Sara Rafalson

September 2014 Solar Project Finance Journal

Solar_Panel

This month’s Project Finance Journal includes developments in the MA, MD and NC markets, advice on module price changes, and more.

Below, we have included excerpts from Sol Systems’ September 2014 Solar Project Finance Journal, which is a monthly email newsletter that our project finance team distributes to our network of clients and solar stakeholders. Our newsletter contains solar statistics from current real-life solar projects, trends and observations gained through monthly interviews with our solar project finance team, and it incorporates news from a variety of solar industry resources.

If you would like to receive our Solar Project Finance Journal via email every month, please email pr@solsystemscompany.com with a request to be added to our Project Finance Journal distribution list.

PROJECT FINANCE STATISTICS

The following statistics represent some high quality solar projects and portfolios that we are actively reviewing for investment.

Capacity: 110kW – 30MW
Average Capacity:  3.13MW

Developer all-in asking prices*

Sara Rafalson

Get in Line and Get Creative: How to Deal with Module Price Changes

The following is an excerpt from our Solar Project Finance Journal, a monthly electronic newsletter analyzing the solar industry’s latest trends based on our unique position in the solar financing space. To view the full Journal or subscribe, please e-mail pr@solsystemscompany.com.

Solar tariffs are impacting module procurement and selection.

Solar tariffs are impacting module procurement and selection.

The solar tariff dispute is leading to longer procurement times and altering module selection. Now, as developers build out their initial design specs with a specific module in mind, we are finding that as a project approaches NTP, the modules may become unavailable or too costly. In other words, both developers and investors are finding themselves compromising on module selection, or at least dealing with a scarcity of choices once it comes time to actually procure equipment for a given project.

Some developers we work with have kept their eyes out for module deals throughout the transaction process, and even after financial close, with the hope that another supplier can bring comparable modules into the U.S. market at a more affordable price. As a result, it is becoming increasingly common for developers to swap modules. Overall, investors are comfortable with this last minute module swap as long as the modules are solidly Tier 1 – or the investor has already provided a list of approved vendors. In one case, we made the decision to switch modules on a project rather than wait through a several-month delivery timeline, even though the swap required some redesign in order to accommodate the change. We do not encourage these module “swaps,” but we recognize that sometimes they may be necessary.  Read the rest of this entry »

Sara Rafalson

Hungry, Hungry YieldCos: Will They Find Project Pipeline to Satisfy their Appetites?

The following is an excerpt from our Solar Project Finance Journal, a monthly electronic newsletter analyzing the solar industry’s latest trends based on our unique position in the solar financing space. To view the full Journal or subscribe, please e-mail pr@solsystemscompany.com.

YieldCos remain one of the solar industry’s biggest buzz words, as they should be; they offer a very competitive cost of capital. However, it’s important to remember that all that glitters isn’t gold.

YieldCos are hungry for perfect solar project pipeline. So is everyone else.

YieldCos are hungry for perfect solar project pipeline. So is everyone else.

By definition, YieldCos need a consistent stream of financeable deals to feed the beast. YieldCos are hungry for project pipeline — but not just any pipeline. As of right now, only the most clear cut, “perfect” projects are being placed into YieldCos — generally, multi-megawatt ground mount projects with an investment-grade offtaker, likely a utility or publicly-rated corporate entity. YieldCos predilection for the safest solar investments reminds us of the old saying: “banks lend money to those who need it least.”

Given that the WalMart’s and other big box and corporate hosts of the world have already been picked over, we see YieldCos facing challenges if they attempt to take on distributed generation (DG) projects on host sites with unconventional credit, such as churches, schools, and non-profits; in fact, these hosts may be impossible for these very credit-conscious, conservative YieldCos.  They may also eventually have to compromise on size and will certainly face challenges taking on some of the “hairier” one-off rooftop DG deals that more flexible financiers have accepted. For instance, Sol Systems has executed on solar projects ranging from a couple hundred kilowatts with nonprofits to 20+MW investment-grade portfolios, and everything in-between. Read the rest of this entry »

Sara Rafalson

Solving the Sub-1 MW Solar Financing Gap

Financing solutions for solar projects under 1 MW are tough to find. Don't worry, we've got some advice.

Financing solutions for solar projects under 1 MW are tough to find. Don’t worry, we’ve got some advice.

The following is an excerpt from our Solar Project Finance Journal, a monthly electronic newsletter analyzing the solar industry’s latest trends based on our unique position in the solar financing space. To view the full Journal or subscribe, please e-mail pr@solsystemscompany.com.

The middle market, particularly projects in the 50 kW – 200 kW range, pose challenges to all financiers, including us. So, what do we do when developer partners call us to finance projects in this range, or any other deals under 1 MW? It has been our experience that we can solve their financing gap with two strategies:

a)    Portfolio-ize (If you are an avid Solar Project Finance Journal reader, we hope that you know this by now); and/or

b)    Demonstrate pipeline! Investors are more likely to be flexible on size when it is understood that there is a steady stream of pipeline behind a given deal, and if repeat business between both parties is a sure bet. Read the rest of this entry »

Colin Murchie

Trapped in the Down Elevator? A New Perspective on the Net Metering Debate

How do net metering and elevators relate?

How do net metering and elevators relate?

Given the endless blog articles rehashing the same old net metering arguments, perhaps it can be helpful to examine the experience of another industry.   Specifically, what is probably, after solar, the renewable energy and smart grid storage device with by far the highest market penetration.  I refer of course to the biomass-aerobic-respiration-assisted elevated kinetic energy mass storage device (BARAEK-EMSD).

Or as it’s sometimes referred to, the “elevator.”

The National Elevator Industry, Inc.  specifies that there are just under a million elevators in the US.   Just as in our industry, major technological change is occurring, and as these systems are being replaced or renovated, the unmistakable trend is towards “regenerative” systems.  On the way up, these consume energy from the grid.  On the way down, Otis proudly touts that “The regenerative drive feeds this energy back into the building’s internal electrical utility where it can be used by other loads or users connected to the same network.” Read the rest of this entry »

Anna Noucas

Interested in Developing a 650 kW+ Solar Project in Massachusetts? Think Again (Or Be Very Patient)

The countdown is now over, and the DOER has released their initial analysis and expectation for the Managed Growth Capacity Block for 2016.

The Massachusetts DOER has released their expectation for the SREC-II program’s 2016 Managed Growth Capacity Block.

Yesterday’s announcement from the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER) may have taken some Massachusetts solar developers by surprise.

Immediately following the announcement of the allocations for the 2014 and 2015 Managed Growth capacity, commercial and utility scale solar developers across New England began counting down the days to when the 2016 capacity amount would be revealed. Developers had long awaiting the final figures for the DOER’s 2016 allocation, hoping they could fit their 650 kW+ solar projects into the Massachusetts solar program.

The countdown is now over, and the DOER has released their initial analysis and expectation for the Managed Growth Capacity Block for 2016.  The final result is… 0 MW.

Read the rest of this entry »

William Graves

Meet the Sol Systems SREC Customer Service Team

Meet the Sol Systems Customer Service (CS) Team: Sara Rafalson, Alex Mas, Victoria Ngare, and Bridget Callahan.

Seasoned SREC Operations Analyst, Bridget Callahan, provides assistance to a customer in need.

Seasoned SREC Operations Analyst, Bridget Callahan, provides assistance to a customer in need.

Together, they manage accounts for Sol Systems’ customer base of over 4,200+ solar energy system owners in thirteen states who rely on Sol Systems to sell their solar renewable energy credits (SRECs). Their responsibilities are broad, including customer management and support, tracking meter readings, and registering systems with the necessary state and regulatory agencies. Sol Systems prides itself on its superior customer service, and we get back to all customer inquiries within one business day.

While many Sol Systems customers may recognize their names, we wanted to give our SREC customer and installer base the opportunity to get to know the friendly voice on the other side of the phone.  Read the rest of this entry »

Aaditya Saple

How SREC Markets Streamline Solar Financing & Stimulate Market Growth

Some of the country's strongest solar markets, including MA & NJ, are also SREC markets. SRECs are critical for financing solar projects on the East Coast.

Some of the country’s strongest solar markets, including MA & NJ, are also SREC markets. SRECs are critical for financing solar projects on the East Coast. Photo source: SEIA

Solar renewable energy credit (SREC) markets are a highly efficient tool for financing solar projects. This market-based mechanism saves a lot of headache for policymakers and stakeholders alike while stimulating the growth of solar on much of the East Coast.

Read the rest of this entry »

Erica Nangeroni

Sol Systems COO & General Counsel Stephanie Smith Named C3E Award Finalist

Stephanie Smith

Stephanie Smith was named a finalist for the C3E awards.

The Clean Energy Education & Empowerment (C3E) Initiative Ambassadors has named Sol Systems General Counsel and Chief Operating Officer, Stephanie Smith, as a finalist for its annual awards program for mid-career women’s leadership and achievement in clean energy. The C3E Initiative was launched in 2010 by the 23-government Clean Energy Ministerial, serving to create opportunities for women in clean energy. The Clean Energy Ministerial is a global forum encouraging the transition to a global clean energy economy through the promotion of policies, programs, and initiatives that help reduce emissions, improve energy access and security, and sustain overall economic growth.

Ms. Smith’s finalist status is an affirmation to her leadership at the D.C.-based solar finance firm, which she joined in 2012. In her tenure, Sol Systems cemented its reputation as a leader in renewable energy finance. To date, the firm has facilitated financing for approximately 145 MW of solar energy assets throughout the United States through tax structured investments, project purchases, SREC monetization, and debt financing. Just last week, Inc. Magazine named Sol Systems as one of the fastest growing companies in the U.S. on its prestigious Inc. 500 list for the second consecutive year.

Read the rest of this entry »

Sara Rafalson

Sol Systems Closes First Half of $100 Million Q3 Investment in North Carolina Solar

Three new utility-scale solar farms have begun producing power as part of the first half of a $100M solar investment managed by Sol Systems.

Three new utility-scale solar farms have begun producing power as part of the first half of a $100M solar investment managed by Sol Systems.

Three new North Carolina utility-scale solar farms have begun producing power, racking up another 18.2 MW, equal to taking about 2,400 passenger vehicles off the road for the year.  A significant portion of the investment responsible for the projects was managed by Washington, D.C.–based solar investment and financing firm, Sol Systems.

Tax structured investments have been critical to driving capital into the solar asset class,” commented Yuri Horwitz, CEO of Sol Systems.  “North Carolina is an especially attractive market, and we will deploy tax equity into another 18 to 20 MW before the end of the year,” he added.

Projects of this size are highly complex and require capital and expertise from multiple sources. Sol Systems managed the investment on behalf of an insurance client as part of the firm’s tax equity initiative to produce secure, sustainable solar investments for banks, insurance companies, utilities, and Fortune 100 clients. Strata Solar developed the project opportunities, and National Cooperative Bank served as the lender in the transactions.  Read the rest of this entry »

Erica Nangeroni

Sol Systems CFO Installs Solar Array on Maryland Home

This summer,  Sol Systems’ very own CFO, George Ashton, had a 9.78 kW solar array installed on the roof of his Maryland home. Pictures of the system can be seen below.

IMAG0498

  Read the rest of this entry »

Rachel Charow

Employee Spotlight: Anna Noucas

AN headshot

Anna Noucas is a Senior Associate on the Project Finance team.

At Sol Systems, our team is our number one asset. Their dedication and passion for bringing creative financing solutions to the solar industry are essential to our company’s success. Our company has experienced a lot of recent growth, and we are proud to employ some of the brightest talent in the renewable energy industry. This month, we sat down with Anna Noucas to discuss her thoughts on Sol Systems and reflect on her time in the industry. Anna is a Senior Associate on the Project Finance team.

What first sparked your interest in renewable energy?

My father has done sustainability work in my hometown, so some interest in the environment came from his influence. However, my interest in renewable energy truly began when I was in college. I was an Environmental Studies major who wanted to focus on combating climate change. Through studying the policy side of environmental science, I came to the realization that renewable energy is the best way of addressing the issue. It’s the concept of mitigation vs. adaptation: mitigation  is the more realistic solution in my eyes.  Read the rest of this entry »

Sara Rafalson

August 2014 Project Finance Journal

Solar feed-in tariffs

This month’s Project Finance Journal includes market developments in IA, MA, and NC, info on the most competitive PPA rates, solar tariffs, and more.

Below, we have included excerpts from Sol Systems’ August 2014 Solar Project Finance Journal, which is a monthly email newsletter that our project finance team distributes to our network of clients and solar stakeholders. Our newsletter contains solar statistics from current real-life solar projects, trends and observations gained through monthly interviews with our solar project finance team, and it incorporates news from a variety of solar industry resources.

If you would like to receive our Solar Project Finance Journal via email every month, please email pr@solsystemscompany.com with a request to be added to our Project Finance Journal distribution list.

PROJECT FINANCE STATISTICS

The following statistics represent some high-quality solar energy projects and portfolios that we are actively reviewing for investment.

