For the past few years those of us in the solar industry in Tennessee (make that all of TVA’s area) have been trying to figure out how to provide third party financing for the solar systems that we install. With few incentives it has been frankly…. impossible.
Until now….We finally cracked the code! At Simple Energy Works we have partnered with Solar Smart Inc. in order to be able to offer 50kW solar systems at no cost PERIOD.
This is a brand new financing model that works great for businesses, municipalities, Non-Profits, Property Owners Associations, school boards, even homeowners. We already have the money in hand and are starting to install these 50kW PV systems.
It works like this: The 50 kW PV system is owned by Solar Smart Inc and installed by Simple Energy Works on your property or rooftop. This property is leased from you by Solar Smart for 20 years (think of leasing a cell tower on your land). You will receive $1000 to initially install this system, then annually you will receive a portion of the electricity that is produced by the system (about $.02/kWh)- it normally works out to be around $1000 per year or so.
So, you have no up front costs, you have initial income and annual income from the PV system, and then you have the option of purchasing the PV system (at radically reduced rates) at 10 years/15 years/20 years.
At the end of the lease term you can purchase the system for a dramatically reduced rate (10% of installed cost), or we will simply remove it.
This opportunity may not work for everyone, because there are a few things that are required. You need unshaded area of about 10,000 sq feet of open ground ( about 1/4 acre) or on a structurally sound roof. You also may only have one PV system per address and per electrical meter.
There is no capitol costs to you as the host at all. You get a PV system on your land (or roof), and it even starts to bring in a little income. All of the electricity that the system produces will be sold to TVA in the Generation Partner Program, and the bulk of the financial return will go to the owner of the system to pay off the initial cost of installing and maintaining the system.
Some utilities require 3 phase power to be available (ie VEC), but others allow these systems to be connected directly to your regular house electrical meter.
Remember: TVA has made it increasingly difficult to make money with solar systems. They have twice simply stepped in and changed their Generation Partner Program.
Initially the Generation Partner program allowed systems up to 1 megawatt (1000 kilowatts). Now that is a pretty big system, it is large enough for investors to gather around and start to pool their money to see if they can make a profit.
TVA saw that investors would flock to those large systems so they announced that the program only will pay for systems under 200kW (a decrease of 4/5ths or 80%). That should solve the problem.
Investors were still interested in installing the 200kW systems (especially as these coincided with the 30% 1603 Treasury grant). Many of these systems were installed but TVA acted quickly and put a new limit on the size of a system- 50kW (a decrease of 3/4 or 75% more). So today the current size of any system that can be in the TVA Generation Partner Program is 50kW.
It’s kind of a cat and mouse game with TVA. They want to incentivize certain small solar systems, but they don’t want people to be able to make money off of the solar systems. So here’s your chance ….. don’t wait too long. TVA never does.