The SOL SOURCE, November 2016

17 Nov 2016

The SOL SOURCE is a monthly journal that our team distributes to our network of clients and solar stakeholders. Our newsletter contains energy statistics from current real-life renewables projects, trends, and observations gained through monthly interviews with our team, and it incorporates news from a variety of industry resources.

Below, we have included excerpts from the November 2016 edition. To receive future Journals, please subscribe or email


The following statistics represent some high-quality solar projects and portfolios that we are actively reviewing for investment.

Have a solar project in need of financing? Our team can provide a pricing quote for you here.




Florida  Positive news on election night came from Florida, which was able to beat back Amendment 1, a “wolf in sheep’s clothing” ballot initiative that tricked many Sunshine State residents into thinking they were voting in support of solar energy growth. Proponents of the amendment spent approximately $24 million on their failed attempt to dismantle net metering in the state, which has very little rooftop penetration. Given its rooftop potential, Florida could be a top 3 solar state. Instead, only 312MW have been installed to date. This is approximately half the cumulative installed capacity of the Hawaiian Islands, putting the Sunshine State at #14 overall.

This is the second victory for solar energy advocates in the Sunshine State this year. In August, a ballot initiative paving the way for property tax abatement legislation won with overwhelming support. While the rooftop solar industry is nascent, SEIA predicts 2,315MW in capacity over the next five years.

Maryland – 2016 has been a challenging year for solar development in Maryland. Since the start of the year, solar renewable energy certificate (SREC) prices have fallen from well over $100/SREC to under $20. While residential build has sustained so far – up to 107MW over 100MW in 2015 – one-off behind the meter projects on schools, religious institutions, and commercial buildings are challenging to build unless they can be grouped together in a larger portfolio (e.g. a school district). Even large ground mount projects are challenging to pencil with such low SREC prices.  Though economics can be improved if projects are paired with a remote PPA for a corporation or other institution, only differentially advantaged systems (with unusually low land costs or interconnection) make the cut.

Looking into 2017, the industry is hopeful for an override of HB1106, a bill from the 2016 session that would have increased the RPS to 25 percent and slightly expanded the solar carve-out. Governor Larry Hogan vetoed the bill right before the Memorial Day holiday weekend. While HB1106 was by no means aggressive – and it will provide some price support to this very tight market, which is home to approximately 4,300 solar industry workers. Without the override, we can expect prices to fall even closer to Tier 1 levels, on par with Pennsylvania and Ohio. The days of $60 Maryland SRECs are gone forever unless aggressive RPS legislation can be passed.

New York – A draft implementation plan has been released for the 50 percent Clean Energy Standard (CES), which has been championed by Governor Cuomo. The CES will be key for jumpstarting development of large scale solar in the state, currently almost nonexistent (with the exception of a few projects). While solar must compete with other Tier 1 technologies such as wind, biogas, and hydroelectric power in the procurements. Bids will be evaluated on other criteria besides price, including project viability, peak coincidence, and the economic development benefits that a given project can bring to the state (i.e. short-term employment).

The REC procurements – which are to be administered by NYSERDA – could either be very, very large with – 943,000 RECs for 2017 to not so large – at 56,000. So, somewhere in that 40 to 800MW range… The industry and NYSERDA are awaiting clarity from the Department of Public Service on this matter. The first procurement is set to take place in spring 2017.


  • We’re just going to leave this right here.
  • SREC prices continue to converge with Tier 1 REC pricing in the most oversupplied markets. While solar carve-outs were designed for this convergence, it was not expected to happen so quickly. Maryland, if the veto override does not proceed, will join the ranks of Ohio and Pennsylvania, where this convergence is already happening. For reference, PA SRECs are trading at $7.50/SREC. Moving forward, robust Tier 1 renewable targets will play an increasingly critical role in sustained solar growth.
  • And the backlash continues… Nevada voters approved a ballot initiative asking for the deregulation of the state’s electricity market, a path that would allow consumers to source their electricity from renewable sources. While the road to deregulation will no doubt be a long one, the backlash from the state’s earlier decisions regarding net metering and highly publicized “exit fees” imposed by the utility for those who want to pursue renewables, is very present in this state.
  • The U.S. installs trackers more than other countries, almost doubling China, number 2 on the list, in installs. (Source: GTM Research)
  • Solar’s footprint is rapidly expanding, and states with decent insolation and moderate power prices are on every developer’s target list – or will be soon. We have been seeing a trickle in of projects in non-traditional solar states, namely, the Midwest. Are the lines between “solar states” and non-solar states beginning to blur?
  • It’s that time again. As the industry rushes to meet Q4 closing deadlines, developers and financiers are also starting to line up 2017 pipeline. At Sol Systems, we are starting to vet project opportunities from developers interested in PPA financing or tax equity for large, high-quality credit commercial or distributed utility portfolios. Developers in need of financing can contact our team at, and we will get back to you with indicative pricing.
  • As attractive markets become more crowded, and as incentive values decline in other traditional solar states, we are seeing a fair number of what used to be “good enough” ground mount solar projects that no longer pencil. In this new world, ground mounts that used to pass the test are not always cutting it. Projects must have optimal land, and interconnection and local taxation must be differentially priced to beat out other projects.
  • It’s more important than ever for the solar industry to stand up and be counted. Submit your latest employee data to the Solar Jobs Census.


Sol Systems, a national solar finance and development firm, delivers sophisticated, customized services for institutional, corporate, and municipal customers. Sol is employee-owned, and has been profitable since inception in 2008. Sol is backed by Sempra Energy, a $25+ billion energy company.

Over the last eight years, Sol Systems has delivered more than 500 MW of solar projects for Fortune 100 companies, municipalities, universities, churches, and small businesses. Sol now manages over $650 million in solar energy assets for utilities, banks, and Fortune 500 companies.

Inc. 5000 recognized Sol Systems in its annual list of the nation’s fastest-growing private companies for four consecutive years. For more information, please visit

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Sara Rafalson

Sara Rafalson