Solar Industry News

Proctor Academy's Large New Solar Array Is a Product of Technology and Finance

ReVision Energy's renewable energy projects are frequently featured in local and national newpapers, radio and television.

The gleaming solar panels at Proctor Academy that sit atop the Maloney Hockey Rink, the Alan Shepard Boathouse and next to the school's ski area are technically complex, but financial complexity is what really brought them to life.

"What's great about it for the host is that it allows them to go green without having to raise the capital," said Steve Hinchman, director of financing for Revision Energy, which set up the power purchase agreement, or PPA, that made the $1.1 million, 334-kilowatt project at the school possible.

"They understood this is an economic opportunity for the school. It essentially becomes an energy endowment to protect the institution," he said. "They will be around, using electricity in 50 years. There's an awful lot of rooftop in New Hampshire. They're an ideal place to put solar, and protect an institution from volatile energy prices."

Under a power purchase agreement, the host site buys the electricity produced by the panels, paying a negotiated rate that is usually slightly less than the energy charge of the local utility. The host site has the option to buy the panels outright after six years.

Because Proctor Academy has nonprofit status, it can't enjoy the tax benefits of installing solar power. Under the PPA, the panels' owner gets the benefit of a 30 percent tax credit, worth about $330,000 in this case, which makes it feasible for them to absorb the up-front costs.

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