Capacity: 120 kW – 60 MW

Average Capacity: 5.25 MW Read the rest of this entry »

Sara Rafalson

Insurance Companies Present Opportunity, Not Threat, to Solar Industry

insurance-companies

The insurance and solar industries have mutual interests in solar investments, a secure, sustainable, and clean asset class.

A whitepaper from Zurich Risk Engineering cautioning against the installation of photovoltaic rooftop systems received some buzz this past month, with some solar industry insiders even calling the insurance industry solar’s next big threat. This does not concern us at Sol Systems. On the contrary, we see insurance companies as one of the solar industry’s greatest opportunities. Here’s why.

Over the past several years, insurance companies have emerged as major investors in solar assets. Active solar investors include Metlife, John Hancock Insurance Company, Munich Re, and Nationwide. Some drivers behind their entry are a) compelling returns, including those provided by tax benefits, and b) solar’s role as a stable, secure asset class.

Read the rest of this entry »

Sara Rafalson

How Local and Regional Developers Can Compete with Solar Giants

Local competitors

Local and regional developers can compete with solar giants, it’s just a matter of seeking out the right strategy.

Local and regional developers often seek our project finance team’s advice on bidding into requests for proposals (RFP’s), and how they can win against larger players. Truthfully, RFP’s continue to be a race to the bottom for solar developers where the lowest bid wins, often assisted by unbeatably low costs of capital. There are, however, strategies that local and regional players may pursue to build their businesses by focusing on the most promising opportunities.

Generally, RFP’s lean heavily towards the attributes that only larger solar companies can meet. For this reason, we recommend that smaller developers – or even larger regional players – focus on RFP’s that either a) have a strong preference for local developers b) split allocations among multiple parties, or c) have an offtaker whose credit picture, while of high quality, is not publicly rated. It also helps for a developer to have a strong relationship with their local RFP provider. As always, relationships matter.

Read the rest of this entry »

Sara Rafalson

Washington, D.C. – Based Sol Systems Ranks High on Inc. 500 List for Second Consecutive Year

Sol Systems was named to the Inc. 500 list for the second year in a row.

Sol Systems was named to the Inc. 500 list for the second year in a row.

Inc. Magazine once again named Washington, D.C. – based Sol Systems on its annual Inc. 500 list of the nation’s fastest-growing private companies. This year, the solar finance firm ranked No. 6 in the nation’s top solar companies, No. 6 in fasting growing companies in D.C., No. 17 in energy, and No. 446 overall.

Read the rest of this entry »

Sara Rafalson

Disruptive Innovation Alert: Regulated Utilities Vie for a Piece of the DG Solar Pie

Regulated utilities have made many attempts to get involved with the distributed generation solar, but is this the best way for utilities to acquire solar assets?

Regulated utilities have made many attempts to get involved with the distributed generation solar, but is this the best way for utilities to acquire solar assets?

After gaining a reputation for being one of solar’s most outspoken naysayers, Arizona Public Service (APS) shocked the industry by announcing its intent to get into the residential solar market. This is not the first time a regulated utility has attempted to catch up to a disruptive innovation by owning solar in its own territories, and it likely won’t be the last. The timing of the APS program comes not far after Jon Wellinghoff, former FERC chair, published a report entitled Thinking Outside the Box: A Case for Utilities Owning Solar within Regulated Service Area along with James Tong from Clean Power Finance.

To date, many attempts for regulated utilities to cash in on the solar game in their own territories have been unsuccessful or met with mixed results – and that’s only if regulators approve them in the first place. Read the rest of this entry »

Sara Rafalson

We’re Hiring! Sol Systems Seeks Communications Intern for Fall 2014

Position: Communications Internship

Opportunity: The Communications Intern will gain familiarity with the inner workings of one of the fastest growing companies in the nation by supporting the Marketing and Communications team. The internship will provide a fantastic launching pad for careers in marketing, public relations, and renewable energy. We change the world. Join us. Read the rest of this entry »

Eric Stam

The Massachusetts Solar Carve-Out: High Drama at the State House

Sol Systems is currently offering 3 and 5-year SREC contracts for Massachusetts solar projects.

August has been a big month for Massachusetts solar, with the SREC auction clearing in the third round, and new legislation lifting the net metering caps.

Change has come to the Massachusetts solar market, but not in the way many were expecting.

Amid the controversy of this summer’s proposed changes to the Massachusetts solar market, a significantly scaled-back bill was presented and eventually enacted as an amendment to Senate Bill 2214. On the last day of the year’s legislative session, lawmakers raised the net metering caps for public and private solar projects and created a task force to study the state’s net metering policy.

Senate Bill 2214 raises the net metering cap for private solar projects from 3% to 4% of an electric distribution company’s peak load. For public projects the cap increases from 3% to 5%. The legislation will take 90 days from the date Governor Patrick signs the bill to go into effect. The enacted bill also created a task force charged with more closely examining the state’s net-metering policies, with the goal of recommending incentives or programs that drive the state towards the deployment of 1600 MW of solar generation. The 17 member task force will consist of representatives from the public sector, consumer advocates, solar industry associations, solar businesses, large energy consumers, and investor-owned utilities. The task force will first meet on October 1, 2014 and will report its analysis of the current net-metering policy and any recommendations for reform by March 31, 2015. Read the rest of this entry »

Sara Rafalson

Chill from Ohio RPS Freeze Extends to Neighboring Solar Markets

The SREC markets in Pennsylvania, Virginia, and even Kentucky are feeling the effects of the Ohio RPS freeze.

The SREC markets in Pennsylvania, Virginia, and even Kentucky are feeling the effects of the Ohio RPS freeze.

On June 13, Ohio made history by becoming the first state to “freeze” its Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS). The passage of SB310 was a major setback for the renewable industry in Ohio, but who knew what happened in the Buckeye State could affect solar in Pennsylvania, Virginia, and even Kentucky?

Ohio’s legislative change froze not only the RPS, but the solar renewable energy credit (SREC) trading markets in the surrounding states. Because bordering states such as Indiana, West Virginia, Michigan, and Pennsylvania can sell their SRECs into the Ohio solar market, spot market SREC prices in these states have drastically declined, dropping down from $70/SREC to $30/SREC in a matter of weeks.

As Virginia solar energy system owners sell their SRECs into the Pennsylvania SREC market, the Virginia solar market has also taken a hit. This all happened just when the Pennsylvania solar market was on the rebound. Pennsylvania SREC prices were as high as $76/SREC earlier in the year, much higher than the $20/SREC we were seeing in 2012 and 2013. Read the rest of this entry »

Erica Nangeroni

We’re Hiring! Sol Systems Seeks Fall 2014 Interns

Position: Solar Analyst Intern (position beginning in August/September 2014) targeted towards undergraduates and recent graduates

Description: The Solar Analyst Intern will assist with registration processes, administrative duties, and research tasks, and will be expected to provide clearly defined deliverables. The position will require attention to detail, excellent record keeping, and efficient allocation of time and resources. Read the rest of this entry »

Erica Nangeroni

Sol Systems Welcomes Charity Sack as Senior Director of Marketing, Olga Zelenova as Controller, and Eric Stam as Renewables Trader

Sol Systems is pleased to welcome three new members to our team: Charity Sack as Senior Director of Marketing, Olga Zelenova as Controller, and Eric Stam as Renewables Trader.

Charity Sack joins the Sol Systems management team as Senior Director of Marketing

Charity Sack joins the Sol Systems as Senior Director of Marketing

Charity Sack, Senior Director of Marketing

Charity Sack joins Sol Systems after serving as Director of Communications at the American Academy of Actuaries where she spearheaded strategic communications planning and branding initiatives to improve member value and stakeholder engagement.  Previously, she was the Director of Communications with Capital Impact Partners, a leading Community Development Financial Institution.

At Sol Systems, Ms. Sack oversees brand management, integrated marketing initiatives, and media relations. She is also on the executive management team.

Read the rest of this entry »

Eric Scheier

3 Reasons Why a Managed SREC Solution Outperforms an Auction

Our team strongly believes that a managed SREC solution, one in which a third party such as Sol Systems executes trades in the best interest of the SREC owner, provides the customer with the highest sale price. Here’s why the managed approach works so well.

1. Aggregation

Aggregation is important because larger volume SREC transactions often result in higher prices. For example, it’s very difficult to sell 12 SRECs on any given day. However, many SREC buyers would be very interested in purchasing 1200 SRECs. The higher volume that a managed SREC solution allows improves liquidity, and results in higher pricing. Sol Systems has always passed down this higher pricing to SREC owners. Read the rest of this entry »

Sara Rafalson

South Carolina Solar is Rising

South Carolina solar

The South Carolina solar market may grow to 300 MW. Sol Systems is actively seeking to invest in commercial solar projects in the Palmetto State.

After two years of negotiations, the South Carolina House of Representatives voted unanimously on new legislation to promote solar inthe Palmetto State. As a result of the South Carolina Distributed Energy Resource Act (S.B. 1189), Sol Systems expects the South Carolina solar market to expand from a mere 8 MW to 300 MW or more by 2021. Here’s how.

South Carolina’s New Solar Program

Under S.B. 1189, larger utilities (those who serve 100,000+ customers – effectively SCE&G and Duke Power) must obtain 2% of their average 5-year peak power demand from solar energy sources. Of this 2%, 1% must be comprised of 1-10 MW solar projects; the other 1% must be comprised of solar projects under 1 MW, 25% of which must be 20 kW or smaller. Here’s the breakdown of that 2%. Read the rest of this entry »

Aaditya Saple

Massachusetts SREC-I Auction Throws a Curveball to the Markets: Here’s how this will impact SREC-II projects.

Massachusetts proposes new solar policy...again. The new proposal is a compromise to address net metering and the SREC market.

The Massachusetts SREC Clearinghouse did not clear. Here’s what comes next.

Round II of the Massachusetts SREC-I clearinghouse auction failed to clear yesterday, July 30. A third round will be held on Friday, August 1st, 2014. As we described earlier in an explanation of the Massachusetts SREC-I auction, This annual auction, which is based on the volume demanded, allows SREC sellers the opportunity to auction their SRECs at the end of each summer for a fixed price of $300/SREC, minus an auction fee (most customers will net $285)

Implications of the Massachusetts SREC-I Clearinghouse Round II

An Auction failing to clear Round II automatically increases the Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) obligation by 142,504 to 1,054,933 SRECs for compliance year (CY) 2015. An increase in demand generally pushes prices higher, which is what Sol Systems’ SREC trading team saw yesterday. Massachusetts SRECs with a 2015 vintage stamp increased $35 per SREC to $320 from $285. Since a partial clearance of the Auction is allowed in Round III, compliance entities and SREC investors are likely to bank some SRECs in expectance of this increase in CY 2015 RPS obligation. All unsold auction SRECs will be returned to the owners (with extended life of three years) in proportion to the clearance volume in Round III and will have to be sold on the spot market.

Read the rest of this entry »

Eric Scheier

What’s Better for a Homeowner: A Fixed Price Contract or a Brokerage Solution?

SREC contracts

Our research has shown that customers with fixed price SREC contracts earn longer returns in the long run.

Since the birth of the first solar renewable energy credit (SREC) market, Sol Systems has distinguished itself from other SREC solution providers by offering customers the ability to lock into fixed price SREC contracts for a set amount of years. This provides customers with a guaranteed income stream for 3, 4, 5, or 10 years – and also mitigates the risk associated with volatile spot market, brokerage solutions.

Our fixed priced SREC contracts, also known as Sol Annuity, have allowed our installer network to build trust with their customer base by being able to guarantee a more predictable return on investment for homeowners. For example, a system owner may elect to sell SRECs to Sol Systems via a 5-year Sol Annuity contract for $175/SREC. This means that for the next five years, Sol Systems will purchase every SREC generated by that system for $175. If prices fall, customers are still guaranteed this fixed price. Read the rest of this entry »

Aaditya Saple

Massachusetts DOER SREC Clearinghouse Auction is Underway, Here’s What You Need to Know.

The Massachusetts solar renewable energy credit (SREC) market is undoubtedly the most complex incentive program among its peers. Among its complexities is the annual clearinghouse auction mechanism, which allows SREC sellers the opportunity to auction their SRECs at the end of each summer for a fixed price of $300/SREC, minus any auction and aggregation fees (most customers will net around $271). Sol Systems can provide you with fixed forward pricing. Having a fixed forward price eliminates the need to enter the auction and deal with reminted SRECs. Right now, our 4-year pricing for SREC-I is $270. We offer 3-year, 4-year, 5-year and 10-year pricing for SREC-I and SREC-II. Sol Systems takes care of customer accounts throughout this process, thus allowing our customers to pursue their core business. For more information, email us today at info@solsystemscompany.com.

The first round of the SREC clearinghouse auction took place today and did not clear; 141,504 SRECs were deposited. Anxious SREC sellers are hopeful all SRECs will be cleared by the end of round two, which is to be held tomorrow, 30th July, 2014. It makes sense for auctions to enter Round II as an increase in the shelf life of SRECs is beneficial for both, compliance entities and SREC owners.

