Boston, April 1 —Massachusetts’ premiere energy-buying consortium PowerOptions today issued a Request for Qualifications for solar developers, to launch a new solar program for smaller projects. The new program will compliment PowerOptions’ existing solar program for area hospitals and universities, and nonprofit and government entities of all kinds.
“This new program for smaller solar projects follows on the success of our existing PowerOptions Solar, with nearly 10 megawatts of currently operational photovoltaic systems and over 60 total megawatts under contract and in various stages of development,” said PowerOptions President and CEO Cynthia A. Arcate. “It will save our members time and money by streamlining and standardizing the process for our members—all nonprofit organizations and municipal and state facilities—where staff time and expertise can be scarce.”
Due to the success of the existing PowerOptions Solar Program, and in an effort to better serve the needs of its members, PowerOptions intends to create this second, separate solar program to exclusively focus on smaller on-site distributed solar installations sought by its members. The new program will aggregate development from across the entire state to capture the benefits of leveraging multiple projects. It provides great opportunity for the chosen firm, with instant market share.
Before issuing the RFQ, extensive research of its members was conducted to determine the need and interest in a solar program for smaller projects. PowerOptions has found that there is a significant unmet desire for on-site solar PV systems in the range of 25-300kW. PowerOptions estimates the total potential for small solar systems to be in the 7 MW to 10 MW range.
Responses to the RFQ are due on April 30.
Following the model of PowerOptions electricity and natural gas supply programs, the new solar program will have standardized terms and conditions. The program will be structured to give nonprofit organizations benefits of tax incentives which make solar projects economically feasible but are out of reach because of their tax-exempt status. The developer will pass the benefits of tax incentives back to the nonprofits in the price for the electricity,
“Under this approach, a third party would provide the capital and own the solar photovoltaic equipment, which will reside at the nonprofit organization,” said Arcate. “The nonprofit will enter into a long term power purchase agreement to buy the power from the solar developer, who will be responsible for any maintenance and updates to the equipment. The only cost to PowerOptions members would be the purchase of the energy.” Members may also choose to own their equipment.
While many electricity supply contracts penalize customers for reduction of usage associated with implementing a solar installation project, PowerOptions’ contract allows for it with no extra costs or penalties. “We anticipated the growing shift to renewable energy, and included this feature while developing our supply program,” said Arcate.
The award-winning PowerOptions® is among the largest electricity and natural gas purchasing consortiums in Massachusetts, with roughly $200 million of annual energy commodity purchases and a combined demand of approximately 200 megawatts of electricity and 13 million dekatherms of natural gas usage. Any nonprofit or public institution in Massachusetts may become a member and participate in this collective purchasing effort. For more information, visit www.poweroptions.org.
To get a copy of the RFQ, please email SolarRFQ@PowerOptions.org.