Question: Is it really possible for businesses to generate their own electricity? We run a bed and breakfast up north and wondered just how hard it would be to get off the grid.

Answer: Yes, it’s very possible for businesses to generate their own electricity with resources like solar panels available for rooftops — amongst other methods of renewable energy. There are plenty of businesses around the world that have managed to go off-grid — recently a hotel in Germany has been making headlines for creating their own electricity.


Just like in North America, the main goal for businesses when strategizing their energy efficiency is cost savings in Germany.

Going off-grid is trending in Germany — and it only makes sense as about 50 per cent more businesses than a year ago are opting for generating their own energy because of the really, really high electricity prices.

“Ever-higher elecitricty prices — driven in part by a 22% government-mandated levy to fund renewable-energy sources — are promoting companies large and small to invest in their own power-generation infrastructure,” reports The Wall Street Journal, “Doing so not only shields them from the government surcharge, but also makes them eligible for subsidies designed to encourage energy efficiency and so-called green electricity.”

But for the sake of this week’s episode of Ask an Expert, instead of going through the reasons and politics of going off-grid in Germany as a whole, let’s just focus on an example of a business from the accommodation’s scene.

Let’s talk about the four-star Park Hotel Post in Germany

Because of “cost-savings, energy efficiency, [and] climate protection” Park Hotel Post owner Klaus Meier is making headlines for taking his business off-grid in Germany, according to Industry Week.

After investing in a gas-fueled power-and-heat cogeneration unit a decade ago for 50,000 euros, owner Meier feels as though this investment paid for itself faster than he expected, reports CTV News.

Like many businesses and even residential homes in Germany, energy self-sufficiency is a growing trend. Meier was ahead of the game opting to go off-grid and getting his 45-room four-star family hotel fitted for the gas-fueled power-and-heat cogeneration unit ten years ago. The building is a 19th century one and energy self-sufficiency was the route Meier happily took — improving his bottom line as it resulted in cost savings.

But even in Canada we can be our own power company

While going off-grid is picking up in Germany, it’s important to note that it’s totally possible to do this here in Canada. MSN Real Estate published a great piece about households getting energy independent.

However, as this piece points out, the initial cost of installing renewable energy sources and going off-grid is expensive and for homes especially, it can take up to two decades to have your investment pay off.

Last year, Wind Power Monthly reported the trend of large, energy-intensive companies (from Walmart to BMW) were opting for generating their own electricity by investing in Wind Energy.

As an additional resource, check out A Consumer Guide to Green Power in Canada.


For businesses looking to get energy-efficient, we have incentives. If you’re curious about your energy consumption, we have a free interactive Energy Audit.



Image credit: John_Wilkinson