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First, why solar? Many, if not most, residential structures are under insulated and leak like sieves. Why would adding solar be more effective than making the structures more energy efficient in a competent way (much of the work done under government sponsored programs has not been very competent, as marginally competent vendors came into the space to capture government dollars). Plus, so long as you can not store solar energy, you need to have an equivalent amount of conventional electrical generating capacity in reserve and able to come online quickly to offset variations in solar output. So there currently is an ongoing cost associated with solar power generation that reduces the benefits that are actually realized.
There is a huge difference between MIT's fundraising campaigns and the effort suggested here. MIT's fundraising efforts support MIT's core competencies which are education and research, and don't include managing large scale home improvement. This effort would expose MIT, and its relationships with its alums, to commercial risk. It would effectively be a commercial endorsement. If there are large scale problems with the components and/or workmanship used for the solar installation, the vendor can declare bankruptcy. That is not an option for MIT.
You say that MIT would receive a portion of any energy savings. Weather variability creates challenges in defining the savings that are actually realized. In the commercial sector compensation schemes based on performance improvements often become contentious.
You also seem to imply that there would be a layer of MIT specific technology running across these installations to provide real time data. Where does this come from and how do you cover the cost of implementation and maintenance?
I'd love to see solar on every MIT rooftop, but I wonder how you'll generate excitement for this particular initiative from donors. I love the idea of real-time data. I don't quite understand the last point... would you try to link to individual alumni utility payments?
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