When a company or other entity considers converting to solar energy, it faces risks in these major areas:
Corporations have a fiduciary responsibility to maximize profits; any solar conversion has to make sense in terms of the company's energy costs.
Utilities and energy production is a highly regulated area; different levels of government (municipal, state and federal in the U.S.) are likely to have different structures; sustainability officers and other change agents need to be well aware of the regulatory context in which they're operating.
For example, companies open themselves up to risk regarding a range of real estate development questions when they consider building solar facilities:
Is the area in question isolated?
What is its bankability?
What is the life span of the area? In other words, is the building an old or a new building? Does it require retrofitting? Does it need to be torn down? Does the land hold long-term value? Are there options to move a system if the land needs change?
Each of these questions entails risk that needs to be weighed carefully.
When a company or other entity considers converting to solar energy it enjoys opportunities in these major areas:
Potential for cost savings on energy long-term.
Access to a more stable energy supply through having distributed sources or power.
Ability to get ahead of any future mandates regarding sustainable energy policy.
PR and marketing opportunities around its "green" posture.
Serving investor interest in sustainability.
The opportunity to make corporate citizenship a part of the company DNA.
Helping our planet as we face the emerging difficulties related to climate change.