School Pays Zero Down for Large-Scale Solar Projects
Thomas College is excited about the large solar array installed on their campus by ReVision Energy at zero upfront cost. The system is financed through a power purchase agreements (PPA), which enable schools and non-profits to acquire solar energy systems at a fraction of the normal cost. In Waterville, Thomas College is getting 700 panels installed and is the largest solar electric installation in the state of Maine.
The funding process to make this project a reality has taken years to develop, and has been helped by the dramatically declining costs of photovoltaic panels. Projects of this scale are common in California, Colorado, New York, and Massachusetts, but until now have been uncommon in Maine, where there is no effective SREC (Solar Renewable Energy Credit) market.
Non-profits are ineligible for most of the incentives available to homeowners and businesses - those include a 30% federal tax credits and rebates of up to $2,000 for homes and $4,000 for businesses.
Most residential solar electric arrays consist of anywhere from 10-30 panels. So what do you do with 700? Project Manager Brian Byrne talks about his approach to Thomas College: "It seems big at first, but when you start breaking it down to a bunch of smaller projects, it's the same thing that we do every day," Brian says, "It all goes up one panel at a time!"