An emerging model for green power.
Stephen B. Pearlman and Ryan J. Scerbo are partners with the law firm of DeCotiis, FitzPatrick & Cole, LLP.
Certain New Jersey counties have undertaken a regional, public-private partnership approach to developing renewable energy projects for local government buildings. Local governments generally include municipalities, school districts, counties, and municipal or county or other regional sewerage or water utilities, depending on applicable state law. The regional renewable energy pilot program for Morris County, New Jersey is nearing its implementation phase, with proposals having been submitted by the end of November 2009, while several other New Jersey counties are actively pursuing similar endeavors (e.g., Passaic, Somerset and Union), and it is possible that the program could expand state-wide. It is also conceivable that, under certain circumstances, the program could be modeled in other states. This form of county regional hybrid program presents significant opportunities for the electric utility industry.
Local governments desiring to finance renewable energy projects, for example the installation of a roof-mounted solar array and inverter system to supply a portion of the electricity for a government building, have in the past in New Jersey utilized one of two primary transaction structures, the local government-owned option and the turnkey solar developer-owned option. These financing structures are utilized in other parts of the United States.