Alejandro Neira

Fall 2013 Incentives Roundup

Long Island and Rhode Island will open their enrollment periods in October 7th and 23rd, respectively

Long Island and Rhode Island will open their enrollment periods in October 7th and 23rd, respectively

The Long Island Power Authority announced that the Clean Solar Initiative  would start its second round of applications on October 7th. This program seeks to bring an additional 100 megawatts (MW) of solar energy to the island, and it is expected to have the same success as CSI-I. Projects to enter this round should be 100kW to 2MW in capacity. Similarly to Rhode Island’s program, the rate will be set through a bidding process. The final price per kWh will be fixed for 20 years. CSI will be accepting applications until January 31st, 2014.

On October 28th National Grid starts its third open enrollment period and will be accepting applications to enter into standard contracts for the supply of energy and RECs in Rhode Island. For this year, the ceiling price (the maximum bid-in price for projects) for 50-100 kW systems will be $0.2995/kWh, $0.2880/kWh for 101-250 kW systems, and $0.2840/kWh for 251-500 kW systems. This is the first round where all applicants will have to include competitive bids with their applications. National Grid will be accepting applications until November 8th.

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Sara Rafalson

Sol Systems Finances 227 kW Washington D.C. Solar Project at KIPP School through Partnership with Washington Gas Energy Systems

Sol Systems successfully financed 227 kW at the KIPP Charter School in Washington, D.C.

Sol Systems successfully financed 227 kW at the KIPP Charter School in Washington, D.C.

Sol Systems is proud to announce that it has facilitated financing for a 227 kW solar energy system at the KIPP Charter School, a non-profit in the Anacostia neighborhood of Washington, D.C. Volt Energy developed the project and Sol Systems structured the transaction and financed the project on behalf of its investment advisory services client, Washington Gas Energy Systems.

Sol Systems, Volt, and Washington Gas Energy Systems are headquartered in the Washington, D.C. area, which has one of the most attractive solar markets in the country thanks to strong solar legislation and a robust solar renewable energy credit (SREC) market. To finance the KIPP system, Sol Systems provided an SREC contract for the project and then packaged it into a portfolio of other mid-sized commercial solar projects in Maryland, Hawaii, and California for its investor client, Washington Gas Energy Systems.

“We’ve worked with Sol Systems on SRECs over the years. They have a great reputation, so it was natural to work with them again for this opportunity,” said Gilbert Campbell, Volt Energy’s co-owner and Director of Business Development. “They swiftly conducted due diligence and secured a financing partner to meet our timeline.”

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Alejandro Neira

Employee Spotlight: Andrew Gilligan

At Sol Systems, we realize that our work is a reflection of who we are as individuals, and our success is a direct result of all the different personalities, passions, and talents that your employees bring to the table. Our team has expanded significantly in the last few years, and we are proud to employ some of the brightest talent in the renewable energy industry. On this employee highlight we have Andrew Gilligan, Senior Associate at Sol Systems:

This month’s employee spotlight features Andrew Gilligan from our investor advisory services team.

This month’s employee spotlight features Andrew Gilligan from our investor advisory services team.

What is your current position at Sol Systems?

I am a Senior Associate and help to lead our Investor Advisory Group. As part of this team, I assist renewable energy investors across the United States to successfully deploy capital into solar projects.

How has Sol Systems changed since you first started at the firm?

Since I started with Sol Systems in early 2011, the firm has undergone a lot of changes. Back then, we were a small start-up company only offering SREC solutions. Today, we have evolved to become a financial services firm that can help with any part of the capital stock for projects in all relevant US solar markets.

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Keith Glassbrook

Sol Systems Welcomes Jason Cimpl

Sol Systems welcomes Jason Cimpl, SREC Portfolio Manager, to the team.

Sol Systems welcomes Jason Cimpl, SREC Portfolio Manager, to the team.

Sol Systems is continuing to expand to accommodate its rapid business growth. This week, Sol Systems is proud to announce the arrival of our new SREC Portfolio Manager, Jason Cimpl. Welcome to the team, Jason.

