Solar PPAs: Everything you need to know

Solar PPAs


A solar power purchase agreement (PPA) is a financial agreement in which a developer arranges for the design, permitting, installation and financing of a solar energy system on a customer’s property at little to no cost. The developer sells the power generated to the host customer at a fixed rate which is usually lower compared to the local utility’s retail rate. This lower power value serves to balance the client’s attainment of electrical strength from the network while the engineer gets the salary from these deals of power and any tax breaks alongside different motivations created from the item. PPAs typically range from ten to twenty-five years and the developer continues to be responsible for the operation and maintenance of the system for the duration of the agreement. After the PPA contract term, a customer might be in a position to extend the PPA, have the developer remove the program or perhaps choose to purchase the solar energy system from the developer.


A host customer agrees to have solar panels installed on the property of its, usually the roof of its, and signs a long term contract with the solar services provider to buy the generated power. The host property can be either owned or perhaps leased (note that for leased properties, solar financing works best for customers which have a long term lease). The purchase price of the generated electrical energy is typically at, or perhaps slightly below, the retail electric rate the host customer will pay its utility service provider. SPPA rates can be fixed, but they frequently contain an annual price escalator in the range of one to five % to account for system efficiency decreases as the system ages; inflation-related cost increases for system operation, monitoring, and maintenance; and anticipated increases in the cost of grid delivered electricity. An SPPA is a performance-based arrangement in which the host customer pays only for what the system produces. The term length of most SPPAs can range from 6 years (i.e., the time by which available tax benefits are fully realized) to as long as twenty-five years.

The solar services supplier capacities as the project organizer, organizing the financing, allowing, plan, and development of the item. The solar service provider acquisitions the solar panels for the duty from a PV maker, who gives guarantees to outline equipment.

The installer is going to design the system, specify the proper system components, and may do the follow-up maintenance over the life of the PV system. To install the system, the solar services provider might use an in house team of installers or perhaps have a contractual relationship with an independent installer. Once the SPPA contract is signed, a typical installation can generally be finished in 3 to 6 months.

An investor provides equity financing and receives the federal and state tax benefits for which the system is eligible. Under specific circumstances, the investor and also the solar services provider may together form a specific purpose entity for the project to function as the legal entity that receives and distributes to the investor payments from the sale and tax benefits of the system’s output.

The utility serving the host client gives an interconnection from the PV framework to the network and proceeds with its electric help with the host client to cover the periods during which the system is producing much less than the site’s energy demand. Specific states have net metering requirements input that provides a technique of crediting customers who produce electricity on-site more than the own electricity consumption of theirs. In most states, the utility will credit excess electricity produced from the PV system, though the compensation varies significantly depending on state polices.


Low upfront capital costs More complex negotiations and potentially higher transaction costs
Reduced energy costs Administrative cost of paying 2 separate electricity bills
Limited risk Possible increase in property taxes
Better leverage of available tax credits Site lease may limit ability to make changes to property
Possible increase in property value Understand tradeoffs related to REC ownership/sale.



There are a lot of positive things about the Solar Power Purchase Agreement.  You do not have to think of a big sum of cash to spend the large upfront capital cost to purchase a product.  They provide a zero down solar deal in which your monthly payments are lower compared to the amount you save on the energy bill of yours, so you profit each month without ever making an initial investment. PPA stands for Power Purchase Agreement, which means your solar lease is an agreement based on you paying only for the energy made by solar panels placed on the roof of yours at a certain speed.  Since you’re just paying for the energy made by solar panels, if for any reason these panels are not working for a period, or perhaps are produced less power than quoted, then you receive a credit for any shortcomings of the system.


Despite the advantages stated above, Solar PPAs have a fair share of disadvantages too. Firstly, solar PPA is a long term contract. This means you’re going to be tied to paying a monthly payment to the provider for many years. Secondly, a solar PPA can also create difficulties in case you go to market the property of yours. Lastly, it has a rate escalation annually so that the electricity you buy from the solar panels on your roof actually goes up in price annually.


A solar PPA can be a great choice for you if:

  • You’re not qualified for the federal tax credit
  • You’re not qualified for SRECs
  • You don’t qualify for a solar loan

However, in most cases, purchasing a solar panel system will give you the most out of your money. Purchasing a solar panel system, whether with cash or perhaps a solar loan, allows you to see much greater long term savings over the lifetime of the system of yours. To discover the very best choice for you, you ought to get multiple solar quotes from installers.