To SREC or not?

This article by David L. Levy, Professor of Management and Chair of the Department of Management and Marketing at the University of Massachusetts, Boston, gives an interesting summary of financing solar PV and some of the arguments around the question.

The article concentrates on commercial scale (university scale in this case) projects.  The implications for a residence are much the same; without SRECs solar PV does not make financial sense.  But SRECs are an unknown quantity.  According to this article, and my own research, banks will not lend on SRECs.  The conclusion has to be that the banks think SRECs are too risky.

SRECs are an expression of the will of a state to force [“encourage” may be the more polite word] change towards renewable/sustainable energy.  In the US “state” literally means the individual states.  SRECs are not a federal program.  The current SREC programs then depend on continuing political will at the state level to move toward renewables, and on the end users willingness to pay the (slightly) higher electricity rates.  I guess most end user pay the extra few cents a day out of ignorance.  But there is no guarantee of continued user indifference or the states commitment.  One could envisage a political climate where SRECs just disappear – it’s very unlikely, but possible.

I know this sounds like a broken record [does anyone even remember what a broken record sounds like, in this day of ipods and MP3s?] but we need a comprehensive national policy so that individuals, and commercial entities, can make long term decisions and get financing to install, operate and maintain sustainable energy systems.

One response to “To SREC or not?”

  1. […] 2010 I wrote a short comment on SREC’s (here).  Basically SRECs are certificates that public utilities can buy to reach their state mandated […]

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