F.A.Q.’s

How do I know if I’m a good candidate for renewable energy systems?

Whether you are a corporation, an individual owner of real estate, a REIT that is trying to reduce operating costs through immediate energy savings and lower electric bills, a government institution or municipality that wants to combat rising budgets through a fixed cost electric rate, or even a utility company concerned with meeting renewable energy requirements, you are a great candidate for renewable energy systems!

Consider the following:

  • Do you experience high or volatile energy bills?
  • Are you paying “high-Peak” rate costs for electricity?
  • Are you faced with federal or state Clean Energy mandates?

How do I know if my building or land is appropriate for renewable energy systems?

  • For Solar Roof Mounted Systems:
We recommend a large, flat rooftop which is less than 7 years old. If the roof is older we recommend having a new roof installed, since PV systems last 25+ years. The roof itself can be comprised of any of the following: composite, tar and gravel, bitumen, cement, tile or metal. We also require a basically unobstructed view to guarantee sufficient solar exposure. We will perform a shade analysis to confirm efficiency levels of the roof for optimum solar power production.
  • For Solar Ground Mounted Systems:
We recommend a minimum of 5-10- acres for every 1 Mega Watt (MW)
  • For Parking Canopy & Overhead Walkways:
The amount of square footage varies. The shading and design analysis are the critical requirements for this type of system.
  • For Geo-Thermal:
We will evaluate the envelope of the building, HVAC equipment and set-back requirements.

What is the best way to finance a commercial renewable energy system?

There are a number of options which include:

  • Government Grants, Tax Rebates, Accelerated Depreciation and other incentives.
  • Loans secured by Property, Machinery, or Equipment.
  • Leasing.
  • Power Purchase Agreements (PPA’s).
  • Terms for loans, leasing and PPA’s will vary based upon lender relationships, size of project and credit rating of customer. SolarPower 93 will develop financial models, and assist with placement and underwriting packages, in order to maximize the customer’s Return on Investment (ROI).

How long will it take to see a positive ROI and what is the expected ROI?

Working with the experts at SolarPower93 you can expect ROI’s from 10-25% and a payback period of 5 to 11 years.

Exact payback periods and ROI will depend upon:

  • The amount of current electrical usage and future needs;
  • The size of the solar module system that can be designed for your facility;
  • The current electric rate schedule & amount of peak versus non-peak usage;
  • The total cost of the system;
  • The value of Renewable Energy Certificates (REC’s)

Are Utility rates really expected to rise significantly?


Utility Rate Cap Expiration:

Electric rates were capped as part of the passage of Pennsylvania’s Electricity Generation Customer Choice and Competition Act (Competition Act) in 1996. As part of an agreement made with electric utilities during the passage of the Competition Act, electric rates were capped at 1996 levels. Electric utilities were only required to cap rates as long as customers were paying off “stranded costs” (uneconomical investments made by the utility and approved by the Public Utility Commission prior to 1996). As these stranded costs expire, the rate caps also expire.

Recent Events:

  • Pennsylvania
    Rate caps expired in six electric service territories.
Pike County- 70% percent increase in 2006.
PPL Electric’s rate caps expired on December 31, 2009
West Penn Power, Penn Electric, Met‐Ed and PECO – will expire on December 31, 2010.
Consensus expectations are that electric rates will increase between 10‐40 percent in territories with expiring rate caps.
  • Maryland
    
Residential customers of Baltimore Gas & Electric- increased by 72 % on July 1, 2006.
  • Delaware

    Residential customers of Delmarva Power Company- increased by 59 % on May 1, 2006.

Regardless of rate cap expirations, the U.S. average annual increase in electricity prices has been 6.3% for the period 1988‐2008. In contrast, solar power can provide a hedge against increasing utility power costs by pre-purchasing energy at today’s prices, creating a fixed reduced rate for the future.

Why is it important for the environment to use renewable energy sources?

Using renewable energy sources like the sun and the heat from the ground (solar thermal) reduces the demand on existing fossil-fuel power plants which account for 70% of all electricity produced in the United States. By using clean “green” energy, you reduce the burning of hydrocarbon fuels, resulting in a reduction in overall pollutants, green house gases and CO2 emissions.

Where else can I find information about solar energy?

Associations/Councils

Resources

Solar & Geo-Thermal

Solar Maps

Performance Calculator PV Watts for Grid-Connected Systems (Solar)

Geo-Thermal News

Geo-Thermal Analysis & Modeling

Environmental Impacts

Financial Information