Atlas Eyesight


Going Green with Atlas

by Pete Lawlor

There is no denying that there is an ongoing shift in the energy world toward renewable sources and climate impact. There is significant support behind this shift in both the government and business communities, as we see the world’s leading countries and companies set new sustainability goals regularly. Atlas’ core focus has always been helping our clients achieve their energy goals whether it be cost reduction or risk mitigation. Achieving sustainability goals or reducing climate impact is no different in our view.

Atlas is well positioned to help our clients take advantage of the renewables approach that best meets their needs. Let’s look at a few different options available to our clients:


On-Site Solar

  • Requires roof space, parking lot, or open land
  • Customer can buy the panels, lease the panels, or simply lease space to solar developer and collect rent
    • Buying panels – Pros: receive tax benefits/incentives. Cons: large upfront capital expenditure, responsible for maintenance costs
    • Leasing panels – Pros: smaller upfront capital expenditure, developer responsible for maintenance costs. Cons: no tax incentives
  • In purchase panels scenario, typically takes multiple years to fully recoup upfront capital expenditure from solar savings
  • Can be a “behind-the-meter” or “front-of-the-meter” project:
    • Behind the meter (BTM) systems benefit the client by enabling them to consume the solar energy from the panels instead of drawing that energy from the local electric grid
      • After cost of panels and maintenance, savings are achieved over time by consuming the “free” energy from the panels thereby reducing utility bill consumption


Physical PPA/Front-of-the-meter (FTM) Systems

  • Fed directly into the power grid and transmitted to remote off-takers instead of being used on site
    • Delivers actual electrons to client’s specified delivery point in exchange for a pre-determined price per unit ($/kWh)
  • Project owner benefits from financial and tax incentives and earns revenue from the sale of electricity
  • Off-taker gets potential savings from PPA $/kWh rate and claim the use of renewable energy for PR/Marketing purposes


Virtual/Financial PPA

  • Client will always pay the same fixed price per unit to the developer, but if the developer sells the energy back to the market at a higher price than what client is paying them, client will receive those profits or difference between market price and PPA fixed price per unit. If the developer sells the energy back to the market at a lower price than the pre-determined ($/kWh), client must pay the developer to cover the losses or difference between market price and PPA fixed price per unit.


Community Solar

  • Solar developers build a solar array and commercial, industrial, and residential users within the same utility territory as the array can become “subscribers” and benefit
  • The actual electricity is sold back to the utility/grid, but subscribers commit to a certain amount of the array’s energy output and receive corresponding credits on their monthly utility invoice. These credits provide client with savings.
  • No upfront cost/capital commitment whatsoever and no impact to client-owned facility or land


Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs)

  • Market-based instrument that represents one megawatt-hour (MWh) of electricity generated and delivered to the electricity grid from a renewable energy resource
  • RECs give the customer certified proof of carbon footprint reduction and that they are using renewable energy from the grid without having to install solar panels or other renewable energy systems at their business
  • Purchasing RECs acts a source of renewable demand in the market, which in turns encourages more supply of renewable energy
  • No savings provided


Reach out to one of our experts today.