Monday, October 23, 2006

Free Solar Systems Motivate Company Installations

Photovoltaic systems are expensive and only work about a third of the time (sunlight). The systems are not purchased mostly for these reasons. Now independent companies are purchasing the systems and installing them on roofs of other companies for the steady income from long term contracts. Companies do not have to invest capital but can use part of their regular power budget to purchase solar power. AAEA President Norris McDonald helped write and pass federal legislation in 1986 for energy efficiency for federal buildings that is similar to this "solar services model."

GM is using such a a set-up on its Cucamonga, Calif parts warehouse, where half of the the electricity (1.5 million kilowatt hours) comes from solar. GM expects a 10 percent savings a year. Whole Foods Market, GE and Alcoa are also using the Solar Services Model.

Developing Energy Efficient Roof Systems (DEERS) uses private financiers to finance projects. SunEdison also installs solar systems using this system. Companies negotiate the carbon abatement credits. Federal and state credits are also available. (NYT)

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