Solar at No Cost: How Power Purchase Agreements Work

Solar at No Cost: How Power Purchase Agreements Work

Mom always said, there’s no such thing as a free lunch. And most of the time, that's true. But if you own a building or land for a commercial, non-profit, faith-based or municipal entity, then you are eligible to go solar at no cost if you qualify for a Power Purchase Agreement, or PPA.

PPAs have been available in Washington DC for many years for any building owner, both residential or commercial, and are they available to commercial building owners in Maryland. Now, they are also possible in Virginia because of new legislation passed this year to help the state reach its goal of 100% clean energy by 2050.

After the VA Clean Economy Act and Solar Freedom Act passed in Virginia this spring, commercial, faith-based, municipal and non-profit customers in our entire DMV service territory are now eligible to enter into a Power Purchase Agreement to go solar at no cost. This breakthrough legislation not only clears the way for previously slated PPA projects in the state, like the Fairfax school and government initiative approved last fall, but also opens up a wealth of new money-saving (and climate-saving!) possibilities for building owners in our area.

Here’s how a PPA works:

In the simplest terms, we agree to install solar at your site at no cost to you, generate power at your site, and sell it back to you at a lower rate than the utility company will. If you have a qualifying rooftop, we will agree to design, install, own, and maintain the system. We will sell the energy to you at an agreed-upon price for a set period of time, generally about 20 years.

cost per kWh of a PPA

If you have always wanted to go solar at your business or institution, whether for environmental reasons, energy security, or the cost savings, and an upfront purchase is not a good solution, then a PPA is a great option. It’s an excellent opportunity to reach your sustainability goals and model your values without the initial investment for equipment ownership. Our Lady Queen of Peace Catholic church in Arlington, VA, went solar with us for this reason last spring; you can read more about their PPA project and its benefits here

Benefits of a PPA:

  • No capital costs: We handle the upfront costs of designing, procuring and installing the solar PV system.
  • Immediate Savings: Without any upfront investment, you can go solar and begin saving money on your utility bill as soon as the system becomes operational.
  • Reduced energy costs: Solar PPAs provide a fixed, predictable cost of electricity for the duration of the agreement.
  • Limited risk: We are responsible for the system’s maintenance, performance and operating risk.
  • Increase in property value: Solar PV systems have been shown to increase property values. The long-term nature of these agreements allow PPAs to be transferred with the property and thus provide customers a means to invest in their property at little or no cost.

Learn more about PPAs at our upcoming webinars:

  • PPAs for faith-based and non-profits organizations, June 17th 12:00 - 12:45pm.
  • PPAs for commercial business owners, June 24th, 12:00 - 12:45pm.

PPAs are available in VA, MD and Washington DC

Get in touch with us about how a PPA can help your institution or business go solar. Depending on your tax structure and your specific property, a PPA could be a great solution for your church, non-profit or business. Applications are now being accepted, so grab a recent utility bill you can share with us, and let's talk about how a PPA might work for you.

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