If you have never witnessed the installation of a solar photovoltaic (PV) system, then take a few minutes to view this time-lapse video. It’s the result of one of, if not THE FIRST, ‘community’ solar systems in the U.S. , in University Park, Maryland, just outside of Washington, DC, USA.
Several University Park homeowners whose homes are not suitable for solar PV, got together and forged a the University Park Solar partnership to purchase a 22 kilowatt (kW) system for the roof of the neighborhood Church of the Brethren using a Power Purchase Agreement, or PPA.
The 30+ system owners expect to earn back their money within 8 years or so, in part because the electricity the church and an adjoining building do not use flows back out on to the power grid and a new Maryland ‘net metering’ law enables the owners to benefit from that. The sale of Solar Renewable Energy Credits (SRECs) under Maryland’s renewable electricity requirement will help too, as will the 30% Federal investment tax credit.The church pays the owners for electricity under a long-term power purchase agreement.
So all of you homeowners who cannot go solar at home, here’s proof of how you can ‘go solar’ someplace else. Want info on how to try this in your hometown? Contact the University Park organizers, see this post on the Standard Solar blog about the 5 prerequisites to a community PPA, or email Jim Pierobon, founder of The Energy Fix at firstname.lastname@example.org.