This is your SolarWakeup for February 16th, 2017

Political Strategy. We discussed this on EnergyWakeup, that the solar policy teams and politicians that support solar don’t push the envelope hard enough. It doesn’t mean that you have to get that ideal outcome on day one, but it makes the forward progress seem like a negotiated settlement. It’s crucial that with the public support the industry gets, that we help politicians file bills that go above and beyond today’s standards.

Today’s Newsletter is sponsored by Conductive Capital, a distributed generation platform with tax efficient capital looking to acquire your projects.

Tax reform. I asked Conor McKenna from CohnReznick this exact question because tax reform can throw a solar model sideways for tax equity investors. This should impact ITC except reducing future demand for the credits. The main cause of discomfort is the cash value of the depreciation if the tax rates are reduced. Keep watching this space, Speaker Ryan says that tax reform is going to be taken up late spring and summer of this Congressional session.

The Path for Utilities. Who knew? It would take Kansas City Power & Light is putting in 1,000 EV charging stations across its service area. Kansas regulators declined the request to ratebase the $20million investment and Missouri has yet to rule but the utility appears to move forward regardless. This is a smart use of shareholder capital because they already have the credit and collection mechanism to charge users for the energy and growing sales will mean more ratebase investments for power plants or infrastructure once everyone drives an EV.

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Yann


This is your SolarWakeup for February 15th, 2017

2016, What a year! Congrats to everyone for a stunning achievement. We blew by 10GW and ended the year with over 14.6GW of total capacity.
The Florida Way. After a constitutional amendment passes in Florida, it shall not immediately be so. The legislature has to pass an implementation bill outlining how it becomes law. Amendment 4 was the commercial property tax exemption that was voted on overwhelmingly by the voters and now a bill is starting to move. The legislature starts in March and goes for 60 days. The only required bill that Florida legislators have to pass is the budget, expected to top $80bb this year but don’t miss the fireworks because there is some infighting already.
Iowa! Wouldn’t it be great if solar becomes a thing in Iowa? The first in the nation State with solar policy to campaign on? It’s worth the fight for the solar industry just for that in my opinion.
NRG Activists. No, not the type you saw on TV campaigning against coal plants. This time you have activist investors getting themselves on the board. I find it peculiar that NRG touts its greenness, of which they have stuff to talk about, when they need to deploy capital with good returns. But when it comes to blaming the issues the company has, it somehow always goes back to David Crane and his ‘crazy’ ideas about electric vehicles and solar panels. I’d like Mauricio to stand up and explain that the green NRG makes NRG money!

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Yann


This is your SolarWakeup for February 14th, 2017

Time for Corporations to lead. I’ve been a vocal advocate for the disaggregation of solar production and solar consumption. Community solar does a lot of that but always relies on the regulatory body to ensure the rules don’t change. Corporate offtakers through financial transactions like contracts for difference or energy hedges. Getting the markets to drive these segment is crucial to its longevity and investments, because companies making deals to make money is the best subsidy there is.
Digging deep on tax equity. Tax equity is the cheapest and most expensive money at the same time. It requires complicated structuring that takes advisors and cash from the sponsor. Without the ITC our industry would be suffering through a bad time right now so when I saw the announcement that SolarReserve was able to get $78million for a concentrating solar plant with molten salt storage, I was intrigued. Listen to my conversation with the financial advisor on the deal, CohnReznick, to hear about the complexities and how it got done.
20 Governors. Have sent a letter to the President urging to continue on a path for more solar and wind. One interesting mention is the value generated for land owners from rent for those power plants. Let’s watch this space and see where it goes.

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Yann


This is your SolarWakeup for February 13th, 2017

Turn the LePage. There is a serious problem in Government when executives have a problem with not having a dictatorship. Study after study shows that net metering is the best policy when it comes to merging fair with simple. Most States would have to create a time of use structure that ends up more financially attractive to solar customers if they really looked at the value of solar. LePage calling for the resignations of the regulators is the least crazy thing the Governor has done but good grief it’s time for him to go.
Spectators sit on the sidelines. Arizona looks like a mess to me. Solar doesn’t lose much but ahead of crucial votes that kill markets, the policy teams were pitching and organizing hard until a year ago. Now there are nothing but crickets. No marches, no pickets and no news stories. Just bad decisions. I’m tired of hearing that solar needs to be a market player and negotiate common ground, when was the last time that the NRA gave up so easily or negotiated at all?
Tariffs don’t work. Sad to see people lose their jobs around the world at SolarWorld. Not sad to see Qatari backed Asbeck lose, over and over again.
Wonk out. How does NYC get its electricity? Worth a read

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Yann