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January 15, 2013: Developing PV Projects with RFPs and PPAs

This webinar was held January 15, 2013, and provided information on how the cities of Tucson, Arizona, and Minneapolis, Minnesota, utilized requests for proposals (RFPs) and power purchase agreements (PPAs) to develop photovoltaic (PV) projects. Download the presentations below, watch the webinar (YouTube), or view the text version.

RFIs, RFPs, and RFQs for PV: Finding the Right Solar Contractors for Your Community

Choosing vendors for solar projects requires a careful look since you may well be dealing with them for 20 years ... or more. The City of Tucson highlighted its experiences with city-owned PV projects as well as a PPA project while discussing some potential pitfalls along the way.

Presenter Bruce Plenk has been the Solar Coordinator for the City of Tucson for the past 5 years. Tucson is a U.S. Department of Energy Solar America City and is part of the current Arizona Rooftop Solar Challenge team. Mr. Plenk has been involved with solar installations and solar policy for many years. He lives in a house with PV and solar hot water and asks callers leaving messages to "Think Solar!" until he can return their call.

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PPA or Direct Ownership of PV Generation? The Devil Is in the Details

Even though solar PV installation costs have dropped significantly in the past two years, it is still difficult to justify an installation on a publicly owned site where no tax advantages will accrue to the owner. Having an outside developer install and own the PV installation and then sell the produced electricity to the public entity through a PPA can be a reasonable financial alternative. In the past three years, the City of Minneapolis has installed a total of 860 kilowatts (kW) of PV generation at nine separate sites utilizing PPAs and outright ownership of the systems. This presentation covered the pros and cons of both arrangements and provided details to include in any RFP and final power contract for a medium-sized PV project.

Presenter Brian Millberg is a registered P.E. (chemical engineering) in the State of Minnesota. Over a 35-year engineering career, he has worked in the fields of oil process research, organic coatings development and application, implanted medical device design, manufacturing and management, and alternative energy business analysis, and is currently the energy manager for the City of Minneapolis. In this capacity, Mr. Millberg has installed more than 800 kW in solar PV and thermal systems, and has been a key participant in reducing the city's municipal operations carbon footprint 9% since 2009.

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