One of the largest barriers to more solar development at the commercial level–from dentist offices to large manufacturing facilities–is a lack of accessible financing options. This is particularly true for projects that include batteries and even more so for the budding world of microgrid projects.
With this in mind, Blue Planet Energy–a leading manufacturer of safe, reliable batteries for resilience and off-grid applications–launched a new financing mechanism this summer: a hybrid power purchase agreement or hybrid PPA. We sat down with the team at Blue Planet Energy to better understand their product and which types of organizations it's the right fit for.
The Blue Planet Energy hybrid PPA provides accessible financing for commercial-scale microgrid projects
The hybrid PPA offers immediate savings with $0 down payment options for 200 kW-plus of solar and 125 kW-plus of storage
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Power purchase agreements (PPAs) are a standard financing method in the solar industry: instead of purchasing the solar panels installed on your property, a third party (typically either your installer or a financier) will own the panels and sell you the power they generate. Hence, with a PPA, you agree to purchase solar power, typically at a discounted price from what you would otherwise pay your utility.
PPAs are widely used because they allow you to go solar with little to no money down, just swapping your existing electricity bill for power purchase payments. The result is PPAs help make solar more accessible to people and businesses who can't or would prefer not to pay upfront or who can't take advantage of the tax incentives associated with going solar.
Blue Planet Energy's hybrid PPA operates much like a standard PPA but with one main twist: it was built specifically to open up the microgrid market and make it more affordable. The hybrid PPA provides a solar-plus-storage system for $0 down–meaning immediate savings from day one–and a minimum 20-year term with built-in buy-out options like a standard solar PPA. It's structured to offer flat monthly payments for the microgrid portion of the system, a slight tweak to how solar is paid for in a PPA.
There are a few key characteristics of a project that's a good fit for the Blue Planet Energy hybrid PPA:
Focused on new solar-plus-storage installations in California and Hawaii (at the moment)
Commercial business, nonprofit company, or governmental organization
Looking to install a minimum of 200 kW of solar and a 125 kW battery
Installing a microgrid project comes with several benefits, including resiliency, reducing demand charges, and enabling the consumption of solar when electricity is in peak demand. Blue Planet Energy primarily focuses on companies and organizations with a strong resilience need: a Blue Planet Energy microgrid provides always-on energy. But beyond that, they're also focused on improving the equity of the solar industry – microgrids can be very expensive to install, meaning without a financing option like the hybrid PPA, many of the communities and organizations that are most impacted by outage events might not be able to access a solution to keep their lights on.
Blue Planet Energy aims to eliminate carbon-based fuels while powering the world with reliable, affordable, clean energy. Mostly, that meant developing their lithium iron phosphate batteries, like the Blue Ion LX. Given the role of Blue Planet Energy's products as a critical component in microgrids, the company saw that access to financing was presenting a barrier to greater adoption of microgrids and got to work designing a solution.
In Blue Planet Energy's own words, what financing wants is scale & replicability. The replicability of project types and sizes is where financing companies can drive efficiencies and better prices for end users.
Notably, Blue Planet Energy knows storage and how to design microgrids. They've parlayed that expertise into scalable, replicable microgrid solutions – precisely the kind of consistency that financing companies are looking for. So Blue Planet Energy developed the hybrid PPA as another avenue to deploy clean energy.
Whether you're looking for a solar-only project, a solar-plus-storage project, or a complete microgrid project, EnergySage is the place to get started. We help homeowners, businesses, and nonprofits explore, compare, and choose the energy solution that makes the most sense for their needs. By registering for a free account on EnergySage, you gain access to our network of vetted, pre-screened solar installers throughout the country, as well as to our expert Energy Advisors, who are available to answer any questions you have about solar and storage for your home or business.