Tag Archives: soft costs

Financing solar energy: Georgia’s special problem

In most states, financing solar energy is largely a matter of learning all the local ropes. In Georgia, there’s a bigger problem.

Michael Mendelsohn wrote for RMI 5 December 2012, How Do We Lower Solar Installation Costs and Open the Market to Securitized Portfolios: Standardize and Harmonize,

Soft costs can be pretty tough. The cost of solar installations can be generally separated into “hard” costs — representing primary components such as modules, racking, inverters — and soft costs including legal, permitting, and financing. While the former group — particularly modules — have dropped dramatically over the last several years, the latter have not. According to a recent NREL analysis, these costs represent roughly 30% of both residential and utility installations (slightly less for commercial-host systems). See Figure 1.

In fact, soft costs are so critical to the overall success of solar adoption, their reduction is a primary focus of the Department of Energy’s SunShot Initiative to make solar energy cost-competitive. In order to reduce the cost of financing, NREL recently completed and continues to work on various efforts to tap public capital markets and enable other vehicles that securitize project portfolios.

We’ll come back to tapping public capital markets and the like, because that’s the key to what Georgia Solar Utilities (GaSU) is trying to do. But there’s a special problem in Georgia, buried in the next paragraph:

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