Jason Cimpl joins Sol Systems with over eight years of finance experience. Most recently, he served as lead analyst for Wyatt Investment Research, where he provided clients with equity research, portfolio analysis, and trading strategy. Additionally, he spent several years in an accounting and financial advisor capacity. At Sol Systems, Mr. Cimpl manages Sol Systems’ SREC portfolio of 4,000 solar assets, creates and analyzes the company’s SREC research models, forecasts SREC supply and demand, and calculates the SREC portfolio’s risk position and strategy. He also leads Sol Systems’ SREC services group, which manages SREC portfolios for installers, developers, and investors who own their own SREC-producing solar assets, but may not have the expertise or resources to manage them on a daily basis. Mr. Cimpl graduated from the School of Business at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2005 with a degree in Finance, Investment and Banking.

At Sol Systems, our biggest asset is our team, and we will continue to hire sharp, passionate team members. We are currently hiring for a controller and an SREC operations analyst. Learn more about careers with Sol Systems here.

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Alejandro Neira

Palo Alto Feed-in Tariff Stalled by Lucrative Rebate Program

The City of Palo Alto Utilities (CPAU) has established various programs in the last few years to encourage solar development in the city. Despite space constraints that limit most projects to roof mounts and carports, the administration promotes two distinct initiatives designed to meet the statewide Renewable Portfolio Standard of 33% by 2015:

Photo Credits: Richard Masoner

Solar Panels at the City of Palo Alto Municipal Service Center

-       Palo Alto CLEAN, a feed-in tariff program

-       PV Partners Program, a rebate program that supports net energy metered (NEM) systems

On March 2012, CPAU launched the Clean Local Energy Accessible Now (CLEAN) program, in hopes to expand the production of cost-effective, clean local energy. This was an important step towards greater energy self-reliance, and for the city’s goal of supplying 33% of its electricity with renewable energy by 2015. The feed-in tariff pilot program was initially capped at 4 megawatts and it was targeted to medium-sized commercial rooftops with a minimum size of 100 kWs per installation. After opening the program for applications in April 2012, no applications were received at the initial rate of $0.14/kWh.

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Anna Noucas

Washington, D.C. Unanimously Passes Community Solar Legislation, Becomes 10th State to Establish Virtual Net Metering

The D.C. Council voted today, October 1st, to pass the Community Renewables Energy Act of 2013 (B20-0057) with a unanimous vote.

The D.C. Council unanimously voted today, October 1st, to pass the Community Renewables Energy Act of 2013 (B20-0057).

The D.C. Council unanimously voted today, October 1st, to pass the Community Renewables Energy Act of 2013 (B20-0057).  With this favorable vote, D.C. becomes the tenth state in the nation to enact community solar legislation.  Other states of note that have passed similar legislation include Colorado, Massachusetts, Vermont, California, and, most recently, Connecticut.  Through this innovative structure renters, homeowners and businesses with shaded roofs, and low-income utility customers who are unable to install a solar energy system on their roof – either for financial reasons, or because their property is unfit for installation – will be able to access the benefits of solar energy through virtual net metering.

Virtual net-metering allows for any utility rate payer with a meter located in D.C. to purchase a subscription or percentage interest in a solar installation qualified as a Community Renewable Energy Facility.  A Community Renewable Energy Facility must have at least two subscribers and cannot be larger than 5 MW.  Once a subscription has been purchased, the electricity produced by the subscribers’ portion of the solar energy system will be credited to their monthly electric bill at a previously agreed upon rate to offset their electricity demand for that given month.  Ergo, retail customers will save on their monthly electric bills by enlisting in the community solar program.

The Community Renewables Energy Act will continue the momentum generated for the D.C. solar market following the successful passage of its aggressive renewable portfolio standard (RPS) in 2011. This progressive solar legislation reinforces D.C.’s position as one of the strongest solar markets in the country, making the nation’s capital a showcase for solar energy.

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Sara Rafalson

Sol Systems CFO George Ashton is Finalist for Platts Global Energy Award

Platts Global Energy Awards Sol Systems

George Ashton is a finalist for the Platts Global Energy Award. Mr. Ashton won Washington Business Journal’s CFO of the Year Award in summer 2013.

