Models are evolving for utility-scale solar development.
Kate Bechen is an attorney and member of the energy and sustainability industry group at Michael Best & Friedrich LLP. Email her at email@example.com.
Each year U.S. demand for solar energy increases, even during the recent recession. Demand comes from all sectors: residential markets, driven by residential users’ interest in going green and the availability of residential tax credits; as well as commercial-scale and utility-scale green energy programs.
The residential market is expected to continue increasing, especially as new financing models become more common. For example, leases and power purchase agreements allow residential consumers to consume solar energy without the large up-front costs associated with installing a solar array. Obviously, this type of financing model requires the residential consumer’s utility to offer such options, but some markets are seeing demand for such arrangements. Further, technological development in the portability of solar arrays would allow homeowners to move their PV panels with them to a new home when relocating. This would give owners greater confidence that they’d be able to gain the full value from their investments, even if they sell their home to a buyer who doesn’t value solar energy as highly as they do.