Newsflash: Guy Has Bad Business Idea

Why not lease the city’s rooftops to Dominion for solar panels? Uh…because Dominion’s not in the solar power business? Who’s the wise guy at the DP who thought there was a story here?  #

4 Responses to “Newsflash: Guy Has Bad Business Idea”


  • It’s more likely (at least for now, until we can get a real Renewable Portfolio Standard in place in Virginia) that a private, third-party firm would lease the rooftop space(s) than Dominion, and then take advantage of federal tax credits to generate electricity that consumers could purchase. I’d bet you that a sufficient number of property owners in the City would jump at the chance to buy clean, renewable, locally-generated energy, even at a higher rate.

  • I thought there was a local business (Keswick area?) that does exactly this. I’d particularly love it at our nine schools.

  • I’d bet you that a sufficient number of property owners in the City would jump at the chance to buy clean, renewable, locally-generated energy, even at a higher rate.

    I’d take that bet. :)

    I thought there was a local business (Keswick area?) that does exactly this.

    I don’t see how. Dominion doesn’t actually pay you for generating power, they just give you a credit on your bill. So, fine, you set up a bunch of solar panels — the best you’ll get is a $0 bill for power for the month. A bill passed the General Assembly last year that will have Dominion pay the standard rate for that power (an average of $0.061/kWh), but that’s way, way undervalued. People will clearly pay more for clean power, as Dave points out. The numbers just aren’t there.

  • An average American house would need a 10-kilowatt solar array to meet its electricity needs. The rough cost of this system is around $100,000. The value of the electricity produced by this system over a year, at Dominion’s rate ($.o61/kwh), would be $900.

    Who would want to make this kind of investment, and pay to rent rooftop space? Dominion will go buy more wind before it buys solar.

    To make this work, I think this is what would need to happen:

    If the city would decide to pay for half of all solar arrays, an investor/third party would only need to pay $50G’s for the above solar system. Also, if the person who owns the roof agrees to buy the solar electricity for a price 5 times higher then Dominion’s rate, then the investor who installs the solar energy system on the rooftop, will recover their money after ~11 years.

    There are a lot of “if’s” in this scenario.

    Solar electricity will become more feasible when:
    -nonrenewable electricity rates go up
    -silicon becomes cheaper
    -more state and local tax credits are available

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