“What now seems like a no-brainer was not such an easy decision to make back when the initial idea was brought up.”
Steffensmeier Welding & Manufacturing officially started utilizing our 430.66 kW solar array back in 2016. Today, this large array saves SWM approximately $92,000/year in electrical costs and will reduce carbon emission by 8,917 metric tons over the next 25 years.
What now seems like a no-brainer was not such an easy decision to make back when the initial idea was brought up.
“I knew solar energy was out there. I occasionally drove by houses with solar panels on the roof or would see a few panels next to a farm. But, I think because I had seen solar on a smaller scale, I never really thought of it for Steffensmeier Welding. Not to mention, I was in a very transitional stage of my life when I took on this role here at SWM. My husband was dying, I still had obligations as a mother of five children and here was this business that I now had to take over with my prior career path being a radiology technician.” – Jenny Steffensmeier, Owner of SWM
It took an education process to understand how the solar was going to work and work for SWM. Although SWM was projected to save $2.5 million over a 25-year time period from implementing the solar array; there were significant initial costs in getting the array up and running.
It took courage to make this decision for the future of SWM and the future of manufacturing. At the time, solar was a relatively new concept for the manufacturing industry.
“As the new owner and decision-maker of the company, I didn’t want to make a huge decision like this for the company without thinking it through.”
There were other manufacturing plants using solar energy, but it was not very common and it was not common for the entire plant to be run solely off of solar energy. Steffensmeier Welding & Manufacturing was one of the first fully solar-powered manufacturing and fabrication facilities of our size in the state of Iowa.
“Honestly what gave me the confidence to pull the trigger was our partnership with Ideal Energy. Troy, Amy and the Ideal team provided exceptional, genuine support throughout the entire process. I felt like they didn’t want me to make any decisions without educating me first. Their level of transparency was very evident throughout the whole process, which made me feel they were the ideal partners.”
Why Partner With a Green Company?
If you don’t have the financial means or resources to go green yourself, we encourage you to partner with companies who are making an impact in the green community. Those partnerships show your support, along with giving you an opportunity to actively take part in preservation. Below are some of the benefits of partnering with a green company.
Obviously there are environmental benefits to partnering with a green company. The amount of impact varies of course from each company, but every bit counts. Imagine how much energy and resources we could save and preserve if every company made an effort to go green in some way.
Over a 25 year time period, the solar array at SWM will reduce greenhouse gas emission by 8,937 metric tons of CO2; which is the equivalent of 229,154 trees planted and grown for 19 years, or not burning 9,599,356 pounds of coal.
Along with partnering for pure environmental reasons, you can also gain a leg up when marketing your company’s value. If your products are made in an eco-friendly way, you now have the opportunity to market them as such. SWM does not believe that should be the sole reason you should partner with an eco-friendly company but it is a nice benefit.
Another benefit from joining the green community is simply that; joining another community! I’m sure you’ve heard the saying, “it’s not what you know but who.”
“The decision to implement solar energy has done more for my business than just help cut down electrical costs. I have made so many new connections through this process. I’ve met people in the solar installation industry, other business owner’s and government leaders. This implementation was so much more than a one time project. It gave me lifelong connections and huge strides in my personal and professional growth.”
By making the decision to partner with a green business or become one yourself, you are making a stand on what’s important to you. By this choice, you have automatically influenced others by (at the very least) making them think about green energy. Whether they make green efforts or not is up to them.
Jenny’s decision to use solar gave her a voice in the political world. So much so that this past year she was awarded the Partner in Policy Award by the Iowa Environmental Council. Jenny won this award by making an effort to speak with our government leaders in regards to the net-metering policies. These policies affect business owners when it comes to their billing cycles and other financial aspects of their business.
Should You Go Solar?
Solar could give you the opportunity to benefit your business and our planet. By saving money on your electrical bills, you could put that money towards employees wages, new equipment or anything else you’ve been saving up for. We can’t say exactly how solar would affect your business, but we would encourage you to explore the option.
Below are a few resources that could help you learn more about solar energy and find out if it’s right for you:
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