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Concord Campaign for Quality Governance

Is there a cost, if we wait a year to consider solar?

Much has been made of an Investment Tax Credit that may expire, the end of the year, if we do not act now. This is the 'hurry up and do it' (bum's) rush.

In fact: The same 30 percent tax credit will still be paid, over six years rather than in one year, if we act later. And the one-time-payment tax credit may well be extended, beyond the end of the year.

What is the calculation, if the one-pay credit is not extended and we wait a year?

One of Concord's leading renewables advocates (advocates who, as a group, vitally have kept the rest of us aware), sent information demonstrating that the cost of solar had declined in a recent year by about 20 percent. (If you would like to see that data, let me know.)

The cost calculation:

The low cost of money, now, argues for relatively little impact from the discounting on the debit side. And if solar meets the promise that its advocates argue, the capital costs might reduce even more than 20 percent.

The result, reasonably, could be a lower net cost, for us, if we wait a year.


A good bit more to the point: Timing the uptake decision is the subtle and demanding challenge, when we are faced with a technological sea-change. Pretty clearly, solar's time has not yet come. That time may come in a few years. If we want to be as thoughtful as we imagine – especially if we hope to restore a quality process to the Town's deliberations – we will carefully consider and give place of precedence to these timing questions.