Delaware launches solar energy credit market

Delaware is launching a pilot program designed to encourage homeowners, businesses and industrial leaders to install solar power panels.

Starting in April, the Delaware Sustainable Energy Utility will create a market for the buying and selling of solar renewable energy credits.  These credits will be sold and traded like stocks on the stock market.  

Who’s buying?  Companies that need to comply with state standards for renewable energy can offset their lack of compliance by purchasing credits from homeowners, businesses and others who are generating power through renewable methods like solar.

Delaware state Senator Harris McDowell announced the SREC program at Delaware Technical and Community College’s Wilmington campus Thursday morning.  He says it’s “a significant new source of money and economic development.”  The market is designed to help residents and businesses finance solar power improvementswhich in turn should reduce emissions and increase employment opportunities in the green energy field.  “It’s designed to keep a steadily growing industry in the solar field.” says McDowell, D-Wilmington North.  

To increase the potential help for the local economy, there is a 10 percent credit for solar systems installed by Delaware workers, and a 10 percent credit for buying solar panels built by Delaware companies like Motech, which has a facility in Newark.

McDowell acknowledges that other states have had difficulty maintaining stability of their solar credits market, but says Delaware’s market is designed to adjust for those failures and maintain price stability through the 20-year SREC contracts.

The state’s entrance into the solar energy credits market follows a successful offering by the Delaware Sustainable Energy Utility of energy efficiency bonds which sold for $75 million.  Co-chairman of the SEU John Byrne says the bonds were rated AA+ when they were sold into the market.  The bonds were sold within two hours.  “The SEU used no tax revenues, no rate-payer revenues, no capital budget dollars from the state, no subsidies from the state to pay for this work.”  Instead, he says, it used the basics of clean energy economics.  “The savings from these investments must be able to pay the capital costs that create them.”

The solar credits will go on sale April 2.  You can find more information the sale at SRECDelaware.com.

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