I want to bring attention to a great opportunity for local governments and universities in Maryland to install solar power, and pay for it at a cheap rate. Check out the Maryland Energy Administration’s Project Sunburst, a stimulus grant program of $1,000 a KW for solar generation on public buildings. The owner of the building must enter into a Power Purchase Agreement, where the solar company installs the panels for free, and the recipient of the solar power pays a typical electric rate for it for several years, just like they would for any other source of energy. The catch is that because of the $1,000 a KW subsidy, the cost per kilowatt for this solar power will be dirt cheap.
Below is the information from MEA’s website on Project Sunburst
Project Sunburst Overview
The Maryland Energy Administration (MEA) has received significant funding through the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (ARRA) to promote clean, affordable, and reliable energy. As part of this initiative, MEA has set aside a significant portion of this funding to promote the installation of renewable energy systems on public buildings in Maryland through Project Sunburst. MEA is seeking public partners that have a portfolio of large project sites available. In order to maximize available incentives and limit upfront costs, Project Sunburst Partners will host renewable energy systems and contract for the electricity generated through power purchase agreements (PPA).
This agreement between MEA and Project Sunburst Partner covers:
- Grant Funding
- Technical Support
MEA will provide a rebate of up to $1,000 per kilowatt-DC of photovoltaic (PV) capacity installed. These funds will be transferred from MEA to a Project Sunburst Partner upon successful signing of a financeable PPA contract between the Sunburst Partner and a renewable energy service provider, provided all requirements, terms and conditions have been met. If financing cannot be acquired, or other conditions prohibit the completion of the renewable energy project, Sunburst Partner must return the funds to MEA.
There may be transaction costs associated with contracting for renewable energy. MEA’s goal is to reduce, to the extent possible, transaction costs related to identification of project host sites, request for proposal (RFP) development and evaluation, and power purchase agreement (PPA) development and execution by sharing best practices between Sunburst Partners and potentially retaining technical consultants to provide necessary support. MEA may provide other support as necessary, including assistance with Solar Renewable Energy Credits.
In order to qualify as a Project Sunburst Partner you must:
- be considered a public entity for tax purposes,
- own the project host sites such as building(s), parking structures, etc
- identify viable rooftops or other project locations,
- submit project identification forms to MEA
- sign a grant agreement with MEA indicating intent to:
- conduct an RFP or other appropriate process to contract for renewable electricity,
- sign a financeable long term PPA contract for the energy produced by the host site(s), and
- comply with all MEA, Department of Energy, and ARRA terms and conditions related to use of funds.
Expression of Interest
Interested Potential Sunburst Partners should:
- review the list of criteria for identifying project sites
- perform a rigorous inventory of available locations,
- complete the Project Identification Form
- If a ground mount installation is proposed, complete a SEP Environmental Questionnaire
- Review the most recent ARRA information
MEA will evaluate projects based on quality of proposed locations, size, geographic diversity, and ability to execute deals quickly. Given the significant amount of funding available, MEA anticipates that it will be able to fund the majority of eligible projects that are proposed provided they can meet the milestones and deadlines below.
Initiate Site Identification Suggested start ASAP
Submit Project Identification Forms to MEA Rolling deadline of Mar 26, 2010
Partner signs grant agreement with MEA to reserve funds Rolling deadline of Apr 16, 2010
Partner issues RFP for purchase of solar electricity Suggested by May 14, 2010
Partner identifies winning bidder(s) Suggested by July 9, 2010
Partner signs PPA contracts with developer Deadline of Aug 6, 2010
Developer builds and commissions systems Deadline of Feb 25, 2011