Go off the grid with offsite renewable energy solutions

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Alternative energy is a hot topic these days. But did you know that you don’t necessarily need to produce renewable energy onsite to take advantage of the benefits? JLL’s Lauren McAdam explains what your options are for offsite renewable energy – and what you need to know when evaluating your opportunities. 

It’s no secret that renewable energy alternatives present attractive new options for commercial and industrial real estate owners and occupiers. But the reality is that most commercial and industrial (C&I) organizations can’t achieve their sustainability goals such as carbon reduction and energy savings solely through onsite renewable energy solutions – site size limitations, site intrusion, operational interruptions, contract commitment lengths, and other factors all can limit the opportunities.

Many large companies are increasingly looking to offsite renewable energy solutions as an alternative way to achieve their sustainability goals– and approximately 75% of S&P 500 companies have some form of sustainability goals.

What do I need to know about offsite renewable energy solutions?

Offsite, large-scale renewable energy projects have traditionally been built to serve utilities to meet their state-mandated Renewable Portfolio Standard (“RPS” is the % of power from renewables).

As the utilities have neared their RPS requirements, developers are now looking for new renewable power buyers in the C&I space.  As a result, developers are increasingly offering energy at a lower cost than energy purchased from the grid in many markets – which means that offsite renewable energy solutions have never been more affordable, especially for C&I organizations.

How can my business participate in an offsite renewable energy program?

There are several ways an entity can participate in offsite renewable energy programs:

  • Direct Access Service allows customers to purchase electricity and additional energy services from a competitive Energy Service Provider (“ESP”), rather than the local Utility
  • Virtual Power Purchase Agreements, Contract for Differences, and utility green tariffs are other ways customers can benefit from renewable energy generating assets located offsite

Where should I start when choosing the right offsite renewable energy program for my business?

Defining your specific needs is the first step. What are your energy management objectives? What sustainability goals are you trying to achieve?

Once you’ve defined your overarching goals for your offsite renewable program, understanding your options is the crucial next step. Check back on Thursday for a follow-up post to explore why direct access service may be the right option for your business.

To learn more about your renewable energy options, contact JLL’s Alternative Energy Services team: Kyle Goehring, Steve Yatsko, Lauren McAdam, and Todd Taniguchi.


Lauren McAdam is a Project Manager for JLL’s Alternative Energy Services (AES) group. In this role, Lauren supports alternative energy projects by distilling data and reports into customer-centric materials, identifying project feasibility and potential savings, and curating the relationship between AES and our business partners and clients during RFP preparation and project implementation. Lauren is a LEED Green Associate.  

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