Incentives for energy-efficiency and green technologies could prove the key to saving local businesses. And though it is a bright sun shiny day in California, most of the year, the economic climate has been as bleak as can be for businesses for the past few years.
California's regulatory stronghold, its third highest crippling unemployment rate of 10.1%, its burdensome taxes, its high cost of doing business at 6% more than most states and its escalating energy costs at 33% above the national average has been recipe for a disaster.
Fortune 500 companies like Adobe, Campbell's Soup, Comcast, Ebay, Electronic Arts and others have fled California, but small businesses are hunckering down and going lights out, literally, in hopes of making it through one of the toughest and longest reccessions in US history.
California ranks 10th wost state in the union for doing business, according to Forbes 2013 Best States For Business. Pollina Corporate Real Estate rates the state dead last for business and economic development incentives. Moody's Analyst puts the Sunshine State's A1 debt rating at second worst with Illinois at the bottom.
There is, however, a rainbow on the horizon. For the next five years, Forbes forecast California's economy to expand 3.6% annually and 2% job growth. As well as an estimated $36 billion invested in past three years is expected to materialize soon.
Where then is the pot of gold at the end of this rainbow, you might ask, for California businesses. In partnership with a local utility provider, like Southern California Edison, SCE headquartered in Rosemead, qualified businesses can get the capital upgrade needed while reducing operating costs.
One program administered by SCE as "on-bill financing" offers a no-fee, 100 percent unsecured financing at zero interest rate, from $5,000 to $250,000 for the purchase and installation of approved equipment.
The key is to convert expenditures into assets by taking advantage of zero interest programs to purchase new and more efficient equipment that uses less energy.
The money saved on electricity to repay the cost of the equipment as part of the new electric bill for up to five years for businesses and 10 years for government and institutions. The approved equipment should last longer than the term.
There is light at the end of the tunnel, with today's advanced energy technologies like induction lighting that last about 25 years with minimal operating costs. With little effort, a flick of the swith to energy-efficiency could be the solution for local busiinesses to keep the lights on, save jobs, and progress toward economic recovery.