MA SREC Auction Mechanism

MA SREC Auction Mechanism

Read the rest of this entry »

Thomas Kinrade

A Sixth YieldCo Goes Public as the Asset Class Has its First Anniversary

Today TerraForm Power Inc. (TERP), a spinoff from SunEdison (SUNE), had its IPO making it the sixth yield corporation or “yieldco” to go public since NRG Yield (NYLD) became the first yieldco one year ago.  High dividend yields and rising stock prices have encouraged a wealth of investment in these new companies. However, investors should be aware of the differences that exist between yieldcos and longer term risks associated with the application of this new corporate structure to the power generation industry.

Read the rest of this entry »

Rachel Charow

Who Pays for Countervailing Tariffs on Chinese Solar Panels?

Tariffs on Chinese solar panels will raise the prices utility-scale projects and impact the distributed market.

Tariffs on Chinese solar panels will raise prices on utility-scale projects and in the distributed solar market.

On June 2, 2014, the U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC) made the decision to start implementing countervailing duties (“countervails”) on Chinese solar panels that will raise prices of commercial-scale and distributed solar projects. In 2013, 31% of all solar panels installed in the U.S. were Chinese modules. Within the distributed sector alone, the Chinese supplied the U.S. with more than 50% of panels installed. Seemingly, the $0.10 increase in price per Watt will have an effect on the distributed solar market, of which a large portion utilizes Chinese panels. However, utility-scale projects will experience a proportionally larger increase in price as shown by the Balance of System (BOS) model, thereby thinning profit margins.

Initially, Chinese modules were priced at $0.60-0.70 per Watt, however, according to GTM Research, duties of 19-35% will place approximately 14% of tax incidence on customers. As a result, they expect, and we have heard in the marketplace, a $0.10 increase in price to or slightly above $0.70 per Watt. This shrinks the gap between Chinese and U.S. panels, which cost about $0.90-1.00 per Watt.  Read the rest of this entry »

Thomas Larson

What Happens to Solar Panel Pricing after the WTO Ruling? Three Clarifications on the Dispute and its Implications

Although the WTO panel report addresses some problematic solar duties, deeper analysis shows that they are unlikely to heavily impact the U.S. module market.

On Monday July 14, the World Trade Organization (WTO) Dispute Settlement Body (DSB) issued a panel report to its members on a dispute between China and the United States involving solar panels and sixteen other products. Recent articles have declared the U.S. countervailing duties “illegal” as a result of the ruling, a misleading summary of what actually occurred. Deeper analysis shows that this case only addresses a small piece of the U.S.’s procedures behind calculating the duties, not the duties themselves, and does not demand immediate response from the U.S.

Although the case may have broader implications for U.S. trade policy as it seeks to fight anti-competitive behavior from China’s state-owned enterprises, it is unlikely to change much in the U.S. module market. Here are three important clarifications on the panel report for solar industry folks who want to know how it will affect panel pricing in the next twelve months. Read the rest of this entry »

William Graves

Will the Eagle Point Solar Decision Open Up the Midwest Solar Market?

Eagle Point Solar’s victory is a big win for rooftop solar in Iowa and opens up the state to further solar investment.

On July 11, 2014, the Iowa Supreme Court ruled in favor of Eagle Point Solar (EPS), a Dubuque, IA based solar installer, affirming that the company was not acting as a utility when it arranged a third-party power purchase agreement (PPA) with the city of Dubuque. The ruling caps a two year battle between rooftop solar and the two leading utilities in the state, MidAmerican Energy and Alliant Energy. With this decision, the Iowa court system clarified the status of behind the meter solar installations, and opened up the state to further solar investment.

The history of the case goes back to 2012 when MidAmerican and Alliant challenged Eagle Point Solar, stating that the firm’s arrangement with the city violated the utilities’ exclusive right to sell electricity within a given area or region.  The Iowa Utilities Board (IUB) sided with the utilities, issuing a Declarative Ruling which defined EPS as a public utility, and therefore unable to sell electricity in Alliant’s state-granted exclusive monopoly territory. Eagle Point Solar appealed the decision and it was subsequently reversed in 2013 by the Polk County District Court. Read the rest of this entry »

Natacha Kiler

July 2014 Project Finance Journal

This month's Solar Project Finance Journal includes info on the most competitive PPA rates, market developments in IL, RI, and SC, solar tariffs, and more.

This month’s Solar Project Finance Journal includes info on the most competitive PPA rates, market developments in IL, RI, and SC, solar tariffs, and more.

Below, we have included excerpts from Sol Systems’ July 2014 Solar Project Finance Journal, which is a monthly email newsletter that our project finance team distributes to our network of clients and solar stakeholders. Our newsletter contains solar statistics from current real-life solar projects, trends and observations gained through monthly interviews with our solar project finance team, and it incorporates news from a variety of solar industry resources.

If you would like to receive our Solar Project Finance Journal via email every month, please email pr@solsystemscompany.com with a request to be added to our Project Finance Journal distribution list. Read the rest of this entry »

Natacha Kiler

Solar Property Tax Uncertainty & 3 Mitigation Strategies

Uncertainty about property tax treatments in some states is cause for concern

Apart from California, which extended its property tax exemption for solar power systems to 2025, the ambiguity around solar and property taxes looks like it may get worse before it gets better. Our team is financing projects in Arizona, Georgia, Indiana, Massachusetts, and New York which face varying degrees of uncertainty with regards to property tax treatments. As noted in our recent solar property tax issues blog , each state has different challenges and issues with regards to property taxes.

Arizona, the nation’s third largest solar market, is one such state. Arizona became a battle grounds for solar property tax disputes when the state’s Department of Revenue reviewed and reinterpreted a law that exempted rooftop solar from property taxes in cases when the systems are leased. Although third party investors are liable for the tax, solar leasing companies typically pass such taxes on to system lessees. Read the rest of this entry »

Erica Nangeroni

Rhode Island’s Second Solar Feed-in Tariff is Open for Enrollment. Here’s How to Apply

Rhode-Island-welcome2

The second 2014 open enrollment for the RI solar feed-in tariff will take place from July 21st to August 21st.

The second round of the 2014 enrollment in Rhode Island’s feed-in tariff program has been announced by National Grid, Rhode Island’s electric utility. The feed-in tariff is part of the state’s Distributed Generation Standard Contracts program, established in June 2011. The program awards long-term standard contracts to eligible distributed generation facilities for the purchase of energy, capacity, and RECS over a 15 year term. Upon establishment, the program called for 40MW of renewable energy procurement by the end of 2014. The program has reached 25 MW since it’s start, leaving 15MW of nameplate capacity available for the remainder of the 2014 program year, with a third enrollment scheduled for the fall in October or November.

The proposal period is scheduled to run from July 21st to August 1st. For each enrollment period, ceiling prices and capacity targets are set by the Distributed Generation Standard Contract Board, as can be seen in the table. All projects require a competitive bid price at or below the applicable ceiling price.  However, projects will also be evaluated using non-price criteria including site control and permitting, the ability to develop, finance, and construct in 18 months, technical and engineering aspects, energy resource plans, and project management experience. Price criteria vs. non-price criteria will be weighted 80:20, respectively. Categorized according to technology and size, renewable projects including wind, solar, and anaerobic digestion are all eligible for the program.

Read the rest of this entry »

Natacha Kiler

3 Noteworthy Solar Implications in New National Electrical Code

This year's National Electrical Code has come out and includes a requirement for solar energy systems to have a "Rapid Shutdown" function.

This year’s National Electrical Code has come out and includes a requirement for solar energy systems to have a “Rapid Shutdown” function.

The 2014 National Electrical Code (NEC) has come out, and this version holds a bit of solar intrigue even for those who are not involved with engineering or construction.  In response to safety concerns for first responders, like firefighters, the 2014 NEC now requires solar energy systems to have a “Rapid Shutdown” function.  In simple terms, the requirement carries 3 interesting implications:

(1) Rooftop systems will need design and technology adjustments.

(2) There is newly created demand for niche safety products from PV technology manufacturers.

(3) The requirements will add some minimal costs to rooftop systems. Read the rest of this entry »

Erica Nangeroni

Employee Spotlight: Ben Margolis

This month's employee spotlight features Ben Margolis from our project finance team.

This month’s employee spotlight features Ben Margolis from our project finance team.

At Sol Systems, our team is our number one asset. Their dedication and passion for bringing creative financing solutions to the solar industry are essential to our company’s success. Our company has experienced a lot of recent growth, and we are proud to employ some of the brightest talent in the renewable energy industry. We were able to sit down with Ben Margolis, who has been with Sol Systems for a little over a year and serves as a Director of Project Finance, to hear about his experience.

Has Sol Systems changed since you first started here?

Since I started, we’ve added construction and term debt for solar projects, and we have grown the project finance group and project finance offerings; change in market place has shifted our approach to the market and forced us to adapt, and it’s all been very interesting to be a part of.

What attracted you to work at Sol Systems?

The people. Sol Systems is a great place to work because of the team; it’s exciting and interesting. As a company, Sol Systems has the right people and the right team and is well positioned in the marketplace to succeed.

Read the rest of this entry »

Colin Murchie

Beyond the Meter: Remote Solar on the Horizon?

A Less-Than-Totally-Addressable Market

Commercial solar can be an extremely difficult, uphill sell. Not only must a salesperson overcome traditional customer barriers of ignorance, indifference, or fear, with a product that can seem formidably technical, but they have to do so in what is to date an inordinately small addressable market. Consider a Venn diagram, but one where you must intersect a highly creditworthy client, with a large-enough-to-bother roof, such roof being fairly new (but not covered with mechanical equipment), with some spare structural capacity; generally, commercial instead of industrial electricity rates, low shading, a PPA-friendly state, and one of the markets that makes sense for solar this quarter. In considering all of this, you’ve no longer got a Venn diagram; you’ve got something else entirely.

Remote solar could allow for greater utilization of ideal project sites and a larger set of potential customers reaping the benefits.

It’s part of the reason solar developers like to press their nose against the glass as their plane comes in over the big flat roofs on the warehouses next to the airport and dream of what might be.

Of course we should pursue such low hanging fruit where we can find it – and keep in mind that some finance providers are more innovative on host credit than others.

However, there are only so many big retailers and Fortune 500 distribution centers out there. Great credit often comes with truly challenging host sites and vice versa.  Further, we’ve seen other issues with over-concentration.  In certain substations serving Southern New Jersey office parks, we’ve seen interconnection study results that look like all Three Stooges trying to fit through a door at the same time.

Read the rest of this entry »

Erica Nangeroni

Sol Systems to Speak at Intersolar North America in San Francisco

intersolar picSeveral members of the Sol Systems team will attend the Intersolar North America conference in San Francisco next week from July 7-9. Sol Systems’ CFO, George Ashton will share Sol Systems’ experiences financing commercial solar projects on the panel entitled The DG Future – the ITC, Cost-cutting & Positioning Yourself for Ever Changing Incentive Regimes. To date, Sol Systems has facilitated financing for approximately 100 MW of solar projects throughout the United States and has another 84 MW at term sheet. Sol Systems finances DG solar projects through a combination of its tax structured investments, construction and term debt offerings, project purchases, and solar renewable energy credit (SREC) solutions.

Several members of the Sol Systems team will be in San Francisco to meet with developer clients to discuss their solar financing needs. To meet with Sol Systems in San Francisco, please contact our team at info@solsystemscompany.com.

Read the rest of this entry »

Erica Nangeroni

Sol Systems Welcomes Summer Interns

Sol Systems welcomes four interns for the summer.

Sol Systems is excited to welcome, from left to right, Erica Nangeroni, Rachel Charow, Thomas Kinrade, Aaditya Saple, and Julia Heckmann (not pictured).

At Sol Systems, our number one asset is our team. We are proud of our internship program which provides young people with an opportunity to launch a career in renewable energy. This summer, we are excited to welcome Rachel Charow, Julia Heckmann, Thomas Kinrade, Erica Nangeroni, and Aaditya Saple to our team.

Read the rest of this entry »

Sara Rafalson

Washington Gas Energy Systems, Sol Systems, and Partners Unveil 1.23 MW Maryland Solar Project

Sol Systems financed this 1.23 MW Maryland solar energy project in partnership with Washington Gas Energy Systems.

Sol Systems financed this 1.23 MW Maryland solar energy project in partnership with Washington Gas Energy Systems.

Presbyterian Senior Living unveiled its 1,230-kilowatt (kW) solar array at Glen Meadows Retirement Community in Glen Arm, Md. in a ribbon cutting ceremony with representatives from Washington Gas Energy Systems, Inc., ABM, Building Energy, Sol Systems, and Clark EcoEnergy. The ground-mounted solar array will be owned and operated by Washington Gas Energy Systems under a 20-year power purchase agreement.

Sol Systems acted as investment advisor to Washington Gas Energy Systems in the transaction. Sol Systems originated the project opportunity from Building Energy, an Italian-based independent power producer. Building Energy developed the project opportunity through a joint venture with ABM, which handled the engineering, procurement and construction.

