There are multiple options for developing a PV array, but they break out into two general categories:
- land lease, where the municipality leases land to a private solar developer who builds, owns and operates the facility. The municipality incurs little or no financial cost in this arrangement. It benefits financially by entering into a long-term power purchase agreement guaranteeing a long-term supply of electricity at advantageous rates.
- municipal ownership, where the municipality takes on the responsibility for the development and ownership of the facility. Contractors may build and operate the facility, but by assuming the financial responsibility and project risk directly, the community captures all of the financial benefit of the project – lower-cost financing, no-cost electricity, Solar Renewable Energy Credits.
Options include various combinations of these two general scenarios. An important next step for Needham would be to evaluate the feasibility and benefit of the project to Needham based on these options for implementation.