Sol Systems CFO, George Ashton, is a finalist for Platts Global Energy’s Rising Star Award. The Global Energy Awards were created 15 years ago to recognize those who have transcended the status quo in the name of excellence in leadership, innovation, and performance in the energy industry. Finalists were chosen from a list of over 200 nominations, and the winners will be announced on December 12 in New York.

Mr. Ashton was recognized for his contributions to Sol Systems’ growing solar project financing business for residential, commercial, and utility-scale projects. As co-founder and Vice President, George has been a critical contributor to the vision and conceptual development of the firm’s SREC and project financing businesses.  Mr. Ashton manages Sol Systems’ SREC portfolio of nearly 4,000 solar assets and leads the firm’s investor advisory group, which provides investors with opportunities to deploy capital in the renewable energy asset class, including take-out financing and tax equity investments for solar projects. To date, Sol Systems has financed 60 MW of solar assets. Mr. Ashton also won Washington Business Journal’s CFO of the Year award in July 2013.

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Alejandro Neira

Sol Systems Joins MDV-SEIA as a Platinum Sponsor for Solar Focus 2013

Sol Systems, a longtime supporter of MDV-SEIA’s efforts and an active solar stakeholder in the Mid-Atlantic, is proud to be a Platinum Sponsor for the 7th annual Solar Focus Conference. Read our recent interview with the MDV-SEIA conference staff.

MDV-SEIA: Tell us a little bit about Sol Systems.

Sol Systems' co-founders, Yuri Horwitz and George Ashton, will both speak at Solar Focus 2013.

Sol Systems’ co-founders, Yuri Horwitz and George Ashton, will both speak at Solar Focus 2013.

Sol Systems: As a boutique investment firm and leader in financial innovation within the renewable energy industry, Sol Systems raises and places capital for commercial and utility-scale solar projects by simplifying the origination, diligence, and financing processes for investor and developer partners.  In 2008, Yuri Horwitz, our CEO, and George Ashton, our CFO, decided to start this firm after recognizing a lack of awareness regarding government incentives for renewable energy and wanted to find a way to encourage the development of solar energy.  Our firm was built on the principle that solar energy should be an economically viable solution and this is a model that still guides us today.

Sol Systems began as a solar renewable energy credit (SREC) aggregator, with a major focus on making SREC markets more liquid and allowing small scale solar project owners to efficiently participate.  We revolutionized SREC markets by aggregating SRECs from thousands of small solar energy system owners and then selling large volumes into contracts with energy suppliers, who needed to purchase a quota of SRECs to meet their renewable portfolio standard (RPS) compliance needs.  Small solar project owners that could not previously access long term SREC contracts were able to by utilizing our services.

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Keith Glassbrook

Sol Systems’ Financing Partnership with Washington Gas Featured in Washington Business Journal

Sol Systems’ partnership with Washington Gas was featured in the Washington Business Journal.

Sol Systems’ partnership with Washington Gas was featured in the Washington Business Journal.

The Washington Business Journal recently featured our financing partnership with Washington Gas Energy Systems, Inc. on three new solar projects in Hawaii, Maryland, and Sol Systems’ hometown, Washington, D.C.  Sol Systems served as an investment advisor to Washington Gas Energy Systems for these projects, assisting in project origination, due diligence, negotiation, and deal structuring before ultimately guiding these projects to financial close.

Washington Gas Energy Systems will build, own and operate three more new solar projects, at the KIPP School in the District, Presbyterian Senior Living Services in Glen Arm, Md. and the Turtle Bay Resort in Oahu, Hawaii.

The projects will come online under 20-year power purchase agreements. Sol Systems is Washington Gas Energy Systems’ investment advisor, lining up third party financing.

The cost of the projects was not disclosed.

KIPP School will get a 227-kilowatt roof array. Presbyterian Senior Living Services will have a 1,320- kilowatt ground-mounted system, and Turtle Bay Resort will have a 402-kilowatt roof mounted system.

Read the full article from the Washington Business Journal here.

