Schools and universities across the U.S. are taking sustainability very seriously. A number of schools have established policies so that all new construction buildings are designed to have a reduced impact on the environment by meeting LEED certification standards. Many universities have also set targeted goals. Almost 700 universities have signed on to the President’s Climate Commitment thus far, voluntarily pledging to go carbon neutral. One way to go green is to install a solar photovoltaic (PV) system. Solar PV systems offer a host of benefits including electricity for the life of the system (typically 40+ years), a hedge against rising electricity prices, reduced grid dependence, and a transition to a cleaner, more sustainable economy. However, because the solar renewable energy credits (SRECs) generated from the project represent the environmental attributes of the generated solar electricity, many schools and universities are reluctant to sell them as doing so may be seen as contradictory to meeting their environmental goals. Many entities have contacted Sol Systems on whether there is a way to reconcile this. And the answer is yes. SRECs can be a powerful tool to not only help finance the cost of a solar PV system, but to also help achieve a smaller environmental footprint. Here’s how:

Because renewable energy credits (RECs) from solar projects are high in value (prices can range from $150-$675 depending on the project location and length of SREC contract), the income associated with selling SRECs can be used in a number of ways to further a school or university’s environmental goals. For example, SREC income from one solar project can be used to finance another solar project on campus or finance another type of environmental project such as implementing energy efficiency or water conservation measures. SREC income can also be utilized to purchase less expensive RECs from other renewable energy sources such as wind. Should a school or university opt to replace their SRECs with wind RECs, Sol Systems can design a seamless transaction to assist with this. Rather than engaging in two separate purchase and sale agreements, Sol Systems can design one contract to meet a school or university’s unique needs.

As fall classes resume and school task forces reconvene, we hope that the topic of utilizing SRECs to meet sustainability goals is incorporated into the decision making process.

Sol Systems is a Washington D.C. based solar energy finance and development firm that was built on the principal that solar energy should be an economically viable energy solution. Sol Systems enables solar developers, homeowners, and businesses to fully realize the value of their solar energy systems by providing them with a range of options for selling their SRECs. Our primary goal is to leverage our expertise and resources to allow our customers to maximize the value of their SRECs. We have helped over 1000 customers across 13 states realize the value of their SRECs.