SOURCE is a monthly solar project finance journal 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 have included excerpts from the August 2015 edition. To receive future Journals, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
PROJECT FINANCE STATISTICS
The following statistics represent some high-quality solar projects and portfolios that we are actively reviewing for investment.
Georgia – We’ve got Georgia on our minds, and you should too. Bids for Georgia Power’s Advanced Solar Initiative Distributed Generation (ASI DG) Program, which aims for 100MW of solar, closed on August 10. Yet, one of the three bidding groups, Group C, encompassing systems under 100kW, came in undersubscribed. Developers will have until October 27 to find sites to fulfill the remaining 5.7MW. Want to succeed in this bidding group? Aggregate these projects into a 1MW+ portfolio to make them more attractive to investors. With investment grade offtake, low build costs, and high solar irradiance, these deals should be promising. Meanwhile, third party financing is now live in the Peach State (thank you, HB 57!). Due to net metering restrictions, these projects are most attractive when behind the meter.
Massachusetts – Step in line to grab your seat on the solar coaster. In July, State Senator Downing introduced legislation to raise the net metering caps until the state’s 1600MW goal is met. Then, on August 7, Governor Baker introduced his own legislation to raise the caps by 2%. National Grid estimates that Governor Baker’s cap increase would only last the solar industry until October. If you’re thinking that would bring us back to where we are right now in just a couple months, you’re right.
Even more, the Governor’s bill would transition solar from a net metering credit valued at the full retail rate to an avoided cost rate after the 1600MW goal is met. Undoubtedly, this would deliver a long-term blow to the Commonwealth’s solar industry. Massachusetts developers, why aren’t you looking at smooth, reliable, sustainable Maryland again?
New York – We have long heralded that the Megawatt Block is a beautifully designed incentive program – if only rates were high enough for projects to pencil. Since opening in May, its commercial and industrial (C&I) block for projects over 200kW has produced merely 4MW of deals in Con Edison territory, and about 17MW in the rest of the state; the overall capacity potential for the first block is 135MW. To understand how underwhelming the results have been thus far, compare it to Massachusetts, which can fill another 205MW cap increase in NGrid territory by October. Each incentive block will need to be raised by approximately 20 cents if the Empire State’s C&I market is going to take flight. Until then, it’s still stalled for takeoff.
- Hillary Clinton is calling for a 700% increase in solar production by 2020. Is this realistic without an ITC extension?.
- Massachusetts is not the only state whose growth is threatened by a net metering cap. New Hampshire, which took over a decade to reach 2MW of solar production, is nearing its 50MW net metering cap. Unlike Massachusetts, however, legislative action appears unlikely, at least for now. Too bad; this New Hampshire heavy office was digging that C&I rebate program for projects up to 500kW.
- Still think YieldCos are solar finance’s magic wand? TerraForm’s shares dropped 17% after its August 6 earnings call, and the debut of TerraForm Global fell short of expectations – currently selling at $10.20 per share. After going public at $21 per share, 8Point3 Energy Partners now trades just above $15.
- The Latin American solar market continues to boom, with over 363MW of utility-scale solar coming online in Q2 2015.
- Back from the dead? Commercial deals are starting to re-emerge in Hawaii after the Public Utilities Commission forced Hawaiian Electric Co. (HECO) to release the queue of interconnections that they froze last year. Proper diligence on the distribution circuit should still be conducted when one is applying for interconnection, and it is still important to set expectations; interconnection will still take much longer than it does in other states.
- Changes to Pacific Gas & Electric’s A-6 tariff have been delayed until the end of 2016. The changes may still slash economics for Northern California projects in the 75kW – 500kW range by about 30%, according to Sage Renewable Energy Consulting.
- It’s hot over there, yet the solar market is freezing. In Arizona, proposed changes to net metering would compensate facilities at wholesale rates for excess generation. Tucson Electric Power (TEP) withdrew this request but plans to pursue it once again for a 2017 rate case, and, here’s the kicker – they will request for the change to be retroactive to June 2015. Expect for this uncertainty to chill the market. Many developers that we work with are already flocking outside of Arizona in search of better opportunities.
ABOUT SOL SYSTEMS
Sol Systems is a solar energy finance and investment firm. The company has facilitated financing for 262MW of solar projects on behalf of Fortune 100 corporations, insurance companies, utilities, banks, family offices, and individuals. Sol Systems provides secure, sustainable investment opportunities to investor clients, and sophisticated project financing solutions to developers. The company’s tailored financial services range from tax structured investments and project acquisition, to debt financing and SREC portfolio management. Inc. Magazine named Sol Systems on its annual Inc. 500 list of the nation’s fastest-growing private companies for a second consecutive year, ranking it No. 6 in the nation’s top solar companies in 2014. For more information, please visit www.solsystems.com.