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SunFarmer: Powering Nepal’s Recovery

On April 25, a 7.8 magnitude earthquake hit Nepal. Most rural health clinics were completely destroyed, and emergency teams are currently working out of makeshift structures without electricity; there is no power available to charge cell phones, let alone to treat patients. In the aftermath, SunFarmer, a non-profit that has been focused on solar installations…

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Connecticut Utilities Announce Year Four ZREC Program

…And may the odds be ever in your favor. Today, Eversource (formerly Connecticut Light & Power) and United Illuminating (UI) announced the joint issuance of the fourth year of the Low Emission and Zero Renewable Energy Credit (LREC and ZREC) program. 2015 Program Summary The program will include three separate tiers for bidding: LREC, Medium…

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North Carolina Opts for Delayed Sunset of the State Tax Credit

Hold onto your hats, y’all – it’s going to be a wild year for North Carolina solar. Last week, the North Carolina legislature passed a bill offering a soft landing to the official end date for the state’s 35% state tax credit.  While the tax credit cliff is scheduled for December 31, 2015, new legislation…

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Zooming Out to Brighten the Future: Creative Day at Sol

If your work days are full with responding to emails, crunching numbers, following up on punch lists, and a portfolio of meeting and phone calls, then you’ll appreciate the importance of taking a time out challenge the status quo. Well, it’s not as much a time out as it is a zoom out. One of…

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Announcing the 2015 Delaware SREC Procurement

This year’s Delaware Solar Renewable Energy Credit (SREC) Procurement Program solicitation bid window opened on Monday, April 13th, 2015, and will remain open until Friday, April 24th at 5:00 pm. The Procurement Program gives new and existing Delaware-sited solar systems an opportunity to bid into a 20-year contract for their SRECs. Winning bidders in each…

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Maryland Passes Community Solar Bill

It’s official: the Maryland state legislature has passed HB 1087, titled “Electricity – Community Solar Energy Generating System Program,” bringing MD one step closer to community solar. If you’re not familiar with community solar, check out our write-up on the Maryland community solar legislation and the challenges faced by these programs. The bill, which enjoyed…

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Legalize It: Behind the Movement to Make PPAs Legal

The PPA dominoes are beginning to fall: Iowa, South Carolina, and Georgia have opened up their markets to third party financing. North Carolina is among the states that may be next. How will that impact the commercial and small-utility scale markets in these states? We ran our models to test out how Georgia and North…

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April 2015 Solar Project Finance Journal

Sol Systems’ Solar Project Finance Journal is a monthly email newsletter that our team distributes to our network of clients and solar stakeholders. Our newsletter contains solar statistics from current real-life solar projects, trends, and observations gained through monthly interviews with our solar project finance team, and it incorporates news from a variety of industry resources. Below, we…

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Prepaid PPAs: Nice, but “Nichey”

For commercial and small utility-scale solar, the prepaid PPA is a great idea… in theory. By prepaying for expected generation over the contract term, the long term price that the offtaker pays for electricity can be much lower. Assuming the offtaker can find the cash to handle the large prepayment, these deals can increase IRR,…

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Keep the Ship Sailing Smoothly in a Lumpy Solar Development Seascape

Nobody likes to sleep on a lumpy mattress, or to eat lumpy mashed potatoes, cream of wheat, or grits. Solar developers and investors don’t like lumpy solar markets either, but that is the reality of the industry today. Many solar markets have become “lumpy,” meaning it is difficult to find states or utility territories in which…

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Illinois SREC Market Heats Up

It’s game time. Well, almost. The Illinois solar renewable energy credit (SREC) market is poised to take off, and the Illinois Power Agency’s (IPA) first Supplemental Photovoltaic Procurement event is right around the corner. And, with recent uncertainty surrounding the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity’s (DCEO) grant program, the Illinois solar industry is looking…

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Stall on Takeoff: NYSERDA Program Re-Emerges, Still Without Upstate Rooftop Opportunities

When NYSERDA announced on March 26 that they were withdrawing their >200kW Megawatt Block program from launch for significant revision, we confess that we were optimistic.  Reportedly, April 7 would reveal a radically revised program.  Perhaps they read our blog!  Maybe they would listen to the many hard-working policy stakeholders, and replace the opaque and flawed…

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Making Residual Value Real: Where is Solar’s Emilio Estevez?

It is no secret that costs of capital must decrease to make distributed generation a massively scaling resource. And, as costs of capital steadily decrease, the “residual value” – what happens to the asset once the PPA has run out – becomes more and more important.   With that in mind, it no longer seems reasonable…

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A Comeback for Commercial Solar in the Golden State? We Think So.

The commercial and small utility solar market in California reminds us of 1848, just a year before the gold rush: lucrative, and largely untapped. While the state boasts the largest commercial solar market in the union, it remains relatively small. The latest Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) and Greentech Media Solar Market Insight report revealed…

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Is Community Solar Coming to Maryland?

What is Community Solar? Although renters or homeowners with shaded roofs may be ineligible to “go solar” themselves, they can subscribe to a share of a community solar project so that a portion of their electric bill still comes from clean, solar energy. In the last several years, community solar programs have popped up in…

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Why Option R is a Big Deal for Southern California’s Commercial Solar Market

Rate structure changes in favor of demand charges in both the Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) and Southern California Edison (SCE) utility territories have discouraged the development of commercial and industrial (C&I) solar projects in the Golden State. Luckily, we expect this to change in SCE territory as developers begin to take advantage of Option R. Demonstrating kilowatt…

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Plan to Scale Commercial Solar Market Revealed: Sol Systems and Sungevity Team up to Pave the Way

There’s a lot of talk and speculation about the future of the commercial solar space. Today, Sol Systems and Sungevity gave ‘em something to talk about by announcing a partnership to cultivate the elusive commercial sector. Estimates for the size of the commercial solar market range between $2 billion on the conservative side up to…

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March 2015 Solar Project Finance Journal Statistics

Sol Systems’ Solar Project Finance Journal is a monthly email newsletter that our project finance team distributes to our network of clients and solar stakeholders. Our newsletter contains solar statistics from current real-life solar projects, trends, and observations gained through monthly interviews with our solar project finance team, and it incorporates news from a variety of industry resources….

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Will 2015 Be the Year of Commercial Solar?

The numbers are out. Greentech Media and SEIA’s latest Solar Market Insight Report showed that commercial-scale solar’s growth has been less than impressive. In fact, their research shows that 2014 commercial-scale installs were down 6% from 2013, and 3% from 2012. We’ve discussed on multiple occasions why commercial-scale has experienced sluggish growth, and why a shortage…

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Are Company Acquisitions the Best Way for Utilities to Acquire Solar Pipeline?

In an attempt to get in on the solar game, there has been a trend whereby utilities are acquiring commercial solar companies. Most recently, Duke announced that it had acquired a major stake in REC Solar, and AES acquired Main Street Power. We can certainly understand why utilities see acquiring solar companies as the fast…

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