About Sol Systems

Sol Systems is a boutique financial services firm that offers investor clients direct access to the renewable energy asset class and provides developers with sophisticated project financing solutions. Founded in 2008, Sol Systems focuses on meeting the most critical needs of the industry, including SREC monetization, capital placement, tax equity, and New Market Tax Credits. 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.

For more information, please visit www.solsystemscompany.com.

Keith Glassbrook

Meet with Sol Systems at Solar Power International 2013

Sol Systems will travel to Chicago for SPI from October 21st to October 24th.

Sol Systems will travel to Chicago for SPI from October 21st to October 24th.

The Sol Systems team will be in Chicago for Solar Power International 2013 from October 21st to October 24th. Sol Systems CEO and co-founder, Yuri Horwitz, will be speaking in the Business Growth, Development, and Finance Track on a panel entitled “Commercial, Industrial, Municipal and Small Utility Project Development.” He will speak on Wednesday, October 23rd from 2:30 – 4 PM.

On the evening of October 23, the women of Sol Systems will be holding a happy hour to meet fellow solar industry women and to discuss strategies for personal and professional success. All women in the solar industry are welcome. Please RSVP today so we can reserve adequate space and include you on the guest list.

To schedule a meeting in Chicago with a member of the Sol Systems team, please contact us at info@solsystemscompany.com or 888-235-1538. We look forward to seeing you at SPI 2013.

About Sol Systems

Sol Systems is a boutique financial services firm that offers investor clients direct access to the renewable energy asset class and provides developers with sophisticated project financing solutions. Founded in 2008, Sol Systems focuses on meeting the most critical needs of the industry, including SREC monetization, capital placement, tax equity, and New Market Tax Credits. 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.

For more information, please visit www.solsystemscompany.com.

Victoria Ngare

California’s AB 327 Proposes Changes to Current Rate Structures, Protects Net Energy Metering (NEM)

AB 327 proposes giving the CPUC authority to change rate structures and extends net energy metering (NEM) policy in California.

After being passed by the California Senate, the controversial net energy metering (NEM) and rate structure bill AB 327 was passed by the California Assembly earlier this month. The bill now awaits Governor Jerry Brown’s signature before it becomes law. In its current form, AB 327 aims to give the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) the ability to flatten tiered rate structures for residential consumers, and pass a tariff of no more than $10 on rate payers to finance fixed transmission and distribution costs faced by utilities. While initially a step back for distributed solar, in its final version, the bill also includes an extension of  California’s NEM policy – slated to reach the end of its life at the end of 2014 at the latest – to July 1, 2017. The new NEM policy would allow CPUC to mandate utilities to acquire more than 33 percent of their power from renewable energy sources, as opposed to the current ceiling of “up to” 33 percent.

Initially, AB 327 was painted as the bill that could stymie solar growth in California. Solar advocates stood in opposition to the bill because flattened rate structures could negatively impact rooftop solar. Coupled with the end of NEM in 2014, flat rates could spell a major slowdown in the growth of residential solar. Utilities have argued for flattened rate structures, coupled with a monthly flat fee for all customers, saying that it would help meet growing energy needs, especially for those heavily burdened by energy costs. But after solar advocates and others included the extension of NEM in the bill, AB 327 has been transformed into the bill that could foster continued growth in the industry for years to come.

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Sara Rafalson

Webinar Invitation – Project Finance and Development in SREC States: Washington, DC, Massachusetts, and Maryland

Join George Ashton and Amber Rivera as they discuss SREC market and pricing trends in DC, MA, and MD.

Join George Ashton and Amber Rivera as they discuss SREC market and pricing trends in DC, MA, and MD.

As thought leaders in solar finance, Sol Systems hosts quarterly SREC webinars at no charge for the solar community. Sol Systems is the largest Solar Renewable Energy Credit (SREC) aggregator and financier in the United States. With thousands of customers and SRECs traded annually, we understand the intricacies of SREC monetization and the nuances of the SREC markets better than any other player in the solar industry.

SRECs are a critical piece of solar project development on the East Coast. However, as fixed price contracts are increasingly scarce, what strategies should developers deploy to maximize the value of their SREC portfolio and secure investor funds for a project?