“We are committed to streamlining the investment process for distributed generation solar projects such as the one at Presbyterian Senior Living,” said Yuri Horwitz, chief executive officer of Sol Systems. “The Sol Systems team is proud to work with a financing partner like Washington Gas Energy Systems to drive investment into the mid-sized commercial solar market at Glen Meadows Retirement Community and similar facilities across the country.” Read the rest of this entry »

Erica Nangeroni

2014 Delaware Procurement Program Solicitation Results in Surprisingly Higher Pricing than 2013

On May 28, 2014, the results for the 2014 SRECDelaware Procurement Program were announced. This is the second year that the newly structured program has been in place; the Delaware Public Service Commission approved the new structure of the program in 2013, which implemented a competitive bid process for all tiers for the first 7 years of the contract and a set price of $50/SREC for the remaining 13 years of the contract. However, with the 2014 program, the set price for the remaining 13 years of the contract has decreased to $35/SREC. The 2012 Pilot Program that preceded the current Procurement Program differed in structure, with administratively set prices at $260/SREC for years 1-10 and $50/SREC for years 11-20 for projects under 250 kW and a competitive bidding process for anything larger. In 2013, the competitive Procurement Program resulted in lower SREC prices for successful bidders, as compared to the administratively set Pilot Program. In 2013, SRECDelaware also held a Spot Market Auction for owners of existing SREC’s generated since July 2009, which additionally produced low SREC prices.

Read the rest of this entry »

Natacha Kiler

Evolution at Work: Utility Dinosaurs, Solar, & New York’s REV

In the last decade or so, many utilities have demonstrated a “fight vs. flight” response toward solar energy and distributed generation.  Some utilities have lobbied against solar and created regulatory roadblocks, while a greater majority of utilities ignored the solar industry – because it was relatively small and insignificant. But as the solar industry has matured and increased in size, and climate change has become a more pertinent issue, the U.S. electricity landscape is facing the precipice of a major evolution. Many utilities are demonstrating an evolutionary response and adapting to the changing energy landscape. As described in an excellent report by Bloomberg New Energy Finance’s “Fight, flight or adapt:  How are US utilities coping with distributed PV,” there are a variety of business models that utilities are employing.  These include:

a.  Utilities who build and own distributed PV within their own service territories through regulated arms

b.  Utilities who build and own distributed PV outside their service territories through unregulated arms

c.  Utilities who invest tax equity, or an equity stake in PV portfolios

d.  Utilities who purchase PV projects/portfolios that are developed by others

e.  Utilities who invest in DG related technologies, such as grid enhancements and storage, and

f.  Utilities who partner with distributed PV companies to provide services such as lead generation, installation, O&M, and billing Read the rest of this entry »

Sara Rafalson

Sol Systems CEO Yuri Horwitz Named Regional EY Entrepreneur of The Year™ 2014 Award Winner

Sol Systems' Yuri Horwitz wins the 2014 Entrepreneur of the Year award.

Sol Systems’ Yuri Horwitz wins the 2014 Entrepreneur of the Year award.

EY today announced that Yuri Horwitz, CEO of D.C. based solar finance firm, Sol Systems, received the EY Entrepreneur Of The Year™ 2014 Award in the emerging technologies category in Greater Washington. The award recognizes outstanding entrepreneurs who demonstrate excellence and extraordinary success in such areas as innovation, financial performance, and personal commitment to their businesses and communities. Mr. Horwitz was selected by an independent panel of judges, and the award was presented at a special gala event on Thursday, June 19, 2014 at The Ritz-Carlton, Tysons Corner.

Mr. Horwitz was recognized for his leadership in tackling the solar industry’s greatest financing challenges. Sol Systems represents investor clients such as utilities, banks, insurance companies, and Fortune 100 companies and places capital into solar energy assets on their behalf. “If we can harness dreams, we can accomplish anything. But first, we need to create a vehicle to get there,” said Mr. Horwitz during his acceptance speech on Thursday night. Read the rest of this entry »

Erica Nangeroni

Sol Systems to Speak at PV America Conference in Boston

Sol Systems will speak at the PV America 2014 Conference in Boston.

Sol Systems will speak at the PV America 2014 Conference in Boston.

The Sol Systems team will attend the PV America 2014 Conference in Boston, MA next week from June 23-25. Sol Systems’ CEO, Yuri Horwitz is the conference’s finance chair this year and will speak on a panel entitled The Future of Solar Financing & Challenges Ahead at 1:30 PM in room 153. Sol Systems will also host a cocktail reception with Hannon Armstrong, our partner on a $100 million solar debt fund that addresses financing challenges in the commercial and industrial (C&I) solar sector.

Several members of the Sol Systems team will be in Boston meeting with developer and investor clients. To meet with Sol Systems in Boston, please contact our team at info@solsystemscompany.com. Read the rest of this entry »

Natacha Kiler

Summary of the Clean Power Plan & Positive Impacts on the Solar Industry

At the direction of President Obama, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released the Clean Power Plan, also known as 111(d) on June 2.  It is the first time the U.S. government has sought to cut carbon pollution from existing power plants.  In summary, by 2030, the EPA’s proposed steps should cut national carbon emission from the power sector by 30% – as measured against 2005 levels.

The proposal provides guidelines for states to develop plans to meet state-specific goals to reduce carbon pollution and gives them the flexibility to design their own programs. States can choose a mix of generation using diverse fuels, energy efficiency, and/or demand-side management. States can also choose to work alone to develop individual plans or with other states to develop multi-state plans.

Ultimately, as we look into our crystal ball, we see a large increase in the number of rate cases that utilities bring before their state’s Public Utility Commissions, and subsequent changes in the way utilities are regulated. We also see the following positive impacts for the solar and energy efficiency industries: Read the rest of this entry »

Rachel Charow

New York Looks to Become a Shared Energy State

New York aims to expand its solar market by introducing shared solar.

New York aims to expand its solar market by introducing shared solar.

On June 3 the New York Assembly Energy Committee approved the Shared Clean Energy Bill A9931/S7727, continuing the momentum that New York has built up in the solar industry. In late April, Governor Andrew Cuomo committed $1 billion in funding to continue the NY-Sun solar program, which aims to increase solar power tenfold in New York by 2023. New York solar power is expanding by enabling families, schools, businesses, and renters alike to come together and hold a share in local, community solar projects.

Sponsored by Energy Committee Chair and Assemblywoman Amy Paulin, the Shared Clean Energy Bill aims to open up renewable energy production on a community scale. Those normally prohibited from participating in solar production such would gain access to cleaner energy. What’s more, the health and environmental benefits come at an appropriate time, jibing well with Obama’s carbon emissions reduction law. There is no major opposition to this bill; the main obstacle appears to be time, as the legislative session closes today: June 19. Should the bill not make it to the floor of the Assembly and Senate today, the bill will be reintroduced at the start of the next session.

Read the rest of this entry »

Erica Nangeroni

Ohio Becomes the First State to Freeze its Renewable Portfolio Standard

The passage of Senate Bill 310 (SB310) has frozen Ohio’s Renewable Portfolio Standard until 2017, making Ohio the first state to roll back renewable energy and efficiency measures.

The passage of Senate Bill 310 (SB310) has frozen Ohio’s Renewable Portfolio Standard until 2017, making Ohio the first state to roll back renewable energy and efficiency measures.

With the signing of Senate Bill 310 (SB 310), Ohio has become the first state to “freeze” its Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS). Ohio Governor John Kasich signed the bill into law on June 13th, effectively halting the state’s mandates for efficiency and renewables until 2017. Come 2017, these mandates will pick up where they left off when the freeze occurred, as opposed to the annual increases in renewable energy and efficiency measures that would have occurred with the RPS.

SB310 will significantly harm Ohio’s solar industry by driving SREC prices down in both the Buckeye state as well as the surrounding states such as Kentucky, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Indiana, and Michigan that sell their SRECs into Ohio. The bill faced tremendous opposition from health and environmental coalitions, as well as a group of 70 businesses and organizations, including Honda and Whirlpool, who urged Governor Kasich not to sign the bill.

Read the rest of this entry »

Natacha Kiler

2014 U.S. Solar Projects Face Greatest Hardships in the Chinese Trade Case

Here's how new tariffs on Chinese module manufacturers will affect solar project finance deals in 2014.

Here’s how new tariffs on Chinese module manufacturers will affect solar project finance deals in 2014.

In the first week of June, the U.S. Department of Commerce (DoC) announced its decision to levy tariffs ranging from 18.5-35% against Chinese solar manufacturers such as ReneSola, Suntech, Trina Solar, and Yingli as countervailing measures against Chinese subsidies for solar products. The DoC enacted the duty after deeming that such subsidies give Chinese solar manufacturers an undue advantage over competing domestic firms (such as SolarWorld).

From our team’s perspective, the trade tariff is most taxing for U.S. developers and investors who are trying to finance solar projects in Q3 and Q4 of 2014. Earlier this year, solar panels could be procured at a cost of $0.60-0.70/Watt, but now, panel prices are more likely to be procured at a cost of $0.70-0.80/Watt. The tariff falls hardest on (1) those who have projects with thin profit margins, and (2) those who have previously negotiated prices for Chinese panels, but who have not actually purchased the equipment. In addition to the cost impact, many project developers and EPC’s are now without a secure supply of modules and must now actively shop for them. This can wreak potential havoc for delivery risk with respect to project schedules. Read the rest of this entry »

Aaditya Saple

Massachusetts Proposes New Solar Policy…Again

Massachusetts proposes new solar policy...again. The new proposal is a compromise to address net metering and the SREC market.

Massachusetts proposes new solar policy…again. The new proposal is a compromise to address net metering and the SREC market.

Less than two months after Massachusetts unveiled the SREC-II solar incentive program, big utilities and developers are back at the table to push for a new deal. Stakeholders congregated at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston on Wednesday, June 11th, to broker a stable and sustainable agreement addressing the state’s two biggest policy incentives: net metering and the Massachusetts solar renewable energy credit (SREC) market.

The Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER) led the negotiations among the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) and the state’s dominant utilities, National Grid and Northeast Utilities. The meeting resulted in a compromised agreement that will hopefully be translated into proposed legislation to be presented to the TUE Committee. Read the rest of this entry »

Natacha Kiler

June 2014 Solar Project Finance Journal

This month's Solar Project Finance journal includes updates on the hottest solar markets, solar tariffs, 111(d), and the most competitive PPA rates.

This month’s Solar Project Finance journal includes updates on the hottest solar markets, solar tariffs, 111(d), and the most competitive PPA rates.

Below, we have included excerpts from Sol Systems’ June  2014 Solar Project Finance Journal, which is a monthly email newsletter that our project finance team distributes to our network of clients and solar stakeholders. Our newsletter contains solar statistics from current real-life solar projects, trends and observations gained through monthly interviews with our solar project finance team, and it incorporates news from a variety of solar industry resources.

If you would like to receive our Solar Project Finance Journal via email every month, please email pr@solsystemscompany.com with a request to be added to our Project Finance Journal distribution list. Read the rest of this entry »

Sara Rafalson

Sol Systems Welcomes Joe Song as Senior Director of Investment Analysis

Sol Systems is proud to welcome Joe Song to the team.

Sol Systems is proud to welcome Joe Song to the team as Senior Director of Investment Analysis.

Sol Systems today announced the appointment of Joe Song as Senior Director of Investment Analysis.

At Sol Systems, Joe Song oversees technical diligence for Sol Systems’ solar project investments, supporting the tax equity, take-out and debt financing products that Sol Systems provides to the North American solar market. He also manages the construction process, structuring the project management and owner’s agent roles that Sol Systems provides to ensure the solar investments are built to specification. Mr. Song also works with developers to optimize projects so that they achieve benchmarks for financing and supports efforts to introduce new capital to the solar market.

Mr. Song joined Sol Systems after spending the previous 4 years working as an independent consultant for solar financing companies, management consulting firms, and the Department of Energy. Previously,  he spent six years working as Director of Design & Engineering for SunEdison, where he built an internal engineering team who supported the construction of over 150 megawatts of solar projects. Mr. Song is also an adviser to SunFarmer, a non-profit solar financing company deploying solar for hospitals in Nepal. Read the rest of this entry »

Anna Noucas

Will Ohio be the First State to Freeze its Renewable Portfolio Standard?

. If successful, Senate Bill 310 (SB 310) would significantly harm Ohio’s solar industry, which has created 3,800 jobs and made Ohio #8 in the country in terms of renewable energy job creation.

. If successful, Senate Bill 310 (SB 310) would significantly harm Ohio’s solar industry, which has created 3,800 jobs and made Ohio #8 in the country in terms of renewable energy job creation.

In the past two years, Ohio legislators have twice introduced legislation to repeal the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS). After many unsuccessful attempts, the anti-renewables lobby is finally making progress with new legislation to “freeze” the state’s RPS. If successful, Senate Bill 310 (SB 310) would significantly harm Ohio’s solar industry, which has created 3,800 jobs and made Ohio #8 in the country in terms of renewable energy job creation. The legislation would also discontinue the Buckeye state’s solar renewable energy credit (SREC) market, thereby discouraging further homeowners and businesses from building and financing solar and other renewable energy projects. These alterations to the RPS would also affect solar customers in states like Indiana, Michigan, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Kentucky who sell their SRECs into the Ohio market.

Read the rest of this entry »

Natacha Kiler

Solar Storage: From Geeky Pipe Dream to Reality

Solar energy systems with energy storage can provide electricity back-up, frequency regulation to the grid, and offset energy usage.

