A new, inspired method of both promoting and providing solar power at minimum cost comes from SunEdison, subsidiary of MEMC. This new company policy enables the customer to have sun panels installed at zero cost, as long as they agree to pay for the power produced and used.
The great “catch” that makes this system irresistible for most CFOs resides in the financial form attributed to the process. The payment that the beneficiary companies make to SunEdison can be translated as an operating expense, not different from an ordinary utility bill. Thus capital cost is avoided, there’s no upfront cost nor is there any monthly equipment fee. Also, if no energy is produced, no payment is required.
Staples is one company who made the deal with SunEdison, installing more than 10 megawatts of solar capacity in over 35 locations. And they want to take it even further. Mark Buckley, Staples vice-president for environmental affairs says that the “bottom line is that we’re able to purchase solar energy off our rooftops for less than electricity off the grid.”
Nathaniel Bullard, lead solar analyst at Bloomberg New Energy Finance: “You’ve dumped almost all of the risk onto a third party, while receiving the only attribute that you probably want, which is the clean energy that results ideally in a lower power bill.”
Competition is rapidly sprawling. Solar City, using the same pattern, is already providing solar power to private house-holds and small businesses in more than 10,000 locations. “We’ve removed most of the barriers to the adoption of solar,” says Lyndon Rive, Solar City CEO.
Though solar is still not competitive with conventional electricity, this newly implemented policy is sure to attract both costumers and competitors. “Green” funding is constantly growing as the large companies must keep up with modern regulations. “There is more money chasing solar projects right now than there are solar projects to finance.
That in turn could lead to better loan terms and cheaper solar power that no longer requires any government incentives,” says Jigar Shah, founder and former owner of SunEdison.