Does Your State Allow Power Purchase Agreements? Find Out Here – CNET

While a power purchase agreement might be a good fit for you, depending on where you live, it may not be an option. Here’s where PPAs are currently available.
If you can’t afford to buy solar panels, a power purchase agreement may be right for you.
So you want to go solar. With home energy prices going up pretty much across the board, the money you can save seems like a no-brainer.
But if you can’t afford to buy and install solar panels, you could enter a power purchase agreement. A PPA allows you to reap some of the benefits of solar — like lower energy prices — but comes with its own set of pros and cons. But, because the energy policy around PPAs is determined and handled at the state level, they aren’t available in every state.
Let’s look closer at what exactly is a power purchase agreement, and which states have them available for homeowners.
In a power purchase agreement, you sign up to have a third-party developer install, own and operate an energy system on your property. As the homeowner and customer, you buy the system’s electric output for a set period, usually over a 15- to 20-year contract.
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The major benefit of a PPA is that you get a steady, low-cost source of energy without footing any of the upfront costs for a solar system. Downsides include not being able to take advantage of any tax credits. Plus, you would save more on electricity over the time span of a PPA if you bought your home solar system instead.
Not all states allow power purchase agreements. That’s because each state has the power to decide how it manages its electric utilities. This means all states are a little bit different, Alison Bates, assistant professor in environmental studies at Colby College, told CNET.
“Because of the way our utilities are structured in the US, there’s variation in how they’re regulated,” she said.
The number of states that allow PPAs is a moving target, as lawsuits and legislation change regulation. Even in states that allow PPAs, there may be restrictions that limit who’s allowed to install them or what size they can be. It’s a good idea to confirm for yourself whether PPAs are allowed in your area.
If your state doesn’t allow for PPAs, you could reach out to your state government and advocate for more solar energy options. You can write a letter to your state energy office or organization stating why homeowners residing in your state could benefit from having the option of buying renewable energy through a PPA.
In some states, leasing solar panels may be an option where PPAs are not. Leases are very similar to PPAs, but differ in what you pay for. Instead of paying a set rate for the power solar panels generate, you pay a set fee for the solar panels.
If neither are an option, you can look into community solar, where you subscribe to an offsite solar farm, or start saving to buy solar panels.
Here are some of the pluses and minuses of PPAs.
While a PPA doesn’t require you to foot the bill on upfront costs of installing, running, or maintaining a solar system in your home, whether or not it’s worth it depends on your situation.
“Look at your goals for your energy system,” Bates said. “If you really want to manage and control what’s happening in your home, you might prefer to own your own system. If you’re trying to immediately lower your utility bills and you don’t have the upfront cash, then a PPA might be a better choice.” 
A PPA, or power purchase agreement, is an arrangement you have with a third-party developer to install a solar panel system on your property. They own the system and are responsible for running and maintaining it. You buy energy from them, which is usually less than the cost of what you would pay through your local utility. 
It might be a good idea to buy solar panels if you want to boost the value of your home and save the most possible money. Renting solar panels through a PPA could be a better choice if you can’t afford to foot the bill for upfront costs.
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