Solar energy systems with energy storage can provide electricity back-up, frequency regulation to the grid, and offset energy usage.

Among solar geeks, solar storage has long been an interesting topic of discussion, and one with (at least) a three-pronged value proposition. First, solar energy systems with energy storage can provide electricity back-up to the host in the event of a grid-outage. Second, storage may provide an opportunity to offset energy usage at the customer site, capacity and demand charges. Finally, and perhaps the most exciting, solar-based storage systems can provide frequency regulation to the grid, enabling the grid to operate on the 60 Hz “hum” or “heartbeat” that keeps the grid in sync.

Until now, these value propositions have not outweighed the great cost of battery storage, but market-based factors, business innovations, and technical developments in energy storage and PV technology are making storage more realistic than ever. Indeed, there seem to be a few markets where solar energy storage may be successfully built in the near term. For very different reasons, we expect to see more solar storage projects in California, Hawaii, New York, and the PJM region in the near future. Read the rest of this entry »

Natacha Kiler

When Solar Property Taxes Get Personal

Property taxes are a frequently issue for solar project development. The presence, or lack, of a property tax on a solar energy system has significant implications for a project’s profitability.

Property taxes are a frequently issue for solar project development. The presence, or lack, of a property tax on a solar energy system has significant implications for a project’s profitability.

On the long and winding road of solar project development, property taxes are frequently an afterthought. Yet, the presence, or lack, of a property tax on a solar energy system has significant implications for a project’s profitability. According to SEIA, 38 states in the U.S. have property tax exemptions for solar, and there are more states that are pushing them forward (most recently Colorado). However, property tax exemptions are nuanced, often with different treatments for personal property (business equipment such as tools, fixtures, and vehicles) and real property (land and buildings).

This can sometimes mean that solar energy systems and third-party financing arrangements will not qualify for the exemptions. Moreover, there are some solar markets where property tax exemptions are individually negotiable – but not definite. Georgia and Massachusetts are two examples.

In Georgia, legislative efforts and utility programs have sought to increase solar development. Despite these efforts, project margins remain very tight because of low PPA rates. In addition, the state relies on property taxes (not sales tax or income tax) to generate much of its income, which means solar projects face the additional burden of real property taxes. As a result, we have seen cases where a “good” project’s viability hinges on the project’s tax treatment. Read the rest of this entry »

Sara Rafalson

Will the Panel Price Bump be a Q3 Solar Deal Breaker?

Solar panel prices are trending up.

Solar panel prices are trending up.

Panel prices are trending up. Depending on module make, model, and the order size, the increase looks to be somewhere to the tune of 6-8 cents per watt, or a cost of 70-75 cents per watt for projects that will be built in Q3 of 2014.

The price bump may be attributed to the U.S.-China trade dispute, which has yet to be resolved. The continued delay in the international trade tariff decision has created urgency for panel suppliers to move modules, leading to material price increases. The price bump may also be the result of some module suppliers using the dispute to raise prices. If module tariffs related to the trade dispute do indeed move forward, the solar panel price surge could kill many solar deals.  Although the module price bump is impacting near-term solar projects, we see it as a temporary spike. Read the rest of this entry »

Natacha Kiler

May 2014 Solar Project Finance Journal

Our monthly project finance journal contains solar finance statistics, trends, industry news, and SREC market information. Contact our team at finance@solsystemscompany.com or 888-235-1538 x2 for your solar project financing needs.

This month’s Solar Project Finance Journal includes info on the most competitive PPA prices, developments in Connecticut, Hawaii, Massachusetts, and New York, and information on the importance of inverter choice, an update on our construction and term debt offerings, EPA’s upcoming rulings on greenhouse gas emissions, and more.

Below, we have included excerpts from Sol Systems’ May 2014 Solar Project Finance Journal, which is a monthly email newsletter that our project finance team distributes to our network of clients and solar stakeholders. Our newsletter contains solar statistics from current real-life solar projects, trends and observations gained through monthly interviews with our solar project finance team, and it incorporates news from a variety of solar industry resources.

If you would like to receive our Solar Project Finance Journal via email every month, please email pr@solsystemscompany.com with a request to be added to our Project Finance Journal distribution list.

Project Finance Statistics

The following statistics represent some high-quality solar projects and portfolios that we are actively reviewing for investment.

Capacity: 200 kW – 37 MW
Average Capacity:  5.2 MW

Developer all-in (asking) prices*: 

  • <500 kW:  $2.60-3.00/Watt
  • 500 kW–2 MW:  $1.85 – 3.20/Watt
  • >2 MW:  $1.60-3.00/Watt

Read the rest of this entry »

Jessica Robbins

New York Launches New Incentive Round for Large Solar Projects

The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) unveiled a new funding program for solar systems over 200kW in size.

The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) unveiled a new funding program for solar systems over 200kW in size.

New York is in a solar state of mind. On the heels of the recent announcement to commit an additional $1B to New York solar incentives over the next decade, the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) unveiled the next anticipated funding program for large solar systems, over 200kW in size. This round of funding closely resembles previous offerings, and does not appear to be part of the “megawatt block” structure highlighted in the April announcement. PON 2956 (short for Program Opportunity Notice) went live this week, promising $60M in available incentives or more, to be awarded at NYSERDA’s discretion. Applications are due July 17th, 2014 and all systems must come online by April of 2016.

Changes from Previous NYSERDA Large Solar Incentives

Unlike past PONs for large projects, all New York Independent System Operator (NYISO) load zones are in play. Several favorable tweaks to this year’s program, compared to earlier New York solar incentive rounds like PON 2860 and 2589 in the past, indicate a willingness on NYSERDA’s part to see this program drive more project development this year than ever before. In previous PONs for large projects, awardees received the full incentive amount in five payments – 30% at project completion paid out in two upfront installments, and 70% paid out as a PBI split between the first three years of production. PON 2956 will see that 30% upfront payment occur in one installment instead of two, and the remaining 70% condensed to only two years’ worth of production, paid at year’s end. The incentive for any project cannot exceed 50% of project installed costs. Read the rest of this entry »

Victoria Ngare

How Third Party Financing Can Be a Growth Strategy for Commercial Solar Developers

Third party financing allows developers to do what they do best, develop projects and build relationships with hosts.

Third party financing allows developers to do what they do best: develop projects and build relationships with hosts.

The solar industry has experienced tremendous growth over the past few years. In the early 2000s, the industry was composed of a few specialized players. With the growth of federal and state level incentive programs as well as innovations in financing, more players entered the space. Programs like the 1603 Cash Grant allowed developers and those that did not have access to tax equity to enter the commercial solar space in a meaningful way by offering Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs). But as stocks of safe-harbored modules dwindle, more of these developers are pursuing PPA financing partners as well as external tax-equity.

With third-party financing developers originate, permit and build the project with the assurance that an investor will buy the project at COD. In some cases a developer will package the project and sell it once the project is “shovel ready” to an  investor to build and own. Under this structure, a developer sells the asset outright and receives payment at COD or through milestone payments during construction.  By spending more time developing project pipeline, developers can build up sales and therefore tax appetite. Eventually they can take advantage of the ITC and look to re-invest the capital in owning projects and actively investing in other projects as well.  Lastly, as the industry consolidates, developing more projects can be a strategy to demonstrate increased value.  The more project pipeline and development experience a developer has the more valuable he becomes to a potential investor or buyer.

Read the rest of this entry »

Thomas Larson

Cashing in on Solar’s Hidden Value

Solar and Battery

Batteries may first enter the solar space in demand charge reduction.

The solar value proposition remains very attractive to homeowners and facility managers across the United States. However, the industry sells itself with one arm tied behind its back…

From a consumer’s perspective, there are two key pieces of energy demand—capacity and cumulative usage. Many utility bills are comprised by 1) a demand charge, set by measuring the customer’s most energy intensive hour within a given billing period, and 2) marginal energy use, which is simply the per kWh rate with which the solar crowd is fairly familiar. While solar can predictably reduce overall energy drawn from the traditional utility over a given period, it remains more difficult to predict and quantify its reduction in peak demand for consumers. In short, solar has yet to add capacity to its appeal in predictable, scalable forms. However, capacity can be added to solar’s arsenal through a combination of technological and financial innovations.

Read the rest of this entry »

Sara Rafalson

Sol Systems’ CEO Yuri Horwitz Named Finalist for Ernst and Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year

Sol Systems' CEO Yuri Horwitz was named as a finalist for Ernst and Young's Entrepreneur of the Year for the Washington Area.

Sol Systems’ CEO Yuri Horwitz was named as a finalist for Ernst and Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year for the Washington Area.

Sol Systems is pleased to announce that CEO Yuri Horwitz has been named a finalist for Ernst and Young’s 2014 Entrepreneur of the Year award. The Entrepreneur of the Year award is recognized as one of the nation’s most prestigious honors for the country’s most innovative business leaders. Finalists have demonstrated excellence and extraordinary success in such areas as innovation, financial performance, risk and personal commitment to their businesses and communities.

Yuri was named a finalist for the Washington Area region. Winners will be announced on June 19, 2014, at which point regional award winners will advance to the next round and be considered for the national Entrepreneur of the Year awards program. Read the rest of this entry »

Julia Heckmann

Sol Systems Speaks at 2nd Annual Sunshine Backed Bonds Conference in New York

George Ashton and Daniel Yonkin will speak about financing alternatives and tax equity in the solar energy space.

George Ashton and Daniel Yonkin will speak about solar financing and tax equity in New York today.

Sol Systems’ CFO, George Ashton, and Director of Tax Equity, Daniel Yonkin, are speaking at the 2nd Annual Sunshine Backed Bonds conference in New York today.

Mr. Ashton will participate in a panel discussion on options and considerations for lowering the cost of capital for renewable energy. Panelists will focus on current financing alternatives available to solar developers and provide an outlook for the role of securitization in the solar space.

Mr. Yonkin will speak on a panel detailing tax equity and accounting considerations in the asset-backed security field. The panel will provide updates on tax equity structures, discuss the friction points between tax equity and securitization, and explore options for resolving these frictions.

Read the rest of this entry »

Jessica Robbins

New York Commits Another $1 Billion to Solar. Here’s What You Need to Know.

Will New York join Massachusetts and California as an enduring solar state?

Last Thursday, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced an additional $1 billion in funding for the NY-Sun initiative, making good on his promise to extend the program through 2023. The funding announcement includes an overhaul of New York State Energy Research and Development Authority’s (NYSERDA) current incentive program, previously doled out through Program Opportunity Notices (PONs) with varying availability for different solar project sizes and geographies. The new program will take effect June 1st.

With this new initiative, solar should remain a crucial part of the Empire State’s energy portfolio

New York Solar Incentives Explained

The NY-Sun initiative, founded in 2011, coordinates solar programs between the Long Island Power Authority (LIPA, now PSEG Long Island), the New York Power Authority (NYPA), and NYSERDA. The new program, called “Megawatt Block”, will break out MW capacity allocations to specific regions of the state, and then further break down target capacities in each block. Solar incentives in New York will be awarded on a per watt basis for residential PV (up to 25 kW), small PV (non-residential up to 200 kW), and large PV (over 200 kW). Similar to the popular California Solar Initiative rebates, prices will step down as capacity blocks in each region and sector are filled, allowing the market to grow at a steady pace and eventually stand on its own. If the geographic preference follows the earlier program, we can expect to see preference given to areas downstate near New York City.

Read the rest of this entry »

Sara Rafalson

We’re Hiring! Sol Systems Seeks Director of Marketing

Interested in joining the Sol team? We are currently hiring for a Director of Marketing.

Interested in joining the Sol team? We are currently hiring for a Director of Marketing.

Sol Systems is seeking a Director of Marketing to help us expand our growing team and business and lead our Marketing Department.

Sol Systems attracts the best and the brightest. We have built a dynamic, entrepreneurial and capable team dedicated to the important mission of reducing the human ecological impact through the financing, development, and management of distributed generation energy assets.  

We change the world. We invite you to join us.

Apply today to be Sol Systems’ next Director of Marketing.

Read the rest of this entry »

Sara Rafalson

Sol Systems to Sponsor, Speak at Novogradac Financing Renewable Energy Conference in San Francisco

Sol Systems will speak at the Financing Renewable Energy Conference.

Sol Systems will speak at Novogradac’s Financing Renewable Energy Conference.

Several members of the Sol Systems team are in San Francisco for Novogradac’s Financing Renewable Energy Conference. While in San Francisco, Sol Systems’ CEO, Yuri Horwitz, will speak on a panel detailing the tax equity outlook for renewable energy assets. Yuri and the panelists will provide updates on the current state of the solar tax equity market, the tax equity investor pool, and investing plans for 2014.

Sol Systems has a track record of success in facilitating solar tax equity transactions. The Sol Systems team originates solar project opportunities from our extensive network of solar developer partners and then leads the negotiations and deal structuring on behalf of its solar tax equity investors.  Most recently, the Sol Systems team announced the closing of a commercial solar project portfolio with Nationwide Mutual Insurance. Read the rest of this entry »

Sara Rafalson

Sol Systems Bundles & Secures Financing for 2.8 MW Rhode Island Solar Portfolio

Sol Systems secured financing for this 2.8 MW Rhode Island solar project, which reached operational status this month.

