Have you seen the movie Pay it Forward? I bet you’ve always wondered how we could do that and help drive economies of scale in our rooftop solar industry, right?
I wrote about this one over a year ago and re-visited recently thanks to a now constant flow of queries around solar leasing options in Australia. This particular model works like this;
- The original investor [think of them as ‘your project or client’] installs a solar system on a recipient’s roof;
- The recipient leases the solar panels on their roof from the investor;
- The recipient enjoys reduced energy costs overall, compared to grid-price electricity, so they start saving money;
- The investor, rather than paying down their original investment as quickly as they can, reinvests the income back into the seed fund, helping to set up the next recipient with another solar system.
So the investor has put up the cost of the first system. Sound unfair? Well, clients are already willing to pay for Green Power [a renewable energy product in Australia], carbon offset credits or other ‘licence to operate’ costs. So if they’re committed to spending the money, why not spend it where it creates the most community uplift?
It’s not too difficult to visualise a way in which development projects could roll out extensive community solar schemes using a version of this model. Even if the lease payments help in part to pay down the install costs, it’s still a great way to make solar energy more accessible to entire neighbourhoods.
Anyone interested in setting up a crowd fund to kick-start one of these in a needy community?
Remember, if you’d like to help me get the message out there, vote for Green Futures this month. Thanks!