This is your SolarWakeup for October 9th, 2017

SolarWakeup Live! Boston tickets are still available and early bird pricing of only $50 per ticket is ending soon. Get yours now and spread the word please.

Doing Good or Doing Well in Puerto Rico? Elon and Governor of Puerto Rico spoke after a Twitter conversation about rebuilding the grid in PR. The technical challenge in PR is imminently solvable. We should be having this conversation but the focus should be on doing good things to rebuild Puerto Rico, not get some free press. Outside of a few pilot projects and FEMA dollars, there is likely little work for the solar industry directly because there aren’t any paying customers.

Debt Is The Real Problem. Solving the technical problems will stay on the drawing board short of solving the PREPA credit issue. PREPA has no access to capital and its primary customer, the Puerto Rican government, doesn’t have much credit either. With bonds trading at under 40 cents on the dollar, the debt will have to be fixed in order to bring new capital to the island. Solar has been sitting on PPAs for years with almost no takers, most PPAs well above 10 cents per kWh too.

Run An Auction. My first obvious choice was for NextEra to take over PREPA. At further thought, it should be a competition and given the political risk and language barrier, it probably wouldn’t be NEE. On the other hand, some other operator should still follow the game plan, someone with access to debt. Engie makes sense amongst some others, so let’s run an auction to see who’s interested. Package the process with debt write downs and loan guarantees to attract the right people.

Cities and Corporates Want Solar. Franchise agreements between municipalities and IOUs come up for renewable every 10 years normally.  The same way that Facebook wants solar for its data centers, Cities want options for their buildings and the businesses in their jurisdiction. When the IOUs don’t give customers what they want, they will get it themselves. Also cities are incentivized to enter into long term PPAs at low costs, no ratebase, no incentive to grow demand, the interests of provider and consumer are aligned. Watch this space…

SEIA Takes Argument To The People. The point was made at the ITC hearing by O’Sullivan of NextEra. Any remedy imposed on the solar industry will be paid by the people across America. Consumers will pay more and get the same exact product. They’ll pay more on energy contracts, they’ll pay more when people lose their jobs and aren’t paying taxes and they’ll pay more by making less with greater competition in the job market. SEIA is rightfully taking the argument to the American people.


Have a great day!