Sol Systems secured financing for this 2.8 MW Rhode Island solar project, which reached operational status this month.

Sol Systems is pleased to announce the successful financing of a 2.8 megawatt (MW) solar portfolio in Rhode Island. Megawatt Energy Solutions developed the four project opportunities, which are located in Cumberland and Providence. The systems reached operational status in April. Sol Systems facilitated the financing process by providing due diligence, working with Megawatt to alter the site lease and lower the EPC costs, bundling the projects into a portfolio, and obtaining financing from a capital source with previous experience in the Rhode Island solar market.

This was Megawatt’s first commercial-sized deal, and the first time they sought third-party financing. “We are glad to have worked with an experienced financing partner like Sol Systems to bring our first third-party financing deal over the finish line,” said Steven Depina, President of Megawatt Energy Solutions.

“We pride ourselves on bringing C&I solar projects like this one to fruition through our diverse pool of capital,” said Andrew Gilligan, Sol Systems’ Director of Investments. “We look forward to working with the Megawatt team on future investments.” Read the rest of this entry »

Sara Rafalson

3 Financing Lessons Residential Solar Can Teach C&I

Residential solar is booming. Here's what commercial and industrial (C&I) solar can learn from residential as it looks to scale.

Here’s what commercial and industrial (C&I) solar can learn from the booming residential solar market.

As new and old solar investors seek investment opportunities in distributed generation (DG) solar, there are a number of parallels that can be drawn between the residential and commercial sectors. While residential solar developers have had significant success in obtaining financing for their solar projects, growth has been more sluggish in the commercial and industrial “C&I” sector, which we define broadly as projects that are behind the meter and are either rooftop or adjacent to a host. Despite several differences between residential and C&I, we think there are three basic lessons that C&I can learn from the residential space.

1. Develop Portfolios, Not Projects

Residential solar companies aggregate large portfolios of solar assets and finance tranches of around 5,000-10,000 solar energy systems at a time. This distributes financing risks across thousands of assets.  Although C&I portfolios will not comprise thousands of solar assets anytime in the foreseeable future, it is certainly easier to finance a portfolios of several 200-900 kW projects than it is to finance one-off projects.  Read the rest of this entry »

Natacha Kiler

Solar Cost of Capital Is Becoming Less Costly

Solar's cost of capital has come down slightly.

More capital is competing for solar projects. This competition for quality solar projects is driving down return hurdles for many investors.

As many have hoped and predicted, it appears that competition among financiers is driving down required solar project return hurdles for many investors.  Market clearing prices for projects indicate that investor hurdle rates for financeable large commercial and small utility projects have dropped 100-200 basis points (1-2%) in the last six months. There are a number of reasons this is starting to happen.

To begin, the cost of capital is getting more competitive as more capital rushes into the solar space. More investors are chasing deals, and by the basic function of supply and demand, increased supply means lower prices, or in this case – lower project return hurdles.

Debt is also becoming more plentiful as new debt providers have emerged (including Sol Systems and its partner Hannon Armstrong). This is making debt more affordable, and many of these debt options have longer tenors. For example, our $100 million debt fund accommodates term loans with 20-year tenors.  Read the rest of this entry »

Jessica Robbins

Sol Systems Completes the Massachusetts Solar Market’s First SREC II Transaction

Sol Systems is the first to close a prepaid SREC contract in Massachusetts' nascent SREC II market.

Sol Systems is the first to close a prepaid SREC contract in Massachusetts’ nascent SREC II market.

Sol Systems is pleased to be the first to close a transaction in solar renewable energy credit (SREC) II, the newest iteration of the Massachusetts solar market. Under this agreement, Sol Systems will provide solar project financing via a prepaid SREC contract to EthoSolar, an Ontario-based solar power provider with over 600 systems installed in North America, for a 150 kilowatt (kW) solar energy project.

This landmark deal is the first prepaid SREC contract in the nascent Massachusetts SREC-II market, which will be promulgated on April 25. Sol Systems provided a Sol Upfront contract, issuing pre-payment to EthoSolar’s client for generation of SRECs in 2014 and 2015; this capital was key in pushing the project over the finish line in light of a tight deadline.

“Combining an upfront sale of a percentage of SRECS with other traditional and nontraditional solutions allowed us to negotiate an attractive financing solution from a local bank that has our client in the black from day one on this project. Sol Systems brought creativity and value that was outside the box,” said Ethan DeSota of EthoSolar.

Read the rest of this entry »

Natacha Kiler

VOSTs: Solar’s Newest Friend or Foe?

Is the Value of Solar Tariff (VOST) the next big trend in solar energy policy?

Is the Value of Solar Tariff (VOST) the next big trend in solar energy policy?

Last month, a Value of Solar Tariff (VOST) emerged in Minnesota, and it was accompanied by extensive commentary from the solar industry.

What is a VOST and why is it interesting?

VOSTs are utility rate tariffs. They are similar to Feed-in Tariffs (FITs) because the utility pays the system owner for all the solar electric generation; there is no net metering calculation to account for solar energy consumed by the host. However, VOSTs and FITs differ in the way the rate is calculated. Theoretically, VOSTs account for the positive and negative attributes of solar, such as avoided cost, alleviation of grid congestion, and environmental benefits. Although it is not the first VOST (Austin, TX claims that precedent), the Minnesota VOST has attracted attention because it is the first statewide precedent for calculating the value of consumer-generated solar power. Read the rest of this entry »

Natacha Kiler

April 2014 Solar Project Finance Journal

This month's Solar Project Finance Journal includes info on the most competitive PPA prices, developments in some of the hottest state markets, and information on yieldcos, storage, and more.

This month’s Solar Project Finance Journal includes info on the most competitive PPA prices, developments in some of the hottest state markets, and information on yieldcos, storage, and more.

Below, we have included excerpts from Sol Systems’ April 2014 Solar Project Finance Journal, which is a monthly email newsletter that our project finance team distributes to our network of clients and solar stakeholders. Our newsletter contains solar statistics from current real-life solar projects, trends and observations gained through monthly interviews with our solar project finance team, and it incorporates news from a variety of solar industry resources.

If you would like to receive our Solar Project Finance Journal via email every month, please email pr@solsystemscompany.com with a request to be added to our Project Finance Journal distribution list.

The following statistics represent some high-quality solar projects and portfolios that we are actively reviewing for investment.

Capacity: 180 kW – 44 MW
Average Capacity:  5 MW Read the rest of this entry »

Sara Rafalson

Sol Systems and Hannon Armstrong Collaborate to Deploy Up to $100 Million of Debt Financing for Distributed Solar Project Developers in 2014

Today, Sol Systems and Hannon Armstrong announced a fund for up to $100 million of construction and term debt financing for developers and owners of distributed solar projects benefitting commercial, industrial, municipal and utility customers.

Today, Sol Systems and Hannon Armstrong announced a fund for up to $100 million of construction and term debt financing for solar projects.

Hannon Armstrong Sustainable Infrastructure Capital, Inc., (“Hannon Armstrong,” NYSE: HASI), a capital provider for sustainable infrastructure assets, along with Sol Systems, LLC (“Sol Systems”), a renewable energy investment firm, today announced plans to originate, structure and fund up to $100 million of construction and term debt financing for developers and owners of distributed solar projects benefiting commercial, industrial, municipal and utility customers throughout the United States and its territories. With HASI’s capital resources and Sol Systems’ transactional expertise in distributed solar, the parties believe they are well-positioned to originate and fund loans for projects and portfolios in these sectors.

Read the rest of this entry »

Sara Rafalson

Sol Systems Welcomes Colin Murchie as Director of Project Finance and Leslie Barkemeyer as Deputy General Counsel

Colin Murchie joins Sol Systems from SolarCity as Director of Project Finance.

Colin Murchie joins Sol Systems from SolarCity as Director of Project Finance.

Sol Systems today announced the appointment of Colin Murchie as Director of Project Finance and Leslie Barkemeyer as Deputy General Counsel.

Mr. Murchie joins Sol Systems from SolarCity Corporation, one of the country’s leading solar companies. His industry experience dates back to 2002, and previously with SunEdison and the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), he led pioneering work on some of the fundamental policies underlying U.S. solar development.

As a Director, Policy and Electricity Markets, with SolarCity, Mr. Murchie led the company’s state-level advocacy work in a number of East Coast markets during a period of unprecedented progress.  In addition, he served as a resource to the company’s commercial sales team, performing diligence and advisory work on new and emerging solar programs nationwide, and elucidating business models for greater integration into the retail electricity markets.  At SolarCity, he also originated and managed a portfolio of solar renewable energy credit (SREC) contracts worth more than $20 million. Read the rest of this entry »

Daniel Watson

Sol Systems’ Debt Finance Director to Attend Greentech Media’s Solar Summit this week

Sol Systems’ Senior Director of Debt Financing Mike Midden will be in Phoenix this week to discuss debt financing at the GTM Solar Summit.

Sol Systems’ Senior Director, Mike Midden, will speak at Greentech Media’s Solar Summit this week in Phoenix. Mr. Midden presented today, April 14,  on how to drive down interest rates for solar project debt financing.

Mr. Midden has over 17 years of experience in the energy and financial sectors. Mr. Midden leads Sol Systems’ debt financing group, which oversees the $100 million solar debt fund that the Sol Systems launched in early 2014 to address financing challenges in the commercial and industrial (C&I) solar sector. Ideal projects range from (but are not limited to) 750 kW – 20 MW in size. Loans may be as small as $1 million and sometimes smaller, depending on the opportunity, with tenors as long as 18 years on term loans. Read the rest of this entry »

Anna Noucas

Massachusetts Finalizes SREC-II Program: Here’s What You Can Expect

The Massachusetts DOER expects the SREC-II Program to become effective late in April.

Massachusetts DOER expects the SREC-II Program to become effective late in April.

On April 11th, the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER) announced that they have officially filed the final revisions for the SREC-II program with the Secretary of State’s office.  These final revisions will go into effect on April 25, 2014 once the rules have been promulgated.

To qualify for SREC-I, all systems less than 100 kW must both submit an application and demonstrate that they have been authorized to interconnect by April 25th.  For systems larger than 100 kW,  projects may receive an extension beyond June 30, 2014 only if the project can demonstrate that interconnection depends only on receipt of authorization to interconnect and such receipt is delayed only by the local distribution company or due to remaining steps required by other parties for safe and reliable interconnection. In addition, the DOER announced that they will be using a new online registration platform for all SREC II applications.  This new platform and application process will be made available to the public on May 6th.
Read the rest of this entry »

Sara Rafalson

Webinar Invitation – Everything You Need to Know about the Massachusetts SREC II Program

The Massachusetts solar renewable energy credit (SREC) program has been critical for driving the massive solar growth in the state. However, regulatory uncertainty has loomed since the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER) announced last spring that the first iteration of the solar carve-out, now known as SREC I, had reached its cap. Since then, the industry has had their eyes on the development of SREC II, the Bay State’s next solar carve-out program. As SREC II nears promulgation, join Sol Systems, SEIA, and the Massachusetts DOER as we discuss:

  • SREC II’s regulatory framework and how it differs from SREC I, particularly in regards to the new SREC factor and Clearinghouse auction
  • The fate of Massachusetts SREC I subscribers, including those who have not yet been accepted into the program
  • Supply and demand dynamics in the MA SREC I & SREC II programs
  • Spot market prices and the availability of fixed price contracts, including advisable SREC strategies for both residential and commercial systems
  • How to finance commercial projects in Massachusetts, including advisable PPA rates and the availability of SREC strips

    Sol Systems will host a webinar on SREC II with the Massachusetts DOER and SEIA

    Join Sol Systems, Massachusetts DOER and SEIA for information on SREC II structure, pricing and market dynamics

Speakers include:
  • George Ashton, Vice President & CFO, Sol Systems LLC
  • Jason Cimpl, Renewables Trader, Sol Systems LLC
  • Michael Judge, Associate RPS Program Manager, Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources
  • Carrie Hitt, Senior Vice President of State Affairs, SEIA

The event will be taking place on April 23rd, 2014. Register today.

About Sol Systems
Sol Systems is a renewable energy finance firm that provides secure, sustainable investment opportunities to investor clients, and sophisticated project financing solutions to developers. Founded in 2008, Sol Systems focuses on meeting the industry’s most critical solar financing needs, including tax structured investments, capital placement, debt financing, and SREC portfolio management. To date, the company has facilitated financing for thousands of distributed generation solar projects and hundreds of millions in investment on behalf of Fortune 100 corporations, utilities, banks, family offices, and individuals. For more information, please visit
Daniel Watson

Rhode Island Solar Feed-in Tariff Now Accepting Applications for 2014

Contact us at finance@solsystemscompany.com for more information on the Rhode Island feed-in tariff.

National Grid, Rhode Island’s electric utility, recently announced a new round of enrollment in the state’s feed-in tariff program in the spring of 2014. The allocation is part of the Distributed Generation Standard Contracts program, which was created by legislation in June of 2011. The program originally called for a minimum of 40MW in new renewable energy procurement by December 30, 2014. The first open enrollment for the year targets 6 MW, 3.15MW of which is reserved for solar, with additional enrollments scheduled in July and October of this year.

