For millions of urban dwellers, solar PV panels simply aren't an option, especially where renters in apartment blocks have no rooftop spaces that are theirs to invest in. According to Greentech Media, there are 113million American domestic customers living in markets where solar energy is competitively priced, but due to a poor credit history, nine out of ten of them are unable to access loans with terms sufficiently favourable to make the investment viable.
Now a new start-up is helping to make solar PV investment accessible to all. A new community solar programme is being launched by Arcadia Power that will allow investors to purchase solar PV panels in any part of the USA by taking a small piece of a power purchase agreement. They will then pay the cost of their energy bills from solar electricity sales.
Every one of the $350 panels bought by Arcadia customers will produce an average of $5 monthly from sales directly to the power grid. Customers are able to buy as many of these panels as they wish, which will produce clean energy for 15-20 years. The typical payback period for a panel is seven years. For a home paying an average of $114 monthly in electricity costs, just 25 of the panels can negate their energy bill for many years.
Arcadia maintains responsibility for checking the grid connection at each of the solar panel installations, and they distribute out solar power revenues via utility bills maintained with one of the panel of utility firms that Arcadia has a relationship with.
This is the first national scheme of its kind and will potentially open up the solar market for millions of new customers who would otherwise be unable to access it.