Adam Braillard - Is Rooftop Solar PV Right For You?
May 25, 2011 - Green Buildings
Building and rooftop conditions are paramount. Consider the age, structural integrity and orientation of the building and its rooftop. Think about the building's existing energy consumption and electrical characteristics, as well as the rooftop's condition, pitch, composition, size, layout, and any existing shadow-casting obstructions. Further, determining the best equipment (module and racking type, and mounting methods) will factor into additional rooftop weight, energy production and costs. Moreover, understand your local building code and municipal regulations.
Deciding how to finance a project can be challenging. There are a number of deal structures available, from self financing to third-party power purchase agreement (PPA) scenarios. You may not be able to take full advantage of the financial incentives under a PPA scenario, but you would avoid insurance, operations and maintenance costs.
A rooftop PV system can reduce electricity costs while increasing the building's lease-ability and lease retention potential. Further, depending on the type of module and racking used, a system can reduce the weathering effects on roof membranes.
The key to determining if rooftop solar PV is right for you is due diligent. Make sure you seek out experienced, knowledgeable professionals who will provide you with the critical information needed to make an informed decision. If executed correctly, a project can have robust financial and environmental rewards.
Adam Braillard is an attorney with Prince Lobel Glovsky & Tye, LLP, Boston.