In the past year several companies have started marketing solar power systems for homes that allow the homeowner to lease the equipment for a monthly fixed amount that results in an overall savings over their current electrical costs. My idea is to extend this concept to FAA buildings located in the states where it is economical. FAA could benefit from a similar program and reduce the carbon footprint of our facilities at the same time.
The FAA would not pay any upfront costs but would pay a monthly or yearly lease for the equipment once it was installed and operating. The sites would only be approved after an in depth analysis of the power savings available at the site. The vendor would be encouraged to construct the solar collectors above the existing parking lot which would provide shaded parking for our employees as a bonus.
The first step would be to publish a solicitation for vendors to conduct a pilot project with the anticipation of multiple awards in different regions of the country. This would allow the FAA to evaluate different designs and construction techniques as well as the actual cost savings that can be achieved. The final step in the process would be to expand the program to full scale implementation with one or multiple vendors at all sites where the cost benefits could be realized. If the program was successful it could be expanded to additional Department of Transportation sites and other Departments who have facilities in the parts of the country where solar energy is cost effective.
If the project is successful it will have the secondary effect of increasing the demand for photo voltaic electrical generating systems which should increase domestic employment while driving down the cost of the equipment. The program could result in reducing pollution while supporting the economic recovery of the US economy. The lease vs. buy approach to the project has the advantage of eliminating the need for up front capital.