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SOLAR POWER TO THE PEOPLE: AN ANALYSIS OF RESIDENTIAL PHOTOVOLTAIC SYSTEM FINANCING

by Stepien, Isabelle Rogers

Abstract

Residential photovoltaic systems can provide a household clean electricity at a lower rate than traditional, utility electricity. Solar systems’ high installation price can prevent many middle-income households from adopting solar, however. This paper examines six ways of purchasing a residential photovoltaic system: a cash purchase, home equity loan, cash out mortgage refinancing, Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) loan, solar Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs), and solar leases. Qualitative and quantitative factors are analyzed to determine the affordability of each purchase option and accessibility of solar financing mechanisms to middle-income Californian households. The 20-year cost of electricity to an average household is modeled with a solar system, purchased six different ways. Total cost considers system purchase, financing costs, maintenance and operation, tax rebates and credits, and Net Energy Metering. This model calculates a 37%-57% savings of 20-year electricity costs when a household adopts solar, compared to using traditional, utility electricity.

Note

The author has given permission for this work to be deposited in the Digital Archive of Colorado College.

Colorado College Honor Code upheld.

Includes bibliographical references.

Administrative Notes

The author has given permission for this work to be deposited in the Digital Archive of Colorado College.

Colorado College Honor Code upheld.

Copyright
Copyright restrictions apply.
Publisher
Colorado College Tutt Library
PID
coccc:28860
Digital Origin
born digital
Extent
73 pages : illustrations
Thesis
Senior Thesis -- Colorado College
Thesis Advisor
Professor Mark Smith
Department/Program
Economics and Business
Degree Name
Bachelor of Arts
Degree Type
bachelor
Degree Grantor
Colorado College Tutt Library
Date Issued
2017-07