The proposal period will run from April 21st until May 2nd. For solar systems above 250 kW, ceiling prices range from $0.2730/kWh to $0.2350/kWh, fixed, for 15 years, depending on system size and tax credits used for financing. Projects utilizing bonus depreciation and PTC/ITC will face lower ceiling rates across all sizes. Bonus depreciation is not currently available as an incentive. The Distributed Generation Standard Contract Board sets the ceiling prices and capacity targets for each enrollment period. Renewable energy projects including wind, solar, and anaerobic digestion are all eligible for the program, with certain distinctions based on technology and size. Following are the ceiling prices set by National Grid:
Read the rest of this entry »

Daniel Watson

Sol Systems to Travel to San Francisco, Las Vegas, and New York for Upcoming Solar Project Finance Conferences

The Sol Systems team will attend the 2014 SEIA Tax and Finance Seminar this week in San Francisco at the W San Francisco Hotel. George Ashton, Sol Systems’ CFO, will be participating in a panel discussion on securitization and its role in the solar space. The discussion will focus on how securitization has worked in the past, and its prospects moving forward.

Next week, several members of the Sol Systems team will travel to New York Bloomberg’s Future of Energy Summit 2014. Sol Systems’ CEO, Yuri Horwitz, will travel to Las Vegas for the 29th Annual Platts Global Power Markets Conference.

Read the rest of this entry »

Sara Rafalson

Sol Systems Announces SREC II Pricing for Massachusetts Solar

Sol Systems is currently offering 3 and 5-year SREC contracts for Massachusetts solar projects.

Sol Systems is currently offering 3 and 5-year SREC contracts for Massachusetts solar projects.

Sol Systems is pleased to announce the industry’s first official 3 and 5-year fixed price contracts for Massachusetts SREC II solar projects. Since the closing of the SREC I program, there has been a significant amount of uncertainty regarding the value of SRECS in the SREC II program, and consequently, a dearth of SREC II financing options. Sol Systems is offering this pricing to the industry to help solar installers, developer, and investors in the face of this regulatory and market uncertainty.

Please note SREC II pricing applies to customers under 100 kW interconnected after the SREC II promulgation date (currently April 25). These prices are firm, but we expect to expand and update our product offerings as SREC II is finalized.

Sol Systems continues to offer the full suite of SREC options for solar projects that have qualified for SREC I, including our fixed price contracts, upfront funding, and brokerage solutions.

In addition to SREC monetization, Sol Systems also offers construction loans, term debt, and take-out financing for commercial Massachusetts solar projects (generally 200 kW in size and larger). Please contact our team at finance@solsystemscompany.com to learn more about commercial financing opportunities.

Read the rest of this entry »

Natacha Kiler

March 2014 Project Finance Journal

Our monthly project finance journal contains solar finance statistics, trends, industry news, and SREC market information. Contact our team at finance@solsystemscompany.com or 888-235-1538 x2 for your solar project financing needs.

Our monthly project finance journal contains solar finance statistics, trends, industry news, and SREC market information. Contact our team at finance@solsystemscompany.com or 888-235-1538 x2 for your solar project financing needs.

Below, we have included excerpts from Sol Systems’ March 2014 Project Finance Journal, which is a monthly email newsletter that our project finance team distributes to our network of clients and solar stakeholders. Our newsletter contains solar statistics from current real-life solar projects, trends and observations gained through monthly interviews with our solar project finance team, and it incorporates news from a variety of solar industry resources.

If you would like to receive our Solar Project Finance Journal via email every month, please email pr@solsystemscompany.com with a request to be added to our Project Finance Journal distribution list.

Read the rest of this entry »

Anna Noucas

Massachusetts Makes Progress towards Finalizing SREC-II Regulation

The Massachusetts DOER expects the SREC-II Program to become effective late in April.

The Massachusetts DOER has initiated the final review process for the Solar Carve-Out II Program and they expect the Program to become effective by April 25th.

Solar stakeholders in Massachusetts are beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel.  On Monday, March 17th, the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER) announced that they have initiated the last review necessary before finalizing the Solar Carve-Out II program.  The Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities, and Energy finished their review of the regulation and presented their comments to the DOER on Monday, March 10th, which has now started the last 30 day clock during which the DOER must consider the Joint Committee’s comments.

During a presentation at the NECA Renewable Energy Conference in Westborough, MA last week, the DOER mentioned the comments received from the Joint Committee were favorable and thus they plan to file the final regulation on April 11th with the expectation that the SREC-II program will become effective two weeks later on April 25th.  This means the DOER may very well begin receiving applications for the SREC-II program as early as May 1st, although this date has yet to be finalized.

Read the rest of this entry »

Alejandro Neira

Sol Systems’ Tax Equity Deal with SunEdison & Nationwide Mutual Featured in Bloomberg New Energy Finance

Bloomberg_New_Energy_Finance

Sol Systems Featured in Bloomberg New Energy Finance

Earlier this week, Sol Systems was featured in a Bloomberg New Energy Finance article detailing Sol Systems’ recent tax equity deal with Nationwide Mutual and SunEdison. In this transaction, Sol Systems advised Nationwide Mutual Insurance on the acquisition of the equity. This is part of Sol Systems’ ongoing success in bringing new tax equity to solars. SunEdison developed the 13.4 megawatt solar portfolio for California’s prison and hospital systems. Sol System’s Director of Marketing Natacha Kiler was featured in the Bloomberg article

Read about Sol Systems in Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

Read the rest of this entry »

Natacha Kiler

SunEdison, Nationwide Mutual, Sol Systems and National Bank of Arizona Announce Financing for 13.4 MW Solar Electricity Portfolio

Sol Systems recently closed a 13.4 MW tax equity transaction on behalf of Nationwide Mutual and SunEdison. This transaction is representative of Sol Systems' ongoing success in bringing new investors to the solar industry. The National Bank of Arizona provided the debt financing.

Sol Systems recently closed a 13.4 MW tax equity transaction on behalf of Nationwide Mutual and SunEdison. This transaction is representative of Sol Systems’ ongoing success in bringing new investors to the solar industry. The National Bank of Arizona provided the debt financing.

SunEdison (NYSE: SUNE), a leading solar technology manufacturer and solar energy services provider along with Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company, National Bank of Arizona (NB|AZ), and Sol Systems today announced a $50 million fund to build a 13.4 megawatt (MW) solar portfolio for the State of California prison and hospital systems.

Sol Systems advised Nationwide Mutual Insurance on the acquisition of the equity in the transaction. SunEdison secured long-term debt for the projects from the National Bank of Arizona (NBAZ). The projects will create local construction jobs that contribute to the local economy and tax base.

“Financing is a critical element of any solar project, and having partners who are willing to innovate with us is critical to our growth,” Carlos Domenech, President for SunEdison Capital, said. “We will continue to innovate to help SunEdison’s shareholders and finance partners extract more value from our projects and create new opportunities to finance and build distributed generation solar power plants.”

These projects mark the first time the companies have worked together on a solar project. The collaborative investment involved the use of innovative financing structures that enable the State of California to reduce energy expenses. The tax equity transaction is representative of Sol Systems’ ongoing success in bringing new investors to the booming solar industry, and demonstrates Nationwide’s commitment to investing in the communities where its members and employees live and work. “This technology is critical to our nation’s energy future and we are proud to work with an investment leader like Nationwide Mutual and a solar leader like SunEdison,” commented Yuri Horwitz, CEO of Sol Systems.

Read the rest of this entry »

Sara Rafalson

Virginia Makes Progress Toward More Favorable Solar Market

Will the Old Dominion welcome the solar industry? Though progress has been slow, solar momentum is picking up in the Commonwealth.

Will the Old Dominion welcome the solar industry? Though progress has been slow, solar momentum is picking up in the Commonwealth.

It is no secret that Virginia lags far behind in its track record on solar energy, especially compared to neighboring states such as D.C., North Carolina, and Maryland. Thanks largely to the development of robust solar renewable energy credit (SREC) markets, Maryland ranks fourteenth in the country in installed solar capacity, and the latest Solar Jobs Census puts D.C. third in solar jobs per capita. Even North Carolina, which has caught headlines recently for its extremely conservative state legislature, is #3 in solar capacity with approximately 388 MW of solar capacity, thanks largely to a generous state tax credit that has fueled the development of a robust solar economy.

Unlike these other markets, an unfavorable regulatory and political climate is the clear missing link for Virginia. As of November 2013, Virginia had installed a mere 15 MW of solar capacity, ranking #34 in solar jobs per capita in the United States. Since there is no solar carve-out in the state renewable portfolio standard (RPS), Sol Systems must sell Virginia customers’ SRECs into Pennsylvania, an already over-saturated market. As for commercial solar, through our solar investment business, we have noted little investor interest in the state of Virginia due to its unfavorable regulatory environment for solar project development, which includes a “C” rating for its underwhelming net metering policies.

There may, however, still be an opportunity to expand the solar market in the Old Dominion. After a string of solar bills was introduced this legislative session, solar supporters are optimistic that Virginia is making strides to support the growth of the solar in the state.

Read the rest of this entry »

Daniel Watson

Sol Systems Speaks at Solar Power Finance and Investment Summit in San Diego

Sol Systems’ CEO Yuri Horwitz, CFO George Ashton, and other members of the team traveled to the Solar Power Finance and Investment Summit in San Diego, California this week. As experts in solar project finance, both of Sol Systems’ co-founders spoke at this conference: George spoke on a panel on matching developer desires with their financing needs, and  Yuri spoke on project economic viability and deal structuring, especially as they are related to tax equity investment.  Yuri also spoke on project underwriting.

banner_solar14

To date, Sol Systems has facilitated financing for approximately 85 MW of solar energy projects through its tax equity, debt, take-out financing, and SREC portfolio management services. To meet with Sol Systems at a future conference, please visit our events page.

Read the rest of this entry »

Sara Rafalson

Sol Systems Announces New Round of Financing for Distributed Generation Solar, Issues a Call for Projects to Fill the Fund

Sol Systems is actively seeking solar projects 200 kW - 5 MW in size for investment.

Sol Systems is actively seeking solar projects 200 kW – 5 MW in size for investment.

Today, Sol Systems announced allocations from several investor clients to be devoted to financing distributed generation solar assets. This latest fund is representative of Sol Systems’ efforts to expand the pool of capital available for commercial and industrial (C&I) solar, a typically under-served sector of the solar market.

Sol Systems is actively seeking 2014 project pipeline to fill the fund allocations, and new projects are being considered on a first-come, first-served basis. Ideal opportunities will meet the following metrics:

  •  Size: 200 kW – 5 MW
  •  Locations: Arizona, California, Connecticut, New Jersey, New York, or Massachusetts
  •  Timing: Potential to be closed in Q1 or Q2 of 2014 and placed in service in 2014 Read the rest of this entry »
Sara Rafalson

Sol Systems Closes Financing for 940 kW Solar Project in New Mexico, Launches Financing Partnership with Affordable Solar

Sol Systems' new partnership with Affordable Solar will provide financing solutions for Affordable Solar's national installer network.

Sol Systems’ new partnership with Affordable Solar will provide financing solutions for Affordable Solar’s national installer network.

Sol Systems is pleased to announce the financial closing of a 940 kilowatt (kW) solar energy system in Alamogordo, New Mexico. The project was the second deal that Sol Systems financed on behalf of New Mexico-based developer, Affordable Solar. Sol Systems also closed an 806 kW Affordable Solar project in the fall of 2013.

This recent project closing coincides with a new partnership that Sol Systems and Affordable Solar launched to streamline financing for distributed solar energy projects. Through the partnership, Sol Systems will work closely with Affordable Solar and their national installer network to unearth, provide due diligence, and refine projects before securing financing for each deal opportunity. The partnership will provide project development and analysis tools for Affordable’s installer network, while opening up a broad range of finance options for the projects.

Read the rest of this entry »

Daniel Watson

Will Commence Construction Language Add More Certainty to the U.S. Solar Market?

Solar project development is a process with varying timetables and degrees of difficulty: from finding a host site, to entering into power purchase agreements, the process can take several years. Any bump along the road can lead to uncertainty in the completion date for an investor or developer, especially for larger utility scale projects.

This uncertain timetable makes the expiration of the 30% Federal Investment Tax Credit (ITC) in 2016 a potentially precarious scenario for parties involved in solar project development. Currently, a project must meet a December 31, 2016 deadline to receive the 30% ITC, and missing this date could lead them to receive only 10%, a significant decrease in returns.

Commence construction legislation should provide security to investors and developers aiming to break ground by 2016

On February 6th, Senators Michael Bennet (D-CO) and Dean Heller (R-NV) introduced the Commence Construction Legislation, which confirms that developers only have to start construction before the ITC expiration date for the full 30% ITC to be monetized. If this moves forward, many in the industry can breathe a sigh of relief knowing that they have some room to meet this deadline.

