Read the full article at Energysage
By Spencer Fields
One of the largest barriers to more solar development at the commercial level–from dentist offices to large manufacturing facilities–is a lack of accessible financing options. This is particularly true for projects that include batteries, and even more so the case for the budding world of microgrid projects.
With this in mind, Blue Planet Energy–a leading manufacturer of safe, reliable batteries for resilience and off-grid applications–launched a new financing mechanism this summer: a hybrid power purchase agreement or hybrid PPA. We sat down with the team at Blue Planet Energy to better understand their product and which types of organizations it’s the right fit for.
How Blue Planet Energy’s hybrid PPA works
Power purchase agreements (PPAs) are a very common financing method in the solar industry: instead of purchasing the solar panels installed on your property, a third party (typically either your installer or a financier) will own the panels and sell you the power that they generate. Hence, with a PPA, you are entering into an agreement to purchase solar power, typically at a discounted price from what you would otherwise pay your utility.
PPAs are so widely used because they allow you to go solar with little-to-no money down, just swapping your existing electricity bill for your power purchase payments. The result is PPAs help make solar more accessible to people and businesses who can’t or would prefer not to pay upfront or who can’t take advantage of the tax incentives associated with going solar.
Blue Planet Energy’s hybrid PPA operates much like a standard PPA but with one main twist: it was built specifically to open up the microgrid market and make it more affordable. The hybrid PPA provides a solar-plus-storage system for $0 down–meaning immediate savings from day one–and a minimum 20-year term with built in buy-out options like a standard solar PPA. It’s structured to offer flat monthly payment for the microgrid portion of the system, a slight tweak on the way solar is paid for in a PPA.
What types of projects are a good fit for the hybrid PPA?
There are a few key characteristics of a project that’s a good fit for the Blue Planet Energy hybrid PPA:
- Focused on new solar-plus-storage installations in California and Hawaii (at the moment)
- Commercial business, non-profit company, or governmental organization
- Looking to install a minimum of 200 kW of solar and a 125 kW battery
Installing a microgrid project comes with a number of benefits including resiliency, reducing demand charges, and enabling consumption of solar when electricity is in peak demand. Blue Planet Energy is primarily focusing on companies and organizations with a strong resilience need: a Blue Planet Energy microgrid provides always-on energy. But beyond that, they’re also focused on improving the equity of the solar industry – microgrids can be very expensive to install, meaning without a financing option like the hybrid PPA, many of the communities and organizations that are most impacted by outage events might not be able to access a solution to keep their lights on.