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Please help - need approximate figures to justify a municipal solar install

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  • #16
    Originally posted by peakbagger View Post
    I find that when shifting to commercial or institutional solar installations the ownership arrangement options seem to multiply. They generally are customized to take the most advantage of the incentives in place. There can also be dishonest firms that play games usually by front loading costs into the installation cost to artificially increase the cost to take a larger up front tax credit. There also may be other state or utility credits for storage and tracking (Massachusetts are putting them in place). Thus it can become a complex financial transaction that has little to do with solar.

    There also also a moral/legal concept to discuss. Many systems are selling SREC revenue to offset the cost. Nothing wrong with that but if SRECS are sold even though there are some nice shiny new panels on the building, the power coming from the panels is not green or renewable. The green and renewable claim was sold as a SREC to someone else usually a fossil fueled power plant so they can continue putting carbon in the air instead of reducing it. Indirectly a SREC sold on the market may be keeping a coal plant running. So for a PV system to be a pure green and renewable system if there is a SREC market, the certificates should be retired rather than sold. I would speculate that the vast majority of municipal and institutional PV systems owners are quite happy to sell them and ignore the deceit. The state of Vermont was playing that game and almost got locked out of the SREC market as they were double booking renewable attributes.
    I'm sure not condoning it, but it seems to me that the idea of someone or some groups gaming the system should not come as a surprise to anyone. Hell, the way most of the whole SREC thing is run seems like a scam to me - not that it's the only one out there.