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 November 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.
California – Protests are picking up in California in anticipation of the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) ruling on net metering 2.0., which will take effect when each utility reaches their net energy metering (NEM) caps. Last week, a coalition of energy, environmental, business, faith, labor, and consumer groups delivered 130,000 signatures in support of net metering to the CPUC. As a reminder, San Diego Gas and Electric could hit their cap in mid-2016, Southern California Edison in Q1 2017, and Pacific Gas and Electric in the third quarter of 2016. The CPUC is expected to make a decision on net metering by the end of the year.
New York – The commercial and industrial (C&I) market continues to struggle in the Empire State. Projects are being sold with too low PPAs to speculative, inexperienced, and/or overly bullish investors who are unable to execute at the low rates. Then, these projects are reappearing in the market, stuck in limbo and unlikely to move forward. During the six-month stakeholder check-up at the end of October, we joined NYSEIA, ACE NY, and SEIA in suggesting several potential fixes to the Megawatt Block program for C&I. Of the potential changes, the requests for NYSERDA to raise the incentive levels were, understandably, met with requests for more examples of project economics from other companies operating in the state. As such, we are asking that developers submit their comments and project economics assumptions to email@example.com. We believe an increase to incentive levels is necessary to sustain the New York market through the end of 2016 and beyond. So please, speak up!
North Carolina – By now, the grandfathering deadline has passed for North Carolina projects eligible for the 35% state tax credit. Projects that did not receive grandfathering status will need to be placed in service by December 31, 2015 to receive the state tax credit. Even without the state tax credit, we expect 2016 to be another strong year in the nation’s #4 solar market for companies that can efficiently structure deals. Interestingly, the structures utilized there can and are being employed in other PURPA-friendly states. If the federal ITC steps down at the end of 2016, however, North Carolina could slip out of reach for many investors. On the bright side, Senator Burr, the senior Republican Senator from North Carolina, has been vocal in his support for solar and the extension of the federal investment tax credit. At the Conservative Clean Energy Summit in October, he explained why. “Let me sum it up in one word: jobs,” he said.
- Host customers are increasingly becoming interested in storage. We know because hosts have requested a storage analysis as part of several recent RFPs that we have bid into with partners. Whether the storage component actually moves forward on the project is another story, but the interest from consumers is there.
- Enphase Energy continues to face increased competition as SolarEdge rises; its Q4 projections show lowered expectations. Why are there so few bankable inverter manufacturers?
- “There is a lot of support for [the ITC].The policy is working, it is good, and we have Republican support.” –Lynn Jurich, CEO of Sunrun, at the GTM U.S. Solar Market Insight conference.
- Interconnection bottlenecks continue to delay placed in service deadlines. Lately, National Grid in New York and Massachusetts, WMECO, and Xcel seem to be the most problematic. Don’t let a utility’s interconnection delays derail you next year; otherwise, you may miss the ITC’s December 31, 2016 placed in service deadline. Meanwhile, National Grid is rumored to have said it will guarantee a 12/31/2016 interconnection for any projects that submit their paperwork by the end of this year. Regardless of the utility territory you’re operating in submit your necessary interconnection documentation as soon as you are able. With 2017 in mind, it’s interconnect or bust.
- Our engineering team is a fan of SunPower’s new Helix product. In addition to streamlining equipment procurement by providing most materials for a PV project in a turn-key kit, it increases the PV capacity that can be installed on a typical rooftop, which in turn, helps decrease the $/W cost. All of the components are high quality, and the assembly has been value-engineered to simplify connections and wiring, helping to reduce assembly time. Lastly, it’s a tier 1 SunPower product using SMA inverters, another tier 1 product. Well done.
- The Department of Energy released a new report regarding the impact of climate change on energy infrastructure. According to the report, electric grid operations and infrastructure in every region across the United States are vulnerable to a changing climate. Even oil and gas operations are vulnerable, especially in the Southeast, Southern Great Plains, and Alaska.
ABOUT SOL SYSTEMS
Sol Systems is a solar energy finance and investment firm. The company has facilitated financing for over 375MW 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.