The Industry’s Eternal Shadow. Reuters does a good job of summarizing the current shadow over the solar industry. It seems that there is always something going on, ITC, net metering, or tariff for the second time. Based on what I heard about InterSolar, the show was smaller (by a whole level), no manufacturers and a general sense of pessimism. More importantly than the tariffs themselves, I think most solar contractors/developers would like some stability in the rules. The delays and unknowns cause more disruption than most policy decisions even when the policy decisions cause a reduction in market size.
The Impact of EVs. Assuming that the full scale of EVs does not include the ability to move energy from the car to the grid, power markets will have to adjust to the needs of transportation fuels. For the first time in the industrial age, utilities will compete with oil companies, two industrial sectors that have kept clear of each other for over a century. More importantly the grid operators will need to create the right price signals so the EVs and generators can adjust to the needs of the customers. If the customers don’t get the right price signals to turn on/off their demand, the market will not be able to brute force supply the needs of a transportation sector.
Well Wishes. Eric Wesoff wrote his good bye letter from Greentech Media. This publication has covered many of the articles over the years and we wish Eric well. There is no doubt that Eric was an editor with an opinion, if you pitched stories to him or his team you have encountered it first hand. We did share the tendency to hide in the press rooms in jeans and boots!
Panda, Panda, Panda!

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Yann


The Power Of Policy. After major policy shifts and changes in Nevada and Florida, permitting for solar is through the roof. While the baseline is obviously low and percentages are skewed, a shift up is definitely due to the combination of lower capital costs, reduced cost to install and regulatory frameworks that allow solar to compete. For the contractors that stay out of policy in their States, look at this and ask yourself. “What can I do for Vote Solar or my State SEIA chapter to help my business grow?”
First For Everything. The City of Tallahassee has its own power company. Not driven by shareholders, the City is looking to lower the cost of their energy by (wait for it), swapping solar for their existing hydro plant. At $85/MWh, Tallahassee sees $50/MWh solar being a better deal for the customers.
Pushing Back On Rate Increases. Normally a ratecase goes to the regulators and the Office of Public Counsel pushes back. It is becoming more and more politically acceptable and positive for politicians to make rate increases political. Prior to the availability of distributed generation that is cheap, politicians didn’t have a second option. The conversation is now changing.

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Energy Trade Action Coalition. As I was flying home on Friday, I saw a tweet from The Hill announcing a new coalition to fight against the solar tariffs. In reading the article, I was surprised that the quote didn’t come from SEIA or SEPA, but instead of the Heritage Foundation. One main aspect of the tariff petition that has scared me is that it creates a vehicle for Kochs et al to push solar backwards. Before Friday I would have assumed that Heritage would fall into that category regardless of the protectionism argument. Now things are a bit different, this could evolve into a globalism versus protectionism versus renewables argument.
Battery Chemistry. Whether we are talking about solar or battery technologies, the lab often times trails the market. We’ve spoken about this when Bill Gates talks about solving energy through R&D, I caution the reader to think about the underwriter and independent engineer. You can have great technology delivering better outcomes, but without capital backing the project you have nothing.
Solar in the Energy Portfolio. We are going to get to a spot in energy development where all fuel sources cost the same (for arguments sake). Why is it that solar plus storage is assumed to win above all other available sources? It isn’t because fuels have to be transported, stored and burned. It really comes to the flexibility in scale and profile that solar brings to the market. On the roof, on a parking lot, on a landfill; solar wins.

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Yann


Have you booked your trip to SPI yet? Should make for a good event, make sure you remember that it is at Mandalay Bay and not the convention center.
Would You Like A Flux Capacitor With That? Growing a bit tired of the solar wall articles given that the notion combines something that is a rather dumb use of solar plus the fact it should never happen. Unless the wall ends up with 1.21GW that allows us to go back in time, I hope reporters stop giving coverage to this. (I win)
Stacking Additional Reasons For California Investments. Governor Brown seems intent on making some lasting changes in energy in California. Creating an uncertainty on storage, transmission and supply of natural gas in California added with lack of extensions of contracts to peaking plants, California is all but putting an ad out for more solar plus storage in the news.
Renew Your Office Energy. Microsoft joins a long list of corporates that seeks to leave the grid and become more of a market maker and taker. When large users no longer align their values with monopolies, they will exercise their ability to create their own contracts much to the renewable energy industry’s wishes.

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Yann