“Solar makes good business sense in today’s energy environment,” says Linda McGinty, the Vice President of Real Estate for the Luther Automotive Group in Minnesota. 

The fact of the matter is that Ms. McGinty is absolutely right. Solar energy reduces your overhead costs, saving your business money on the back end. But savings are not the only way that solar power increases your auto dealership’s bottom line. Solar energy can actually assist in preserving the integrity of your assets, increase the value of your real estate, and even help to boost sales. 

The bottom line: solar energy increases your bottom line coming and going. 

Solar Reduces Operational Costs 

Lean and mean – that’s the operational business mantra in this post-recession world that we live in. Lean staffing, conservative spending, and an eye on controllable costs is the new normal. 

In 2017, the auto dealership industry spent more than $2 billion on energy costs nationwide – the third largest business expense overall. Making matters worse: energy costs are expected to rise an additional five percent this year! So how are auto dealers supposed to reduce energy costs?  

Solar Power. 

Utilizing sunlight helps bring cost certainty while also reducing (or even eliminating) the amount of energy purchased from traditional power companies. 

Lower your utility bills and raise your bottom line with solar power. 

Solar Provides Asset Preservation 

Inventory is the number one cost for every car dealership. Think about it: even just 100 mid-sized cars on the lot represents roughly $2 million dollars spent. New cars do not necessarily depreciate in value while sitting on a lot (until the model year ends), but that doesn’t mean those very expensive assets aren’t in danger. 

Weather can wreak havoc on vehicles. As most inventory is kept outside, save for the select cars displayed in the showroom, all those expensive vehicles are at the mercy of the elements. Hail, for instance, can cause significant damage to an exposed vehicle. Imagine sitting inside and watching all your new car inventory being pelted by hail. How could solar power possibly help to protect your inventory?  

Carports. 

The primary function of these structures is to absorb more of the sun’s rays, but a secondary function is to protect vehicle inventory. Carports can protect outdoor vehicles from hail, debris, and even lightning strikes. 

Avoiding costly vehicle repairs helps to keep your bottom in place. 

Solar Increases Property Value 

Just like your vehicle inventory is an asset, so too is your facility. In fact, it’s the largest single asset your business has. So if you could increase the value of your largest asset, wouldn’t you want to do so? 

Solar power systems increase property values. 

By most estimations, the increase in property value from installing a solar power system is 3-4%! Such an increase in property value can help your business in a number of ways, including mortgage refinancing and adding value to an eventual sale of the business or property. 

Increasing your property value is a long-term boost to your bottom line. 

Solar Boosts Brand Image 

At the end of the day, running an auto dealership is about moving inventory (read: selling cars). To do so, you need a desirable product, a salesman, and a brand name that a customer is willing to trust. You stand behind your products, so there’s not much more you can do, right? 

Customers are environmentally conscious. 

As documented in the 2017 Cone Communications CRS Study, more and more customers are becoming selective about which companies they purchase from, considering more social and environmental factors than ever before. In 2013, 71% of Americans reported that they considered the environment when they made a purchase, up from 66% in 2008. Additionally, 45% of consumers report that they actively seek out environmental information about the products they buy and the businesses they buy from. 

Your customers are doing their homework. So what are they doing with all of that research? 

At the very least, it is affecting purchasing decisions. 87% of consumers claim that they’ll more strongly consider a business that advocated for an issue that they care about. Taken a step further, 75% of consumers state that they would refuse to purchase from a business that is opposed to one of their beliefs. 

With each passing day, more and more people are buying into renewable energies – the need to reduce fossil fuel consumption, the sustainability of green energies, limiting carbon footprints – and those same people are your potential customers. An investment into solar energy is a statement that your business cares about the environment, and will serve as a homing beacon for all of those who think that’s a cause worth supporting. 

Solar Energy Increases Your Bottom Line Coming and Going 

“Customers are choosing us over the competitors because we are demonstrating our concern for the community and environment by going solar,” says ted Christiano, the General Manager from Boulder Nissan in Boulder, CO. 

Business, once a community-related endeavor, went global some time ago. But now, we’re seeing a bit of a renaissance. Consumers are becoming more community-conscious. They want to keep their money local and they want to support the businesses that share the same values that they do. Making the strategic decision to buy into solar energy helps the financial stability of your business and also boosts your brand recognition in the community. 

In other words, solar energy is truly a win-win choice for your auto dealership. 

Download the 5 Ways Solar Power Puts Auto Dealers in the Driver's Seat