This is your SolarWakeup for February 27th, 2017

A deadline for cleantech startups. Free Electrons is a new program that Danny Kennedy told us about on EnergyWakeup podcast last week. There is a deadline to apply on February 28th for companies that work to disrupt the utility space. The program is a global endeavor with partners from the world’s largest utilities. These companies, as Danny Kennedy told us, understand the future lies in renewables and their business will be transformed. By getting ahead of the curve and working with these innovators, the utility executives know they are helping their shareholders.
Events you can’t miss. I can’t speak more highly of the two organizations I have been working with from my very first day in solar. Vote Solar and IREC were both there when I flew to Tallahassee in 2007 and together wrote the net metering policies that have created a solid baseline for our market here. The nuanced regulatory fights, grassroots activation, workforce education and public education costs money and does good for our industry we must support. Do this today please. BUY A TICKET to IREC’s Impact @35 and Vote Solar’s Equinox. Even if you don’t go, buy a ticket (preferable the most expensive one).
The Big F Deal. Couple of highlights from the big deal of the week. AES is buying sPower with AIMco, the Alberta pension fund. This is AIMco’s second endeavor into renewables after putting $500million with DE Shaw RE Fund. My first observation is that this is probably not the number one choice outcome for sPower. They likely preferred a private yieldco with the pension fund but it seems that the pension fund wanted a large sponsor to stay at the top of the ticket. AES is a decent partner, they have large exposure to the space already but they have also exited from large scale development platforms when they sold Silver Ridge to SunEdison. This also isn’t surprising, CohnReznick’s Conor McKenna teased this in our interview a few weeks ago that pension funds were looking hard.
The Pricing on sPower. Breaking down the pricing on this is hard because we only get top line numbers. 1.274GW for $853million in cash and assumption of $724million in project debt. Doing the numbers, assuming standard tax equity terms, you get to about $2/watt of project valuations. The pipeline could or could not be in these numbers but instead in an earnout to the current owner FirTree. At a high level it seems like a win for FirTree having deployed the capital, making some acquisitions and exiting the development platform. Maybe FirTree Principals will now go big into another segment of solar now.

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Yann


This is your SolarWakeup for February 24th, 2017

Covering Innovation. Danny Kennedy has been in solar for a long time and hes been fighting for the clean energy economy for decades. Now he is leading CALCEF and deploying capital and grants to the best and brightest trying to change the world and our industries. We spoke to Danny in our latest EnergyWakeup about his funds and how the capital can get into entrepreneur’s hands. Next week is the deadline for a great program called Free Electrons (freeelectrons.co) which is funded in partnership with the World’s largest utilities. If you are in the utility space, get your application in ASAP.
Pot meet kettle. The economist got this one wrong, very wrong. While highlighting the huge growth of the renewable energy space it pointed out that the marginal value of most solar and wind is zero. The next electron doesn’t cost anything to produce. So instead, the article says the market needs to subsidize solar and wind to keep it profitable. That’s crazy talk. What the market will move to is proper price signaling. A more transparent market will lead to more choice and lower cost for consumers in all segments of the market.

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Yann


EnergyWakeup – Danny Kennedy From CALCEF On Cleantech Startup Investing and Innovating Utilities

This episode is sponsored by Conductive Capital, a distributed generation platform with tax efficient capital. In this episode we speak to Danny Kennedy, managing director of CALCEF (calcef.org) and President of CalCharge. Danny has gone from activist to entrepreneur and now investor, fighting for a clean energy future for many decades. CALCEF is the fund that is deploying early stage dollars into clean energy startups in a time when working with early stage companies could not be more important. We talk about the most pressing issues in the space and what kind of companies they are looking to fund. In … Read More


This is your SolarWakeup for February 23rd, 2017

Electrify everything! I’ve been saying it for years and I’ll say it again. Solar needs to let utilities fight with the oil lobby and step out of the way. Once electric cars tick up the demand, solar will be there to fill the need.
Who pitched it? I hate this story with a passion. It was pitched by someone with an agenda enough with data to make the New York Times run with it. Last year, the same reporter ran a bad story about net metering in California and now this. The anti-Elon Musk lobby is real and here you see it in action.
SunEdison C&I is revived. Mitsui has acquired the team from SunEdison. Glad to see that happen and looking forward to see how those things progress.

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Have a great day!
Yann