IL residents with Solar PV check this out
The City of Naperville, IL has put together a forward leaning Renewable Energy Program.
The program allows residents and business to voluntarilypurchase/support green energy via a $5 charge on their monthly electricbills. You can buy extra 200kwh blocks for additional $5/mth. Over 9%of eligible residents (~50k eligible) have signed on, including acouple dozen individually listed businesses.
The result is a$270,000/annual *war chest* to support renewable energy in IL viapurchase of renewable energy credits (RECs). Although only 1% of thisprogram is being used to support solar in IL (the rest supports windand small hydro), it still offers real benefits.
Naperville has offered to buy 35MWh of solar RECs for $65/MWh (a.k.a 6.5cents/kwh) which is being aggregated and administered by the Illinois Solar Energy Assn. and Community Energy Inc. Click on the ISEA link and scroll down a page to "read all about it".
Thisprogram is intended to support small solar (<10kw) from IL residentsand businesses only. 6.5cents/kwh is significant, because it comes ontop of any net metered energy savings (9-12 cents/kwh depending onutility in IL).
If a solar owner *knew* they could get thisamount for solar RECs, it would increase their "solar yield" by 50% ormore. Assuming a $9/watt installed price of solar (a.k.a $3.6/wattafter state and federal incentives) and 12cents/kwh net metering rate,a 4.9% solar yield increases to 7.3%.
A solar yield is one divided by the simple payback (in years). The more standard way of thinking
abouta REC payment of 6.5cents/kwh is that it reduces the simple payback by6 years (from just over 20 years to just under 14) given conditions inIL.
I like the solar yield terminology because it allows aperson to think about investments in solar compared to other"competing" investment options. Keep in mind that the risk of a solarinvestment is much lower than most other investments. I’m willing tobet that the sun will keep rising long after the US government hasdefaulted on its "risk-free" debt (not that I think that will happenanytime soon either).
I don’t want to blow this small programout of proportion…the offer only covers ~25kw worth of IL installedsolar, but then the program "cost" is less than $2,500. I assume thisis really a "pilot" program/offer which could in the future be adoptedstatewide…IL has an RPS of 4% renewables in 2009 increasing to 5% in2010 (mostly from wind).
Whatis PACE you ask? PACE allows property owners to borrow money from localgovernments to pay for clean energy improvements, and then the propertyowner repays the government through an increase in the property taxassesment in future years. Basically instead of going to a bank to geta loan to install your solar panels (which isn’t really practical inmany cases) and then using your savings from reduced utility bills topay off the loan–local governments in Illinois can cut out the middleman. In addition your local government can offer a lower interest rate(than the bank which doesn’t exist) because they are aggregating manysolar installs as well as their property taxing authority.
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