With energy prices in the UK continuing to rise, it’s no surprise that business owners are growing increasingly concerned about the impact it will have on their future.

Over the last few years, rising costs of traditional energy sources, such as gas and oil, have had a detrimental effect on SMEs that have simultaneously been hit by the changes brought about by Brexit and the Covid-19 pandemic.

Although interest in renewable technology has grown significantly as companies become more environmentally aware, the current global energy crisis is adding greater urgency to the demand. As well as lessening dependency on fossil fuels and boosting their green credentials, there’s also scope for businesses to gain financially by embracing sustainable alternatives.

Renewable sources, such as wind and solar power, offer an effective way to keep overheads down in the face of continued hikes and unpredictability in the energy industry. Although these low carbon technologies require a financial outlay upfront, the operational costs are generally low, and the potential long-term savings make for a good return on investment.

What’s more, with many renewable technologies, any excess energy that is produced can be stored for future use or sold back into the National Grid so that businesses can earn extra income.

The government is also promoting commercial investment in clean energy, with £5 billion in funding available for UK businesses that can contribute to their target of reaching net zero emissions by 2050.

However, investing in renewable technology requires careful financial planning, especially when making large purchases overseas. Working with an FX specialist like Clear Currency can help to ensure you make effective business decisions and protect your bottom line.

Below, Clear Currency explains some of the most popular renewable energy technology that SMEs can consider to save money on energy costs.

1. Wind power

Wind power is an abundant source of clean energy that uses turbines to produce electricity. Provided your business is located in an area exposed to strong winds and there’s enough space, commercial wind turbines can be used to power your operation and eliminate its dependency on grid electric.

Wind farms are a common sight across the UK, especially in East Anglia where there has been a significant growth in onshore and offshore installations. Recently approved schemes include the Hornsea Three Offshore project and Vanguard Offshore Wind Farm, which will contribute to the government's plans to quadruple the UK’s offshore wind capacity by 2030.

2. Solar power

Solar panels are an increasingly popular way for businesses to generate energy. By utilising the roof space on commercial premises, agricultural buildings, factories and warehouses, solar panels convert the sun's rays into electricity – although the amount that can be generated is dependent on the time of day and year, as well as the location.

Eastern Daily Press: Solar panels can be installed on commercial premises, agricultural buildings, factories and warehouses to generate electricitySolar panels can be installed on commercial premises, agricultural buildings, factories and warehouses to generate electricity (Image: Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Thanks to its flat landscape and relatively sunny climate, Norfolk has one of the UK’s highest concentrations of solar installations, with a growing number of projects in the pipeline. One of the country's biggest solar energy projects, EDF Renewables’ Bloy's Grove, has recently been given the go-ahead by South Norfolk District Council and has already signed an agreement with National Rail as part of the brand's sustainability strategy for greener public transport.

3. Hydropower

Hydropower involves using a controlled flow of water, usually with a dam or barrier, to produce electricity. With a consistent supply of water, it’s one of the most reliable sources of renewable energy and allows electricity to be stored for use as and when required.

Water power installations have been gaining momentum in the UK, with major projects such as Hydrogen East recently announcing plans for a pioneering hydrogen cluster on the east coast. Small-scale hydroelectricity systems can be effective for commercial purposes and are relatively low maintenance, providing SMEs with a decent return on investment.

4. Biomass fuel

Biomass involves burning wood, plants and other organic matter such as agricultural and domestic waste to convert into fuel used for heating water and electricity. Although it does release some carbon dioxide when burned, biofuel systems are much cleaner and more energy-efficient than fossil fuels.

Eastern Daily Press: Biomass systems can help businesses to lower energy costs and reduce their carbon footprintBiomass systems can help businesses to lower energy costs and reduce their carbon footprint (Image: Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Biomass boilers and heat pumps have been a viable investment for businesses, in large part thanks to the government’s Non-domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI). Biomass systems can significantly lower utility bills, reduce carbon emissions and generate income if sold back into the grid.

How Clear Currency can help businesses investing in renewable energy technology

While market uncertainties continue to present challenges, the need for greener and more efficient energy sources is undoubtedly an important consideration for businesses.

The various geopolitical events that have led to the current market volatility have emphasised the need for businesses to adopt a cost-effective FX risk strategy when investing in renewable technology.

Clear Currency's specialists can highlight potential challenges to your business and offer guidance on ways to reduce costs when making international payments to suppliers or contractors.

Their account managers can guide you on the best FX tools to use to maximise your profits, including the use of forward contracts which let you lock in a favourable exchange rate for up to 12 months. As exchange rates can rise and fall by the second, these tools can prove to be crucial when it comes to protecting your business against adverse market movement.

With Clear Currency's online payments platform you can manage all your international money transfers in one place and get live exchange rates. We can offer competitive rates across 35 currencies - talk to one of our specialists today.

Sign up for a free account today. Clear Currency is FCA regulated and has a 5* Trustpilot rating.

For more information about making international payments, visit clearcurrency.co.uk.

Call +44 (0)20 7151 4871 or email edp@clearcurrency.co.uk for more information.