A fortuitous confluence of lower material and construction costs for solar projects and a program that requires Southern California Edison (SCE) to buy the power produced at a reasonable price makes the development of roof top solar feasible. Owners of large rooftops have a short window to participate in this program. Owners with the appropriate roofs, tax appetite and capital can invest in and own their own systems and make very high returns.
Absolutely Solar is currently working with owners of roofs that exceed 100,000 square feet, to install revenue-generating solar photovoltaic systems under SCE’s CREST feed-in-tariff program. Unlike most solar programs, CREST’s feed-in-tariff is not related to on-site electricity use. Instead, the solar photovoltaic systems are connected directly to the electrical grid, and all energy produced by the systems is sold to SCE on a fixed-price 20-year contract.
This opportunity, however, will end soon, when Power Purchase Agreements (PPA) for the remaining available capacity are signed or when the program ends by the end of this year or early in 2013.
Clearly, the opportunities available to property owners and solar developers alike will be seriously limited when the CREST program ends. However, rooftop owners who collaborate with Absolutely Solar now, to take advantage of Southern California Edison’s current program, will benefit from steady, secure cash flows under a 20-year contract.
The amount of these cash flows is determined by the property owner’s level of ownership of the photovoltaic system. For example, should the rooftop owner choose to own the system in part, he or she could participate in the system’s income stream and or/use the available tax benefits (30% immediate tax credit, plus accelerated depreciation). Alternatively, the property owner could choose to own the system in full or to simply lease the rooftop space.
Solar Power has the potential to relieve our nation’s over-dependence on unsustainable energy sources, to make a positive impact on our environment, and to create countless jobs in America. Property owners must recognize the opportunity that their open rooftop presents to not only generate significant cash flows over the next two decades, but to also make a statement in support of our country’s investment in renewable energy.