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 October 2015 edition. To receive future Journals, please email email@example.com.
PROJECT FINANCE STATISTICS
The following statistics represent some high-quality solar projects and portfolios that we are actively reviewing for investment.
Georgia – After legalizing PPAs with HB 57, Georgia is still figuring out its kinks. Since Georgia measures avoided cost rates instead of using net metering, host selection is somewhat limited. We are particularly interested in projects coming out of the Georgia Power Advanced Solar Initiative Distributed Generation Program (ASI DG ). Even those projects with the right load profile, size, and roof conditions, must have a credit-worthy offtake. This is one area that Sol has focused on extensively the past few years, and we can finance projects with non-traditional credit profiles. Meanwhile, bids for projects under 100kW in ASI DG Program came in undersubscribed, and developers still have until October 27 to find sites to fulfill the remaining 5.7MW. Just keep in mind that making projects pencil for these small projects is tough, and developers who can build cheaply – for around $1.60/W – will have the best shot at bringing these projects to fruition.
Massachusetts – National Grid’s waiting list for the public and private net metering caps combined now hovers around 90MW. Still, there are commercial projects – mostly rooftops – getting done in the Commonwealth. In National Grid territory, developers are submitting projects as qualifying facilities (QFs), so long as they are sized to match the customer’s on-site demand more or less evenly. Anything that spills over to the grid may be sold at wholesale prices. Developers also continue to line up projects that don’t fit the QF mold hoping that they can apply for a net metering allocation when (or if) the caps are raised. Of course, we are also still seeing projects in WMECO and NStar territory, though sites are getting tougher and tougher to find. On the legislative front, Governor Baker expressed his support for lifting the net metering caps at the end of September, but the industry still awaits action. Nevertheless, optimism remains among developers that the caps will be lifted. As the industry races to December 31, 2016, the pressure is on.
Rhode Island – The second solicitation of the Renewable Energy Growth program for solar energy projects 26kW and larger is open for applications until October 30. The program is competitively bid, and we recommend for developers to reach out to our team for advice on pricing before submission. Given high electricity prices, pricing will be attractive.
After falling slightly short of its 40MW goal in 2014, the first solicitation of the program awarded an impressive 13MW. Outside of the feed-in tariff program, we are even seeing some smaller behind-the-meter projects with a PPA. Rhode Island’s shaping up to be a great “bonus” market for New England developers looking for opportunity outside of traditional markets such as Massachusetts (with its net metering caps), New York (where C&I deals have trouble penciling), and Connecticut (where development is “lumpy” and largely coincides with ZREC solicitations). Developers, if you have customers or connections with buildings or sites within Rhode Island, don’t scratch those projects off your list. This market is worth a look.
- Did you hear? Presidential hopeful Martin O’Malley called for an extension of the solar ITC in last week’s Democratic debate, while Bernie Sanders called climate change the biggest threat to our national security.
- Interesting fodder from the NYT editorial board: what if policy lifting the ban on oil exports is, as a compromise, paired with a PTC/ITC extension? Fair exchange of bargaining chips?
- A special committee out of Ohio has recommended for the state’s renewable portfolio and efficiency standards to be kept frozen indefinitely. Even Governor Kasich, who is currently running for President, called the results “unacceptable.” As a reminder, an RPS freeze is OH affects solar in PA, IN, and even Virginia. Here’s a refresher explaining why.
- After a grassroots movement led by the Community Power Network shut down the $6.4 billion Pepco – Exelon merger, D.C. Mayor Bowser has negotiated a deal reopen the proceedings. Now, it’s back in the hands of the D.C. Public Service Commission to approve; the PSC initially rejected the deal in August.
- Don’t forget (as if you could): the race to 2017 is on. Get in your equipment orders early, and avoid future shortages. With a hard deadline of December 31, 2016, projects cannot afford any bottleneck.
- As has happened in the past, several projects that won awards in Connecticut’s ZREC solicitation dropped out, likely because they bid in at prices too low to pencil. As always, we recommend for developers to check in with us on pricing before submitting into competitive solicitations; we are happy to help.
ABOUT SOL SYSTEMS
Sol Systems is a solar energy finance and investment firm. The company has facilitated financing for 333MW 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.