of energy is the number one concern for Australian businesses over the next decade, so it’s no surprise that a variety of businesses from bakeries to breweries, and tech agencies to chilli and chicken farms, are all turning to affordable renewable energy and storage solutions,” said Bourne.

“These businesses are actively investing in renewable energy in a bid to cut costs and take control of their power bills, while also playing a crucial role in transitioning the nation away from ageing, polluting and unreliable fossil fuels.”

“This is a world-wide transition, with businesses around the globe taking advantage of the investment opportunities associated with renewable energy, with 131 of the world’s largest companies on their way to being powered by 100% renewables,” said Bourne.

Key findings from the report found:

  • Electricity prices for residential and small businesses in Australia have increased between 80%-90% in just one decade.
  • Australian gas prices have tripled over the past five years.
  • Australia is experiencing a boom in renewable energy with over 5,000 megawatts (MW) of renewable energy projects under construction in 2018.
  • Business installations of solar have increased by 60% over 2016 and 2017, with over 40,000 commercial solar systems now installed in Australia.
  • 46% of major Australian companies say they are actively procuring renewable energy.
  • 80% of Australians believe big business should be using renewable energy.
  • 131 of the world’s largest companies plan to be 100% powered by renewable energy.

Climate Council Energy and Climate solutions analyst Petra Stock said businesses were naturally transitioning to renewable energy and battery storage, with wind and solar now the cheapest forms of new-build energy generation, far cheaper than a new coal power station.

“This transition is good for the pockets of business owners and good for our climate; it really is a win-win.”

“This report showcases a range of Aussie businesses that are benefiting from making the switch to solar and wind, including eight New South Wales chicken farms that are saving an astonishing $2,000 a day,” said Stock.

“It simply makes good economic sense for businesses to make the switch to clean, affordable and reliable renewable energy and battery storage. Renewables are taking care of Aussie businesses facing high electricity prices.”

“Despite the renewables rush, the Federal Government is still lagging behind. The proposed National Energy Guarantee (NEG), in its current form, is woefully inadequate when it comes to tackling climate change, and also places Australia’s business and renewables boom at risk of grinding to a halt.”