This is your SolarWakeup for April 18th, 2017

Getting off the sideline. When I spoke with Tony Clifford I asked him why he thought Standard Solar was able to get acquired in a sea of available targets. He thought that being an active policy participant was a big part of it in addition to having happy customers. It can’t be understated that when a company has a senior executive spending a lot of time on policy work, they are making a time and financial investment on something intangible that also helps your competition. If you open a market, new companies come in and are able to take advantage. I hope that other companies look at Standard Solar and take a turn away from being quiet on policy to get vocal about taking positions. You have to listen to the podcast to see what else we discussed!
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Solar has work to do. I read the interview in the Atlantic and felt the usual tensing up while I read silly stuff. GE ‘used’ to be in solar. The US only makes 3% of the world’s solar panels. Oil companies have long left solar. On and on and on. Maybe our industry needs to do more public relations work and speak to Americans and reporters. Maybe we need a full time communications person that speaks to editorial boards in Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania and kitchen tables across America to explain the solar industry. We have work to do. Don’t read the article with opposition to the messenger, he has faults, instead read the content with a renewed energy to evangelize.
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.
Scary stuff for IOUs. First it was the IPPs losing robust merchant markets. Now large corporations are taking the IOUs to task. Interestingly this isn’t about cost of energy, the longstanding focus has been on cost and reliability. Now the Fortune 100 are saying, we want more renewables and we want it faster. Whether it was Google pushing Duke in NC, Vegas casinos leaving NV Energy or Microsoft bypassing PSE; corporate America wants renewable energy for their operations. Next step they want it everywhere they use energy and soon they will want renewables to match their energy loads at all times. Hold on to your horses.

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Yann


This is your SolarWakeup for April 17th, 2017

The point of policy. I spoke with Tony Clifford from Standard Solar. His company was one of the few that has been successfully sold to an international energy company. I was curious about Tony’s work at SEIA and MDVSEIA both of which he has been very active in. In an environment where the Energy department is going anti-renewables in their reports, according to a new memo from Secretary Perry, SEIA is on the defensive, as Tony put it. We also talk about the partnership with SEPA and how revenues from SPI are split. But you have to listen to the podcast to see what Tony had to say.
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.
Leaving Paris? Next week we may find out who is holding on to influence in the White House. Scott Pruitt told Fox News that the US should leave the Paris agreement. Global politics may come into play as well given that China may have some problem with us leaving after being reluctantly pushed into it by the Obama administration. Interesting times in politics when you want Exxon to use its political influence to help push for policy.
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.
What’s the deal with NYT? We have to do a better job explaining solar to mainstream America. We have over 200million supporters in the US and over 75% approval from either party. NY Times writes an editorial which leads with a broad negative recap of solar investing. If you read the entire article, it probably was meant for solar stocks, which have not done well as a whole. On the other hand, hundreds of billions have been deployed in project capital returning well above market returns to those investors. We, you and I, need to figure out how we can leverage the mass support we have. Being pro-solar should be more politically and editorially advantageous than being pro-fossil fuel.

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Yann


Tony Clifford from Standard Solar: Being acquired by Gaz Metro and working on SEIA

Tony Clifford has been with Standard Solar for over a decade, spending much of his time as the CEO until stepping aside late in 2016. This wasn’t his first time in solar, having worked for Solarex and BP Solar in the Carter/Reagan years. What are the parallels between the Carter/Reagan transition to those between Obama/Trump when it comes to solar? Standard Solar was recently acquired by Gaz Metro, a diversified energy company based in Montreal, which also owns Green Mountain Power. Tony and I discuss how the process played out and how Standard Solar was able to stand out amongst … Read More


This is your SolarWakeup for April 14th, 2017

Strike Three in Juno Beach. I know it’s hard for many of you to say anything because Juno Beach is on your target customer list but NextEra is having a really bad year. First strike came when CEO, Jim Robo, wanted to buy HECO which was turned down by regulators and pushed back against by local. Two came when NextEra through its regulated utility, FPL, pushed an anti-solar amendment with millions of dollars. They went as far as using firefighters to lie about the amendment without their knowledge causing the ad to be pulled. Strike three comes yesterday when Texas regulators voted to reject the purchase of Oncor by NextEra. It seems to me that NextEra is suffering from an irreparable lack of trust with regulators. Management has shown that it is willing to do just about anything to get quarterly numbers to match. I’m surprised that shareholders haven’t asked why the continued failures are happening, after all Jim Robo is known for his lack of patience for failures.
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.
Get the PURPA out of here. Once there was a CEO at Duke, he loved coal and ratebase so much that when he retired he wanted to go back to his youth and become a solar entrepreneur. Now he sits on the board of SEPA. The culture at Duke has not changed at all, in many ways still living up to the normal way of doing business. Earlier this year, after extended pushback on solar applications for qualifying facilities, Duke made the case that solar contracts under PURPA should be much shorter, rendering them unfinanceable. Now, for the good of the consumer, Duke wants to spend $13billion, with a b, on new infrastructure. How about letting consumers put solar on their roofs and businesses; investors fund solar farms and generating revenues for North Carolina’s land owners? That way the infrastructure gets paid by the market or doesn’t need to get built at all.
Make sure you listen to the latest episodes of EnergyWakeup. Google is now at 100% renewables, how do they do it and what is next? Sam Arons talks to SolarWakeup. We also speak with OSEIA Director about Oregon’s solarmarket.
The EPA. Don’t take your eyes off of this. The EPA is being absolutely gutted. Touting jobs from a coal mine, Scott Pruitt is ignoring the solar jobs to move forward the rules that help coal companies. There is much more here that is very disheartening and not what Trump voters wanted.

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Have a great day!
Yann