Town & City Solar

Solar will benefit your community for decades.

WindhamBring clean solar energy to your local community! Solar energy is a fantastic way for municipalities to lock in reliable costs of electricity for decades while reducing their impact on the climate.

ReVision Energy has been helping towns and cities in Maine, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire take advantage of the economic and environmental benefits of solar for 20 years, and extend those benefits to their greater communities.

Benefits of solar for towns and municipalities:

  1. Full access to solar benefits: Towns and municipalities can now take advantage of the federal tax credit through a new "direct payment" option, granting them a more viable path to ownership.
  2. Savings for the entire community: Solar offers significant electric cost savings and additional revenue from excess energy generation, through Net Metering and Renewable Energy Credits (RECs).
  3. Protection from rising utility costs: Factoring in upfront cost, including operation and maintenance, solar provides schools and nonprofits the lowest average cost of energy per kWh over system life, an estimated 50%-75% lower than grid electricity.

For NH municipalities, recent policy changes have made it possible for them to join a community solar farm and receive a rebate payment. More information available here.

Access Full Solar Benefits through Direct Pay

"Direct pay" allows non-taxpaying entities to access the federal tax credit by receiving a government rebate for the 30% tax credit value in 2023 and from 2024 onwards, provided domestic content requirements are met. Towns and cities that previously did not have any access to federal incentives and project ownership can now receive this direct payment once the project is complete.

ReVision manages projects through both direct payment and solar Power Purchase Agreements (PPA). PPAs allow towns, cities, and local government entities, who cannot access the upfront capital, to enjoy the same benefits of clean solar power afforded to businesses and homeowners. Our team can help you assess whether your city or town is eligible for our PPA financing program.

A Path to Ownership and Full Solar Benefits

The passage of the Inflation Reduction Act Bill in 2022 introduced a "direct pay" provision (also called "elective pay"), allowing non-taxpaying entities to access the 30% federal solar tax credit.

city of south portland solar site.jpegTowns and municipal entities can now receive a direct payment from the government for 30% of the project cost after completion. This gives them a much stronger path to direct ownership of their solar project instead of relying on third-party investor financing through a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA). 

While ReVision Energy cannot give tax advice, we can share resources and help interested entities navigate the project requirements needed to qualify for Direct Pay. Below are some frequently asked questions we have encountered from current customers: 

What type of entities are eligible for Direct/Elective Pay?

The following types of organizations are eligible (this is not an exhaustive list):

  • Organizations that are exempt from tax by § 501(a) are eligible for elective pay. This includes:
    • All organizations described in § 501(c), such as public charities, private foundations, social welfare organizations, labor organizations, business leagues, and others; and 
    • Religious or apostolic organizations under § 501(d).
  • State, local, and political subdivisions. This includes:
    • Cities/towns, counties, water districts, school districts, economic development agencies; and 
    • Public universities and hospitals that are agencies and instrumentalities of states or political subdivisions.
  • Indian tribal governments. This includes:
    • The tribal government, political subdivisions thereof; and 
    • Any agency or instrumentality of a tribal government or political subdivision.
  • Rural electric cooperatives (any corporation operating on a cooperative basis that is engaged in furnishing electric energy to persons in rural areas is eligible.)
What credits and incentives can be accessed with Direct Pay?

There are numerous credits available to entities through Direct Pay, with more options and guidelines emerging from the IRS. The most significant credits available are:

  • Energy Credit (Section 48 ITC)
  • Clean Electricity Investment Credit (Section 48E)
  • Commercial Clean Vehicle Credit (Section 45W)
  • Credit for Alternative Fuel Vehicle Refueling/ Recharging Property (Section 30C)
What are the project requirements for Direct Pay?

To be eligible for Direct Pay, the project in question must meet certain requirements outlined by the government. These requirements are nuanced and can be complicated; ReVision Energy can help navigate the details of the project in question to meet the specific requirements:

  • The entity generally must own the underlying eligible credit property
  • In addition to being an entity eligible for Direct Pay, the entity must also meet the underlying requirements of the tax credit
  • A project over 1 MW AC needs to meet certain domestic content requirements in order for the owning entity to receive the full amount of the relevant tax credit(s).

The direct pay is an alternative to the PPA, which is a tool to finance a system. When an entity elects to go with a PPA they don't own the system, the investor owns the system, and the investor receives the tax credit. If the entity choses to purchase their system directly, that's when they would take the direct pay option. 

For entities that cannot purchase their project outright and access the benefits of Direct Pay, a solar Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) is an innovative financial tool which eliminates the primary barrier to municipal entities going solar: access to upfront capital.

Instead of requiring a capital investment, ReVision Energy pairs the interested party with local mission-motivated solar investors who can take advantage of federal tax incentives not available to cities and towns. The investor partner owns and operates the array at the municipality's location and sells the solar power to the host at below-market rates with $0 upfront cost.

Innovative Financing Tool

PPA financing offers solutions to the challenges standing between non-taxed organizations that cannot choose the Direct Pay option and their potential solar savings:  

  1. Investor owns/operates solar at no cost to the host (town or municipality)
  2. Municipality buys discounted solar power and has option to buy array after 5 years
  3. Municipality locks in energy savings for decades to come
Long-Term Ownership

ReVision Energy PPAs cover 6-20 years. All PPAs also include a flexible discounted early buyout option after 5 years. Long-term ownership ensures the lowest long-term levelized cost of electricity from any source at 50%-75% below existing or projected utility costs while cutting carbon pollution.

Learn more about Power Purchase Agreements →

With the transition to more affordable solar through PPAs, towns and municipalities can protect themselves from rising utility costs and enjoy significant savings. Switching to local solar energy can also mean more room in a budget to invest in local jobs, community outreach, and other projects.

For towns in New England, solar presents an especially strong set of benefits that can be extended to our communities year-round. New England’s solar resource is strong, thanks to bright, cold winters and long summer days. Solar is the clear environmental winner, with no moving parts, long-lasting equipment, and no emissions in the generation of power. In short, going solar is good for your budget, good for your community, and good for the planet.

ReVision has installed hundreds of solar projects for towns and cities across New England.

Our growing portfolio of different municipal solar projects (towns, cities, fire and police departments, libraries, public housing, and more!) is source of pride for our team as we work tirelessly to expand the benefits of solar to communities across our three states.

The Town of Hope, Maine, installed a 120-panel solar array in 2020. The project, pictured below, is expected to save the town’s taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars across the lifespan of the system, while eliminating over 50,000 pounds of carbon pollution every year. 

Town Of Hope

The array powers Hope’s town office and heat pumps as well as the town's salt shed and two fire stations. The project was greatly celebrated, with much of the town coming out to watch the array's grand opening (despite the frigid temperatures!). 

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