The Town Council of Morrisville is looking to build a solar energy system on one of its buildings and is looking for outside investors to underwrite the costs.

The town issued a press release on Tuesday in which it spelled out its plans:

“Morrisville’s Town Council recently approved further work toward a solar energy project to be installed on one of the Town buildings. Morrisville has been collaborating with an intern from UNC’s Institute for the Environment to assist in the initial phases of project  investigation, and has now retained the Appalachian Institute for Renewable Energy (AIRE) to assist in project development and implementation via an innovative social finance model.”

Here’s how the financial model works, according to the AIRE website:

“Our Project Development Support program and Innovative Social Finance model are designed to allow ‘non-accredited investors’ (i.e. most people) to benefit from the substantial tax incentives available for the State and Federal levels for renewable energy investments.”

The program helps investors “maximize benefits provided by such tax incentives as well as accelerated depreciation. … When these benefits are optimized together investors are able to make a fair return on their renewable energy investments within 5-6 years. After this period of time, investors have the option of donating the system to a secondary owner (i.e. a nonprofit organization).”

The “secondary owner” can then own the system and use it as a source of clean energy and revenue, the site says.

Notes the Town of Morrisville in its pitch:

“Capital costs for a solar energy system can be significant, so in order to make the most efficient  use of taxpayer dollars, Morrisville is now working with AIRE to organize a small group of investors to take initial ownership of the system. These investors will benefit from the  substantial tax incentives available for renewable energy that, as a nonprofit entity, Morrisville cannot.

“AIRE’s social finance model is a ‘win-win’ for all parties, as investors make a return on their investment in 5-6 years along with a profit dependent on each individual investor’s tax portfolio. Morrisville will then enjoy a profit stream via electricity sales for an additional ~20 years after taking ownership of the system. “

Interested parties are invited to attend a meeting with the council at the town hall on July 11 at 7 p.m.

A website is also available that provides project information and an investor interest form.