“The future of energy lies in sustainable solutions, and commercial and industrial entities have a crucial role to play. By embracing solar power through PPAs, they not only meet their energy needs but also contribute to a cleaner and greener future.”

In recent years, many commercial and industrial (C&I) entities have turned to solar power to meet their energy needs. One popular method of procuring solar power is through a power purchase agreement (PPA). In this article, we will explore the key factors to consider when structuring a C&I solar PPA and provide five key negotiation strategies.

Factors to Consider:

  1. Energy Requirements: Before entering into a PPA, C&I entities must determine their energy requirements. This includes both the amount of energy needed and the time of day when it is required.
  2. Solar Resource Availability: It is essential to assess the availability of solar resources in the region where the C&I entity is located. This will help determine the size of the solar system required to meet the energy needs.
  3. Contract Length: C&I entities must decide on the length of the PPA. This typically ranges from 10 to 25 years, depending on the financing structure and the solar system’s size.
  4. Pricing Structure: The pricing structure of a solar PPA is critical. The two most common pricing structures are fixed pricing and escalating pricing. Fixed pricing offers a stable price over the PPA’s term, while escalating pricing adjusts the price based on inflation or other factors.
  5. Creditworthiness: The C&I entity’s creditworthiness is a crucial factor in securing a solar PPA. It will impact the financing terms and the interest rates on loans.

Negotiation Strategies:

  1. Establish Clear Objectives: C&I entities must have clear objectives when entering into a PPA negotiation. This includes setting a maximum price for energy, determining the desired contract length, and defining the acceptable level of risk.
  2. Consider Multiple Vendors: It is important to consider multiple vendors when procuring solar power. This will help determine the best price and terms for the PPA.
  3. Determine Financing Structure: C&I entities must determine the financing structure for the solar system. This includes deciding whether to purchase or lease the system and determining the financing terms.
  4. Identify Risks: C&I entities must identify and address the risks associated with a solar PPA. This includes the risks associated with the solar system’s performance, credit risk, and regulatory changes.
  5. Seek Professional Advice: Finally, C&I entities should seek professional advice when entering into a solar PPA negotiation. This includes consulting with legal and financial professionals who have experience in renewable energy deals.

C&I entities should consider various factors when structuring a solar PPA, including energy requirements, solar resource availability, contract length, pricing structure, and creditworthiness. Additionally, they should employ various negotiation strategies, including setting clear objectives, considering multiple vendors, determining financing structures, identifying risks, and seeking professional advice. By following these guidelines, C&I entities can secure a successful solar PPA that meets their energy needs and financial goals.

Sample PPA term sheet

TermDescription
Seller[Name of Solar Provider]
Buyer[Name of C&I Entity]
System Size[Size of Solar System] kW
Energy Production Guarantee[Guaranteed minimum kWh production per year]
Contract Length[Length of PPA] years
Pricing StructureFixed pricing [or] Escalating pricing based on [inflation rate/other factors]
Price per kWh[Price per kWh] cents
Payment TermsMonthly/Quarterly/Annually
Billing MethodNet Metering
Interconnection[Utility Company] Interconnection Agreement
Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs)[C&I Entity/Solar Provider] retains ownership of RECs
Maintenance and Operations[Solar Provider] responsible for system maintenance and operations
Insurance[Solar Provider/C&I Entity] responsible for insurance coverage
Force MajeureEvents such as natural disasters, government regulations, etc.
Termination[Termination clause]
Governing Law[State/Country]
Dispute Resolution[Arbitration/Mediation/Litigation]

How Firstgreen can help:

Navigating the complexities of a solar PPA can be challenging, but Firstgreen, a leading renewable energy consultancy, can help. With extensive experience in the solar industry, Firstgreen offers a range of services to assist C&I entities in procuring solar power through PPAs.

Firstgreen can assist C&I entities with the following:

  1. Project Feasibility Assessment: Firstgreen can conduct a feasibility study to assess the solar system’s size, energy production potential, and financial viability.
  2. PPA Negotiation and Structuring: Firstgreen can assist with PPA negotiation and structuring, ensuring that the terms and conditions are favorable to the C&I entity.
  3. Vendor Selection: Firstgreen can help C&I entities identify and evaluate potential solar providers to ensure the best price and terms for the PPA.
  4. Project Financing: Firstgreen can assist with project financing, including identifying financing options and helping to secure financing from banks and financial institutions.
  5. Project Implementation: Firstgreen can oversee project implementation, ensuring that the solar system is installed and commissioned according to the project specifications.
  6. Ongoing Operations and Maintenance: Firstgreen can provide ongoing support for solar system operations and maintenance, ensuring that the system operates at peak performance and delivers the expected energy production.

By partnering with Firstgreen, C&I entities can take advantage of their expertise and experience in the solar industry, making the process of procuring solar power through a PPA easier and more efficient.

The major international financing providers for C&I solar projects in India are:

  1. World Bank: In 2016, the World Bank approved a loan of US$625 million to State Bank of India (SBI) for financing grid-connected rooftop solar projects in the country. As of December 31, 2020, the World Bank had disbursed US$463 million to SBI, out of which US$228 million had been disbursed by SBI.
  2. Asian Development Bank (ADB): In 2016, the ADB approved a loan of US$500 million to Punjab National Bank (PNB) for financing renewable energy projects in the country. As of March 2020, US$20 million had been disbursed by ADB to PNB, out of which US$7 million had been disbursed to customers.
  3. KFW: In 2015, KFW approved a loan of US$340 million to Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency (IREDA) for financing renewable energy projects in the country. The loan has been fully disbursed for renewable energy projects, including a small component of rooftop solar.
  4. Green Climate Fund (GCF): In 2019, the GCF approved a loan of US$100 million to Tata Cleantech for financing rooftop solar projects in the country. As of July 31, 2021, US$50 million had been disbursed to Tata Cleantech, and loans for nearly 300MW of rooftop solar projects had been disbursed as part of this line.

These international financing providers play a critical role in enabling the growth of the rooftop solar industry in India, providing the necessary capital for C&I entities to invest in solar power and meet their energy needs sustainably.