If you're a homeowner in a state with Solar Renewable Energy Certificates (SRECs), one decision to make when installing a solar panel system is how to sell your SRECs. Several SREC aggregators will sell your SRECs for you. Sol Systems is one of the most popular companies that solar panel system owners elect to work with today. EnergySage conducted a Q&A with Sol Systems to learn more about their company, what customers should consider when choosing an SREC aggregator, and how they differ from other SREC aggregators.
[EnergySage] Tell us more about Sol Systems - what's the background of your company?
[Sol Systems] Founded in 2008 in Washington, D.C., Sol Systems is one of the most established SREC aggregators in the industry. Our operations serve customers in Delaware, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and the Washington D.C. SREC markets. Sol Systems has expanded into other solar business lines, adding Commercial and Industrial Acquisition in 2011, Tax Equity / Structured Finance in 2012, Customer Energy Services in 2016, and Fund Management in 2017. Plus, we are continuing to grow into additional markets and services. We are excited that Sol Systems has expanded and continues to delve into new markets because it strengthens our expertise in our SREC aggregation business.
[ES] What's the mission of Sol Systems?
[SS] At Sol Systems, we leverage our solar project development and finance expertise to place investment capital in secure, sustainable sources of energy. In addition to our commitment to clean energy investments that replace fossil fuels, we support organizations that improve the environment, social equity, and the communities in which we live and work.
[ES] What separates Sol Systems from other SREC aggregators?
[SS] Customers should choose Sol Systems because we offer a personalized approach and a wide variety of contract options. Our hands-on approach to the customer service team goes above and beyond. We will work with your installer and/or loan provider to register your system on the Sol Systems dashboard, submit the state registrations at no cost, and ensure production data is reported accurately to SREC minting entities. Sol Systems representatives will work closely with customers to select a contract option that best fits their needs, whether that be maximizing returns, mitigating risk, or simply receiving a one-time lump-sum payment upfront.
[ES] What are Sol System's product offerings for residential solar customers?
Solar owners that choose to sell their SRECs through Sol Systems have up to three contract options they can choose from; Sol Brokerage, Sol Annuity, and Sol Upfront. Each offers a unique strategy for how the SRECs are traded and paid out. Offerings and prices vary by state and are updated each month to reflect SREC market trends.
Sol Brokerage is a great option for those looking to benefit from spot market pricing. Sol Brokerage customers are eligible for quarterly payments; as SRECs are minted, the trading team will sell SRECs on the spot market.
Sol Annuity options are fixed-rate agreements that allow customers to lock into a set price per SREC, generally for 3-5 years. The Sol Combo product is unique among SREC aggregators; this is a 10-year fixed-rate contract offering customers higher pricing for the first few years of the contract and a slightly lower fixed rate for the remainder of the term. The Sol Annuity and Sol Combo do not have a fee; the price per SREC in the customer's contract is the price they receive.
Sol Upfront is for customers that choose to receive a one-time lump-sum payment. This long-term (10-15 year) agreement allows customers to minimize risk and receive cash upfront. It is best suited for those able to commit to a long-term contract on their residential system.
[E.S.] What should customers consider when selecting an SREC aggregator?
[S.S.] When choosing an aggregator, customers will want to consider market expertise, transparency, and customer experience.
Market expertise is a major component of getting the best prices for their SRECs! To gain a sense of the aggregator's expertise, consider the maturity of the company, its relationship with compliance entities and buyers, its reputation, and the stability of its finances in an ever-changing market. At Sol Systems, we have a dedicated Research team that monitors solar policy and trends to ensure our SREC Traders have the best market insights to achieve highly competitive SREC prices.
It is important to understand how transparent your aggregator is. Sol Systems is upfront about our fee structure, and we do not have additional "add-on" costs for things like registering systems with the state or helping resolve reporting issues.
Customers should also consider their customer experience. Do they want to be able to pick up the phone or send a quick email, knowing someone on the other end will respond in 24 hours? We work with installer partners, which streamlines the onboarding process and allows us to notify installers of systems that may not be performing or producing SRECs as expected. At Sol Systems, we get to know our customers and manage their accounts throughout the lifecycle of their system. Other logistical considerations would be things like variety in product offerings, payment frequency, and how payments are issued (checks, direct deposit, etc.)
[E.S.] What's next for Sol Systems?
[S.S.] Our SREC-monetization offerings are growing as markets are bolstered by new legislative measures. The Washington, D.C. SREC market recently had a major legislative change (D.C. Omnibus Amendment Act 2018) that has brought liquidity back to the market, ending more than a year-long price decline. We are continuing to monitor our other key markets and are hopeful for positive policy trends in the next 6 to 18 months.
We are expanding our services into P.A. Tier I RECs through our Sol Upfront product and will be coming out with a Brokerage product in Spring 2019. We are excited to offer customers in states that are not eligible to participate in traditional SREC markets a way to monetize their solar production.
If you want to see how much you can earn with SRECs, register on the EnergySage Solar Marketplace. You can receive up to seven solar quotes from local, pre-screened installers that automatically calculate an SREC benefit estimate. These numbers will take into account the production estimates in your quotes and the specifics of your SREC market. After going solar, you can work with your chosen installer to sign up for Sol System's aggregation services.