Solar Innovation. I’m a startup guy at heart. It’s where I get most excited and I am always actively seeking out the companies in solar that are executing on innovation. Last week I had the pleasure of speaking with the CEO of Energy Toolbase, a startup that many of you know well. John and I spoke about what it takes to start a business in solar and where his customers are guiding the innovation. (Hint: more detail on energy storage) Energy Toolbase is offering a free trial, make sure you tell them you heard about it on SolarWakeup, they may even extend the trial for you if you ask nicely.
Help support SolarWakeup. If you are looking for investors or buyers of your projects, hit reply to this email and let us help you. Our expansive network is always looking to partner with you and helps us pay the bills to keep the newsletter free to you, as it has been for the past 4 years.
The solar spectrum. We already spoke about the acquisition of Sungevity last week. The owners are moving swiftly which makes it appear cautiously optimistic that a turnaround is being taken seriously. Sungevity is now Spectrum Solar, a new name and brand to wipe away the digital history. Unfortunately another 40 employees were let go, which happens in these situations. Once stabilized, I would assume the company to start hiring once again. This is likely a play to create a lead gen company, similar to the company that SolarCity acquired for over $100million a few years ago.
Make sure you listen to the latest episodes of EnergyWakeup. Hear from solar entrepreneur, John Gurski, the founder of Energy Toolbase, a cloud based energy bill analytics and proposal tool. I also speak with Tony Clifford from Standard Solar about being acquired by Gaz Metro and his work at SEIA.
March for Science. On Saturday, Earth Day, an amazing turn around for facts happened across America. My favorite part of the marches were the signs. Scientists are clever people and some have a great sense of humor. I did have an important takeaway. Here I saw thousands of people in the rain cheering on the speakers that spoke about the birds, the weather, the climate all around us. The problem was, who in that crowd needed to be convinced to be there? Who was wondering if scientific facts were indeed facts. We, as a solar industry, need to speak to regular people. Stop preaching and make solar mainstream. Making solar mainstream isn’t a price point, number of homes or total capacity. Mainstream is the moment when people in a deli don’t wonder how the industry works, but that it does.

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A deal for Florida. Last year, voters in Florida overwhelmingly approved a constitutional amendment that reduced tax barriers for those that install solar. The Senate sponsor moved a clean bill while the House added industry oversight and consumer protection language to the bill. Some of the language was copied verbatim from Florida Power & Light. Now there is a deal that shows some of the issues Florida solar is dealing with. Vote Solar, SEIA and SACE have come out in favor of the deal but it seems that FlaSEIA is not happy. Somewhat protectionist, you can see some of the quotes from FlaSEIA President about overnight solar companies.
Help support SolarWakeup. If you are looking for investors or buyers of your projects, hit reply to this email and let us help you. Our expansive network is always looking to partner with you and helps us pay the bills to keep the newsletter free to you, as it has been for the past 4 years.
No soup for you. As we imagined, ARPA-E and other innovation funding channels are being put on hold. More newsworthy is the delaying of funding allocations for projects that were already approved and put into the budget in FY16. ARPA-E and programs like SunShot do the work that private sector won’t and anyone that has received money from them will tell you that it is very tightly managed. I hope the Secretary Perry is able to come through with his statements to the SEIA board and do right by the industry.
Make sure you listen to the latest episodes of EnergyWakeup. I speak with Tony Clifford about being acquired by Gaz Metro and his work at SEIA. Google is now at 100% renewables, how do they do it and what is next? Sam Arons talks to SolarWakeup.
VC are you with me? I vividly remember Abe Yokell speaking at one of my first conferences in the 2008/2009 timeframe and the crazy notion that he wanted 10x returns on his money. Now he is out with a new fund, having raised $50million to pursue more cleantech. I applaud him for sticking to the industry with a bit of jealousy given that I would absolutely love to do the same. I speak with many of you about your ideas and visions for the market. While not all have the ability to get big, so many of them could be if they are nurtured and helped along their way. Solar will not have a photo app exit but it very well could yield the 10x returns that investors look for.

