The proliferation of both regulated and competitive green power markets potentially creates new revenue opportunities for photovoltaics (and, potentially, small wind). One such opportunity involves green power marketers purchasing "green tags" that represent the attributes of customer-sited grid-connected PV (and/or small wind) systems. Marketers then lay claim to the photovoltaic (PV) or small wind tags and re-sell them as part of a green power product. In the United States, two such "PV pricing" programs are just getting underway in Pennsylvania and the Pacific Northwest, while a related model known as the "solar power exchange" has been deployed in Switzerland since 1997. This case study describes each of these three innovative models. Innovative Features
- PV pricing programs seem to create a true win-win situation: the PV (or small wind) system owner benefits from an additional revenue stream, while the utility or power marketer benefits by procuring relatively cheap solar (or small wind) power and reaping positive public relations from supporting local green power projects.
- These programs can have a synergistic relationship with buy-down programs, and clean energy funds can use their buy-down programs as a vessel through which to work with green power marketers to create additional customer value.
- While clean energy funds in the U.S. and abroad have not yet directly supported these types of innovative programs, opportunities to do so may exist.
- The two U.S. programs are just getting underway, with few results to show yet. Both programs have just announced their first PV pricing investments.
- Switzerland's "solar power exchange" model has been quite successful, and is partially responsible for helping Switzerland to claim the highest installed PV capacity per capita of any country in the world.