Thank you for your great questions!
In general, the third party mechanism indicates that a third-party, taxable entity initially owns the PV system in order to utilize the 30% investment tax credit and the MACRS depreciation. In this case, the third-party owner is also receiving electricity payments of around $.08/kWh with a 5% annual escalation for a period of six years. At the beginning of year seven, however, NDHC will be able to purchase the PV system as the tax credits and depreciation have been fully utilized.
In response to your question on the financial benefits to residents, the authors estimated that NDHC will receive a net benefit of $158,000 over the 25 year assumed life of the PV system. More information on the full listing of financial and non-financial community benefits can be found with the original publication, at
Hope that helps!
That is interesting to hear you are considering this in Florida as well - please keep me posted your progress. In response to your questions, the MACRS depreciation is treated similarly to the investment tax credit in that the 3rd-party owner, not the individual homeowner (the site host), gets to claim the depreciation benefit.
Also, to my knowledge, VAWT systems were not considered for this application.