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RALEIGH, NC, April 08, 2020 /24-7PressRelease/ -- Secure Futures Solar has been approved by the North Carolina Utilities Commission to offer on-site solar energy systems with no capital cost to commercial customers around the state. State approval of the company's offering will allow schools, hospitals, local governments, and businesses to install solar power more affordably.
Recently, Secure Futures became one of only three Regulated Electric Generator Lessors approved by the Utilities Commission to install solar panels on a customer's location without the customer having to buy solar panels and other equipment themselves. The solar company will own and operate the equipment over a period of 20 years or more, providing all the services needed to help a commercial customer generate their own electricity under Secure Futures' trademarked Solar Self Generation Agreement (Solar SGA®).
In an effort to open up the state's market to commercial solar, in 2017 North Carolina passed House Bill 589 allowing third-party ownership of solar panels for non-residential customers. Until Secure Futures entered the state, the only choice for third-party solar under the new authorization was to lease equipment under a traditional leasing agreement. But leasing can present a barrier for tax exempt customers.
"Leasing doesn't allow non-taxable schools and hospitals to benefit from the federal solar investment tax credit, currently set at 26 percent," said Ryan McAllister, Business Development Manager for Secure Futures. "Even for companies that can use the tax credit, a lease adds debt to their books that can make it harder for them to access financing for their core business needs."
The Solar SGA® from Secure Futures addresses these challenges, while still complying with the regulatory requirements under the state's energy generational leasing. Unlike traditional leasing agreements with tax-exempt entities, the structure of the SGA® allows the company to monetize the solar Investment Tax Credit and pass along those benefits to tax-exempt customers. And as a performance-based service contract, the SGA® offering from Secure Futures does not constitute debt on the organization's balance sheet.
"North Carolina has long been a leading state for solar power," said Anthony Smith, CEO of Secure Futures. "But nearly all of the state's solar capacity is owned by utilities. Policy barriers have made it difficult for schools, hospitals and businesses to join the solar revolution. Fortunately, that's changing, and now that our Solar SGA® has been certified by the Utilities Commission, we can help make a difference."
Nationally, North Carolina currently ranks second behind California for the amount of solar power in the state, with a generating capacity of 6,122 megawatts installed through the end of 2019, according to the Solar Energy Industries Associaton. However, unlike other leading solar states such as California (ranked #1) and Arizona (ranked #3) where many homes and commercial customers have their own solar panels, the vast majority of solar installations in North Carolina are owned and operated by electric utilities, according to other SEIA data.
"The main barrier to commercial electricity customers going solar has been high upfront cost," said Secure Futures's McAllister. "Having to buy your own solar panels and then maintain them yourself was too expensive for most schools, hospitals or businesses."
Helping commercial electricity customers get solar panels without an upfront capital cost, leasing and other forms of third-party ownership of solar panels have been key innovations in helping solar power to grow in the commercial sector across the U.S. Accounting for 53 percent of commercial solar installations in 2019, third-party ownership could rise to encompass 78 percent of commercial solar by 2021 according to a report by industry analyst GTM Research.
For schools and hospitals, a targeted incentive from Duke Energy of $0.75 makes solar power for non-taxable organizations even more affordable.
In 2011, Secure Futures was the first to offer commercial solar with no capital cost in neighboring Virginia. Since then, Secure Futures has installed more than 20 megawatts of commercial solar at schools, hospitals, and businesses. More information about the company's offering in North Carolina can be found at https://securefutures.solar/north-carolina.
About Secure Futures, LLC
As a market and policy leader, Secure Futures builds, owns, manages and funds affordable Resilient Solar Solutions® for hospitals, schools and businesses. Headquartered in Staunton, Va., the company combines state-of–the-art solar technology with an innovative business model to make commercial scale solar readily affordable in the Mid-Atlantic and Southeast, helping customers to realize the economic, environmental, and community benefits of solar energy. In 2017, Secure Futures became a Certified B Corporation®, having met the exacting standards for social and environmental performance, transparency and accountability established by the nonprofit B Lab®. For more information: www.securefutures.solar
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Secure Futures offers an approach to go solar which require no upfront capital or operation & maintenance costs, and creates savings over the course of the project.