Critics have claimed that this language is still not strong enough, and that the industry should be advocating to extend the ITC. There is also concern that allowing projects that are only under construction to be eligible creates incentives for developers to “undertake construction” that may not be fully planned or is merely prospective. The language around the rules determining what qualifies as “under construction” will play an important role, as relaxed legislation will likely lead to a oversaturated market of new projects as the expiration date nears. These numerous “faux projects” not only lead to confusion for investors who rely on concrete information, but could lead to overcrowding and underfunding. Read the rest of this entry »

Thomas Larson

Sol Systems Continues to Hire! Currently Seeking Project Manager

Sol Systems continues to expand in order to facilitate the deployment of solar projects. Now, we’re looking for a talented project manager to work with our developer and EPC partners to deliver solar assets on behalf of our investor clients. Please see the posting below for more information on the position and how to apply.

Position:  Project Manager

Description: A Project Manager on the operations team will have the following responsibilities:

  • Work externally with EPC teams and developers to effectively manage and deliver upon major milestones during the construction phase for our investor clients, on time and on budget.
  • Compose communications and scheduled status reports for internal and external parties.
  • Lead and participate in project meetings with EPC partners, conduct on-site meetings/inspections, and generally keep an active involvement during the installation and acceptance testing.
  • Proactively attend to potential issues associated with typical solar PV construction.
  • Oversee multiple projects in parallel, successfully meeting target goals for completion milestones.
  • Monitor performance of projects, manage relationships with O&M providers to deliver services. Read the rest of this entry »
Natacha Kiler

Jump-starting the Solar Undead & Improving Returns…With Debt

Workmen-install-HomeSun-s-007

New debt options are improving IRRs for new and operational projects and they are also solving critical financing issues for a variety other projects in the U.S.

Debt can be one of the most challenging pieces to secure in the capital stack, and especially for solar projects under 1 MW. This is because renewable commercial banks see these deals as too small, regional banks have investment size and tenor limits that make financing difficult if not impossible, and local banks have limited experience with solar.  With these obstacles, it should come as no surprise that new solar debt options would be welcomed by the solar community. And, since we launched our $100 million debt fund, we have been rewarded with a wide variety of projects that are strong candidates for debt.

A number of new opportunities and operational projects are in the usual domestic markets, but some strong opportunities for debt have come from less expected places like Ontario and the Virgin Islands — and there are even several safe-harbored 1603 projects. Here are some reasons why the project opportunities are surfacing (or re-surfacing) and how the availability of construction and long-term debt contracts are injecting new vitality into both new and older solar projects.

Read the rest of this entry »

Natacha Kiler

February 2014 Project Finance Statistics

Our monthly project finance journal contains solar finance statistics, trends, industry news, and SREC market information. Contact our team at finance@solsystemscompany.com or 888-235-1538 x2 for your solar project financing needs.

Our monthly project finance journal contains solar finance statistics, trends, industry news, and SREC market information. Contact our team at finance@solsystemscompany.com or 888-235-1538 x2 for your solar project financing needs.

Below, we have included excerpts from Sol Systems’ February 2014 Project Finance Journal, which is a monthly email newsletter that our project finance team distributes to our network of clients and solar stakeholders. Our newsletter contains solar statistics from current real-life solar projects, trends and observations gained through monthly interviews with our solar project finance team, and it incorporates news from a variety of solar industry resources.

If you would like to receive our Solar Project Finance Journal via email every month, please email pr@solsystemscompany.com with a request to be added to our Project Finance Journal distribution list.

Read the rest of this entry »

Sara Rafalson

Sol Systems Launches $100 Million Fund, Seeks Solar Projects in Need of Construction and Term Debt Financing

Sol Systems has launched a $100 million fund for construction and debt financing. Contact our team at finance@solsystemscompany.com or 888-235-1538 x2 for more information.

Sol Systems has launched a $100 million fund for construction and debt financing. Contact our team at finance@solsystemscompany.com or 888-235-1538 x2 for more information.

Sol Systems recently launched a $100 million debt fund and is currently conducting diligence on projects to fill the fund. Solar developers with projects in need of construction and term debt financing should contact the Sol Systems project finance team immediately.

Ideal projects range in size from 750 kW – 20 MW and have an investment-grade off-take contract agreement in place; however, consideration will also be given to other projects, including projects with strong non-investment grade credit, if a developer has extensive project pipeline or if the projects show exemplary returns.

The $100 million solar debt fund addresses financing limitations for commercial and industrial solar projects. It offers both construction and term loans and distinguishes itself from other loan products with its minimum loan requirements and flexible terms. Loans may be as small as $1 million and sometimes smaller, depending on the opportunity, with tenors as long as 18 years on term loans.
Read the rest of this entry »

Natacha Kiler

Sol Systems’ Rafalson Joins Leadership Team of Women in Solar Energy

Sol Systems’ Sara Rafalson has joined the leadership team of the Women in Solar Energy Group as their Vice President of Membership Engagement and Communications. The mission of the group is to promote the involvement of women in the advancement of all aspects of the solar energy industry.

Sol Systems became involved in Women in Solar Energy after hosting a women in solar happy hour at Solar Power International, the industry’s largest annual conference, to encourage an open environment for women to share strategies for personal and professional success.

The Women of Sol Systems shout out for solar at the end of January.

The Women of Sol Systems shout out for solar at the end of January.

Diversity is a core value at Sol Systems, where the management and staff believe that different viewpoints improve creativity, innovation, idea sharing, and problem solving. Approximately half of Sol Systems’ staff is female; this is far above average for the solar industry, where one in five workers is female. Sol Systems also has a strong representation of minority ethnicities and religions.

Beginning this month, Women in Solar Energy will distribute a quarterly newsletter to promote the advancement of women in the industry through professional networking events, articles about gender issues in the workplace, solar career opportunities, as well as general solar trends. Ms. Rafalson will play an integral role in launching and distributing the newsletter.

Sol Systems has joined the leadership team for Women in Solar Energy, a professional group dedicated to the advancement of women in the solar workforce.

Sol Systems has joined the leadership team for Women in Solar Energy, a professional group dedicated to the advancement of women in the solar workforce.

The Women in Solar Energy group hopes to launch an official mentorship program later this year and will host events at PV America and Solar Power International. There will also be a D.C. Women in Solar Happy Hour on March 6. Please email sara@solsystemscompany.com if you wish to be added to the newsletter distribution list.

About Sol Systems
Sol Systems is a boutique financial services firm and a leader in the solar industry.  Sol Systems offers investor clients direct access to the renewable energy asset class and provides developers with sophisticated project financing solutions. Founded in 2008, the company focuses on meeting the most critical needs of the industry, including SREC monetization, capital placement, tax equity, and debt. To date, the company has arranged financing for thousands of projects and facilitated hundreds of millions in investment on behalf of Fortune 100 companies, private equity, family offices and individuals.
Alejandro Neira

We’re Hiring! Sol Systems Seeks MBA Marketing Intern

Sol Systems is expanding rapidly to accommodate business growth.

Sol Systems is hiring! Visit our careers page for more information on our most recent openings

Sol Systems continues to expand its team of solar project finance professionals. In addition to new postings for a Project Finance Associate and a Tax Equity Associate, we are also looking to hire a MBA Marketing Intern. See the posting below for the this position.

Position: MBA Summer Internship – Marketing Strategy at Solar Energy Investment Firm

Requirements: The ideal candidate will be a current MBA student who is: quantitatively minded, resourceful, detail-oriented, driven, and passionate about the development of renewable energy. Prospective candidates should possess the following skills and attributes:

Read the rest of this entry »

Sara Rafalson

Infographic: What Solar Investors Want

The shortage of project finance is a limitation to the non-residential, commercial and industrial (C&I) sector of the solar market.  Especially compared with other sectors of the market, C&I distributed generation solar is plagued with high transaction costs and a lack of standardization. Though there is no shortage of solar investors trying to break into the promising solar asset class, there is a true shortage of financeable, quality project pipeline. This lack of financeable deal flow is stifling the market and limiting the growth potential of the U.S. solar industry.

To help investors in the search of a “good” project – and to help developers increase the likelihood that a given project will attract third party investment, Sol Systems has developed the below infographic to serve as a guide to developing the perfect project.

What Solar Investors Want Infographic

Read the rest of this entry »

Sara Rafalson

Is the Pennsylvania Solar Market on the Rebound?

Sol Systems provides fixed, quarterly payments for each full SREC produced, removing price volatility, and providing customers with a steady income stream over a 3, 5, or 10-year SREC contract term.

Who would have thought SRECs in PA would jump from $18 to $70 in a manner of months? 

Pennsylvania has long been a model of a solar renewable energy credit (SREC) market gone wrong. The market was (and still is) four times oversupplied, and SREC prices fell to $20 in 2013 from $300 in 2010. However, prices have surged to $70, which has many people asking, what is going on in Pennsylvania, and more importantly, will this bust market be revived in 2014?

To answer this question, it is important to understand the history of the Pennsylvania SREC market and why it became so oversupplied in the first place. In 2004, Pennsylvania’s Alternative Energy Portfolio Standard (AEPS) mandated for the state to procure 18 percent of power from renewable and alternative sources by 2021. Of this 18 percent, the state’s SREC market was created by a 0.5 percent solar carve-out.

Read the rest of this entry »

Alejandro Neira

Sol Systems is Hiring! Internships Summer 2014

Sol Systems is expanding rapidly to accommodate business growth and to maintain its excellent level of customer service. In addition to new postings for a Senior Director of Tax Equity and a Tax Equity Associate, we are also looking for Summer 2014 Interns to join our team. See the posting below, or visit our careers page for more information.

Position: Solar Analyst Intern (position beginning in May 2014) targeted towards undergraduates and recent graduates

Description: The Solar Analyst Intern will assist with registration processes, administrative duties, and research tasks, and will be expected to provide clearly defined deliverables. The position will require attention to detail, excellent record keeping, and efficient allocation of time and resources.

Through this position, the Solar Analyst Intern will gain familiarity with solar legislation, solar finance mechanisms, industry news, and industry vocabulary, as well as new product development in a fast paced, start-up environment. This position provides a fantastic launching pad for a career in renewable energy.

Read the rest of this entry »

Sara Rafalson

Why the New Jersey Solar Market Just Got Hot Again

New Jersey SREC pricing is on the uptick.

New Jersey SREC pricing is on the uptick. Here’s why we think the New Jersey solar market is heating up.

New Jersey has long been a cautionary tale of the boom and bust cycles of solar renewable energy credit (SREC) programs. In 2009, New Jersey’s SREC values were close to $700 per megawatt hour. Then, in fall 2012, prices dipped to the $70 mark, demonstrating the true volatility of SREC markets. However, a recent rebound in SREC prices offers owners several profitable ways to profit from their SRECs.

After a lull period, the New Jersey SREC prices have ticked up once again. No, they are not back at $700 (and likely will never be again). However, we have traded as high as a healthy $170 per SREC in the last month on behalf of our SREC portfolio management clients.

Read the rest of this entry »

Daniel Watson

New Jersey’s PSE&G’s Second Solar Loan III Solicitation is Coming. Here’s What You Need to Know.

The Public Service Electric and Gas Company of New Jersey (PSE&G) will begin accepting applications in less than a month, on February 25, for its Solar Loan program. While no major changes have occurred since the first solicitation late last year, data is now available on pricing from the first round of applications and awards.

The first solicitation of New Jersey’s PSE&G Solar Loan III program began last year and closed the period on November 12th, 2013.  The program provides loans that make up significant portions of project construction costs (see an example here). The loans can be repaid through SRECs, with payment plans set at the closing of the loan. Cash can also be used to pay in case of low production. Once the loan has been paid in full, any SRECs produced thereafter belong to the owner of the system. The following capacities are available per each program segment:

Screen Shot 2014-01-27 at 4.58.39 PM

Read the rest of this entry »

Thomas Larson

We’re Hiring! Sol Systems Seeks Project Finance Associate

Sol Systems continues to expand its team of solar project finance professionals. In addition to new postings for a Senior Director of Tax Equity and a Tax Equity Associate, we are also looking to hire a Project Finance Associate. See the posting below for the Project Finance Associate position, or visit our careers page for more information.

Read the rest of this entry »

Alejandro Neira

Sol Systems’ Senior Associate Andrew Gilligan Speaks at “Careers in Energy” Panel at Georgetown University

Andrew addressed students interested in energy careers as part of a "Careers in Energy" panel

Andrew Gilligan addresses students as part of a “Careers in Energy” panel

Last week, Andrew Gilligan, Sol Systems’ Senior Associate, visited Georgetown University to speak in an energy career panel hosted by the International Business Diplomacy Program and the Center for German and European Studies. Andrew spoke alongside Tom Cunningham, Energy and Diplomacy Officer at the Bureau of Energy Resources at State, and Kevin Massy, Director of International Affairs at Statoil.

During the panel, Andrew talked about his time at Georgetown Energy, a student-run clean energy action group based in Washington, D.C. and how this experience first sparked his interest in renewable energies. While addressing students that want to start careers in the energy field, Andrew emphasized the importance of networking and displaying interest and knowledge in the field. Understanding the company and making your resume and cover letter professional and tailored to the company you are applying to are essential for success in the application process.