LEASE  |  $2,190,000 |  614kW

This 2,500-member retirement community located on 1,200 acres in the foothills of San Jose has extensive community facilities including a golf course, tennis courts, pools, a club house and stables with 20 utility meters and a $260,000 annual electricity bill. Because the community facilities were organized under a for-profit entity, which had no taxable income—common for large retirement communities—Belvedere structured a 7-year lease. The challenge was extensive member involvement in the decision process, which resulted in many meetings over a substantial time, but Belvedere was able to answer all their questions and, at the end of the process, they had a 614kW ground mount and carport solar system that will generate almost $6 million over its life.

A little-know fact about retirement communities with extensive common recreational facilities like golf courses, is that those facilities are often operated under a separate taxable entity. That means they are eligible for the energy credit. They usually run at break-even so can’t use the credit themselves, which makes them a perfect candidate for a solar lease. And they end up with total lease payments that are only slightly more or even less than the system price!