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Solar guy and coal miner walk into a Kentucky bar. No, this isn’t the start of a bad joke. A coal mine operator is working with EDF Renewable Energy to develop two 50-100MW solar farms on old coal mines. This isn’t a new concept, I personally know of projects in the UK and Canada that have worked on this but do it in the US, in Kentucky, and you have yourself an interesting concept. Question for the readers, have any of your received investment from or sold a project to a coal company?
Help support SolarWakeup. If you are looking for investors or buyers of your projects, hit reply to this email and let us help you. Our expansive network is always looking to partner with you and helps us pay the bills to keep the newsletter free to you, as it has been for the past 4 years.
Policy for Storage. Ten years ago, IREC was leading the charge to explain net metering to regulators. Yesterday they released a guide for energy storage policy to do the same for the next iteration of our market. Storage needs to learn lessons from solar and short circuit (no pun intended) the learning curve. Too many of the mistakes made in solar appear to be done again but we can learn on the policy side because with storage, there are even more benefits for consumers that can be added to the benefits of net metering.
Make sure you listen to the latest episodes of EnergyWakeup. I speak with Tony Clifford about being acquired by Gaz Metro and his work at SEIA. Google is now at 100% renewables, how do they do it and what is next? Sam Arons talks to SolarWakeup.
An answer for Perry. A few months ago, I did some research on potential DOE Secretaries and came across the name of James Conaughton who was part of the Bush administration. At a conference Conaughton made the case to open up the energy markets in more geographies similar to the PJM RTO. While Perry is worried about grid supply, MISO ran an auction and the market supplied the needed energy and power and cleared the pricing in a competitive process. Give the markets a pricing signal and markets will answer. Perry should know better because ERCOT clears pricing for energy and capacity every single day.

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A Nevada update. I spoke with Assembly Brooks yesterday to get an update on solar policy in Nevada. He is the sponsor of and in the middle of the 3 key bills that are in play. AB 206, AB 270 and AB 405. Here are the takeaways:
-          AB206 is an increase of the RPS to 50% as discussed on the podcast
-          AB270 is return of net metering establishing a rate formula, removing the cap and minimum bill
-          AB405 is related to consumer protections and solar bill of rights
-          The bills have been granted a waiver, which means they are released from certain deadlines. This takes coordination and support from the leaders of the Assembly and Senate. This is a positive.
-          AB270 (NEM) and AB405 are essentially tied together, it will likely mean both pass or fail
-          The Governor has not commented on the bill which is not uncommon for him but he has been vocal when he does not like a bill, which could mean that he will likely not veto the bill if it passes.
-          NV Energy has been lobbying against the bills and the Gaming and Resort Association has come out against it as well. GRA is more surprising given that the casinos have been vocal advocate to leave the IOU for more access to RE.
-          Assemblyman Brooks is optimistic that all three bills will pass
Taking podcast inventory. If you haven’t yet, I would ask for your feedback about the EnergyWakeup podcast. You can see all the episodes on this page which include interviews with Google about their procurement of renewable energy, getting the insight from legislators on pending changes to State rules and hearing from SEIA and affiliated State chapters. In the coming weeks you will hear from entrepreneurs working on software to lower solar soft costs and more State leaders. We’ve got requests out to some big names, so the more you listen, rate and review, the more helpful it is for us.
Help support SolarWakeup. If you are looking for investors or buyers of your projects, hit reply to this email and let us help you. Our expansive network is always looking to partner with you and helps us pay the bills to keep the newsletter free to you, as it has been for the past 4 years.
Unfortunate news from Georgia. Suniva has filed for bankruptcy protection. The company was acquired by Shunfeng last year, which also owns Suntech. Module prices have plummeted recently, bids coming in at the low 30s which makes it very difficult for high efficiency modules that have to sell at a premium. Just look at Sunpower’s issues to see some of the similarities, except Suniva never entered the project business. I’m sure a turnaround is going to happen, let’s watch this space.
Make sure you listen to the latest episodes of EnergyWakeup. I speak with Tony Clifford about being acquired by Gaz Metro and his work at SEIA. Google is now at 100% renewables, how do they do it and what is next? Sam Arons talks to SolarWakeup.
Acquirer for Sungevity. Northern Pacific Group has received approval from the courts to acquire the Sungevity assets for $50million in addition to taking over the liabilities and assets. Expect the assets to be liquidated quickly to recapitalize the business. Good news for the company and the employees that received their unpaid wages. Making bad situations right is important, glad to see this going into the right direction. Now, does anyone know anything about Northern Pacific that would like to give me some background?

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