New report explores financing options for solar in Washington State

June 16, 2015

The solar energy marketplace is rapidly evolving, and a number of national trends have the potential to impact the Washington State landscape. A variety of financing and ownership tools exist in most successful solar markets that allow for participation of customers who choose not to invest their own capital in solar equipment. Solar leases, Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs), property assessed clean energy financing, and loans offer a range of options for potential customers. While much of the attention to date has been on how leasing could impact the residential sector, there is also great potential for change in the commercial and governmental sector. Leasing has captured much of the market nationally, though there are an increasing number of firms that are offering both leases and solar loans as part of their business model. The relative attractiveness of these options is largely determined by the incentives, energy prices and capital structures available in each market.

This paper seeks to evaluate different ownership and financing models in the Washington State market from the customer perspective, based on a number of variables currently identified. There is currently a lot of uncertainty in the marketplace, with potential expiration of key Federal incentives and pending Washington State regulation regarding the Cost Recovery Program. This paper describes each scenario in depth, paying particular attention to the customer perspective.

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