The ABCs of Solar PPAs for Public Sector Entities
Dylan F. Borchers.
Bricker & Eckler.
In the past ten years, the cost of a solar panel installation has fallen by over 60 percent. As a result, onsite solar power has become an increasingly attractive way for consumers to manage electric costs and achieve sustainability goals.
Many of Bricker & Eckler’s public sector clients have been approached by solar developers over the years about signing a power purchase agreement (PPA). Developers promise to provide electricity at a fixed or reduced cost with no up-front payment, financing, construction or maintenance burdens. Is it too good to be true, they ask? Maybe not.
PPAs are a strong and viable tool when structured effectively. A PPA can enable municipalities, schools, townships and other political subdivisions to benefit from renewable energy while minimizing up-front expenditures and outsourcing operation and maintenance costs. Additionally, a PPA provides a predictable electricity cost over the term of the contract, often a period of 15-25 years. But political subdivisions need to carefully weigh all of the options and risks before moving forward.
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