Even Small Businesses Benefit From Solar Energy
November 17, 2016

There are more than 28 million small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) in the U.S., representing more than 99 percent of the companies in the country. And while SMBs make up the backbone of the American economy, very few have been able to benefit from solar power affordably.

One of the hurdles SMBs must overcome has been solar financing: SMB owners don’t have access to the bond market and investment ratings as do corporations, and unlike homeowners, they don’t have access to a FICO credit score. Essentially, SMBs have fallen through the cracks in the system when it comes to multi-year solar financing.

For these reasons SMBs have been under-served by the solar industry. Just imagine the potential.

This is why SDC Energy has focused primarily on offering small to medium commercial solar development and financing services. We understand that helping small businesses and nonprofits improve cash flows by locking in lower costs of energy and adding value to their organizations is a winning proposition within this segment.

“Small business owners and non-profits are constantly considering ways to improve their bottom line. Combining cost-effective solar technologies and innovative financing mechanisms, SDC Energy is bringing solar to many small business in California and Hawaii,” explains Charles Schaffer, President of SDC Energy.

IAM Local Lodge 1979, Honolulu Project Highlights:
• Capacity: 11.5 kW DC
• Annual Production: 21,600 kWh/Year
• Number of Panels: 46
• Panel Type: Canadian Solar CS6P-250P
• Inverter Type: SolarEdge with panel optimizers
• Mounting: Fixed tilt roof mount

Like many of our clients, the Local Lodge 1979 of the International Association of Machinist and Aerospace Workers (IAM) in Honolulu was motivated by reducing its operating costs and its dependency on its utility company. SDC Energy financed a system that would produce over 90% of the building’s electrical need, saving money and avoiding the fluctuating rates from Hawaiian Electric.

With these benefits in hand, IAM Secretary Treasurer Gerald Liu was confident that installing solar would resonate strongly with the union’s members. Installed in December of 2014 and commissioned a few months later in March of 2015, the 11.5kW system is off-setting the majority of the union’s electricity.

Although this is a small system IAM can be proud of its contributions to the environment: The 21,600 kWh produced over the past twelve months is equivalent to reducing CO2 emissions emitted from burning 16,198 pounds of coal, or avoiding greenhouse gas emissions in driving 36,381 miles in a passenger vehicle every year. (Data obtained from EPA’s greenhouse gas equivalencies calculator).

We were excited about the idea of paying less to Hawaiian Electric while producing pure, clean, renewable solar energy. SDC Energy was instrumental in helping us avoid rising utility expenses and save immediately with solar power,” says Gerald Liu, Secretary Treasurer of IAM & AW Local Lodge 1979.

Since 1888, IAM has become one of the largest and most diverse labor unions in North America, with nearly 700,000 active and retired members in aerospace, transportation, the federal government, automotive, defense, woodworking and several other industries.

The Local Lodge 1979 has made an impact in the lives of aviation workers in Honolulu. Chartered in 1950 by United Airline employees, the Lodge now advocates for its members employed by companies including Hawaiian Airline, Alaskan Airlines and Air Canada.

Through the years, IAM and its members have been able to bargain for increased job security, higher wages and improved benefits, demanding respect and dignity in the workplace. Now with clean, renewable solar energy, IAM members in Hawaii can extend this respect to their environment as well.