Market Volatility

Don’t call it a comeback. PA and NJ have been here for years.

Don’t call it a comeback; we’ve been here for years. Pennsylvania and New Jersey, the poster children for solar market volatility, are making a comeback.

After dipping to a market low of $70/SREC in 2012, New Jersey solar renewable energy credits (SRECs) hit $285/SREC for three-year contracts; that’s better than the Massachusetts SREC II program, where we are currently offering $210/SREC for 4 years. This rally has been occurring for the last several years, ever since Governor Christie signed legislation (another example of Republican support for renewable energy) to adjust the state’s renewable portfolio standard (RPS). Still, when we compare the amount of deal flow we see from SREC-rich Massachusetts (even with 100MW  on the waiting list in National Grid territory), the amount of pipeline we see from New Jersey is nowhere near comparable. (For further background: It’s time to ask the wallflowers to the dance.)

Pennsylvania hasn’t experienced the same SREC price bump that New Jersey has; on the contrary, prices have plummeted due to the Ohio RPS freeze, and an even further oversupply caused by North Carolina projects in PJM territory selling SRECs into PA’s borders. SREC prices now hover below $10 for ten-year contracts. Years ago when the market first began to fall (and many companies went out of business), SREC contracts near $10 per SREC would never have let projects to pencil. Since the market crash, however, technology costs have continued to drop, and solar can once again compete with the cost of conventional power. Ground mount deals with municipal utilities are starting to re-emerge, especially in the middle of the state where land is abundant and affordable. The guaranteed SREC revenue is a helpful boost to margins, and we have seen PPAs going for between 6.5 and 9 cents per kWh.

Look out, world. These comeback kids are back on the map. Check ‘em out.

This is an excerpt from our November edition of SOURCE: the Sol Project Finance Journal, a monthly electronic newsletter analyzing the solar industry’s latest trends based on our unique position in the solar financing space. To view the full Journal or subscribe, please e-mail pr@solsystems.com.

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