Join Sol Systems on Thursday, October 10 at 1:30 PM ET as we discuss SREC market and pricing trends in the most promising of the SREC states. In this webinar, our SREC portfolio team, George Ashton and Amber Rivera, will discuss strategies for successfully financing projects within these markets, and how to secure an SREC contract in light of changing market conditions. Register today.

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Natacha Kiler

Washington Gas Energy Systems to Build, Own and Operate Three New Solar Projects Across the Nation through Financing Partnership with Sol Systems

Solar Arrays Will Power Turtle Bay Resort in Hawaii, the KIPP School in Washington, D.C., and Presbyterian Senior Living Services in Maryland.

Washington Gas Solar Project Financed with Sol Systems

Sol Systems is proud to announce the successful financing of mid-sized commercial solar projects in Hawaii, Maryland, and D.C. These projects were financed through a partnership with our investor client, Washington Gas Energy Systems.

McLean, Va. – Washington Gas Energy Systems, Inc. has announced that it has contracted to build, own and operate three new solar arrays through a financing partnership with Sol Systems. The photovoltaic systems will power the Turtle Bay Resort in Oahu, Hawaii, the KIPP School in Washington, D.C., and Presbyterian Senior Living Services in Glen Arm, Md. Washington Gas Energy Systems will own and operate the solar systems under 20-year power purchase agreements. Sol Systems acted as an investment advisor to Washington Gas Energy Systems for these projects, which bring the organizations access to clean, solar electricity through third-party financing.

“We commend the KIPP School, Turtle Bay Resort and Presbyterian Senior Living Services for their environmental stewardship and we are pleased to be partnering with Sol Systems,” said Sanjiv Mahan, Vice President of Business Development at Washington Gas Energy Systems. “This strategic project portfolio strengthens our existing footprint in key regions throughout Maryland and Washington, D.C., while expanding our portfolio into strong solar states like Hawaii, giving us a true nationwide presence.” Read the rest of this entry »

Sara Rafalson

Sol Systems to Speak in New York, Hawaii, and DC Week of 9/23

As thought leaders in solar energy financing, the Sol Systems team is invited to speak at several national and regional events and conferences. This week, various members of the Sol Systems team will speak in D.C., Hawaii, and New York.

The Sol Systems team will be featured speakers in D.C., New York, and Hawaii this week.

The Sol Systems team will be featured speakers in D.C., New York, and Hawaii this week.

Today, September 23, Sol Systems CFO, George Ashton, will speak on solar securitization during Infocast’s Project Finance conference in New York City. His panel is called Overview of the US Solar & Renewable Energy Industry: Identifying the Major Players, Assessing Growth Trends and Projections.

On Tuesday, September 24, Senior Associate, Andrew Gilligan, will speak at the 2nd Annual Green Building Symposium and Expo at Gallaudet University’s Kellogg Conference Center in Washington, D.C.

Sol Systems’ co-founders, Yuri Horwitz and George Ashton, will travel to Hawaii from September 24-30 to meet with solar developer clients and discuss their financing needs. This trip follows the momentum that the Sol Systems team gained this summer after successfully closing its first Hawaii project. Read the rest of this entry »

Sara Rafalson

MDV-SEIA Announces Dates & Agenda for Solar Focus 2013

MDV-SEIA is proud to announce that the dates for Solar Focus 2013 have been set.  This year’s event, which  marks the 7th anniversary of the conference, will be held on November 11th and 12th in Washington, D.C. Sol Systems will be a platinum sponsor.

MDV-SEIA's Solar Focus 2013 Conference will take place in D.C. on November 11 & 12. Sol Systems will be a platinum sponsor.

MDV-SEIA’s Solar Focus 2013 Conference will take place in D.C. on November 11 & 12. Sol Systems will be a platinum sponsor.

The theme of Solar Focus 2013 is The Sun Rises in the East: The Growth of East Coast Distributed Solar and provides a unique platform to highlight the unprecedented growth the solar sector is experiencing in markets such as Connecticut, D.C., Georgia, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, North Carolina, and Rhode Island.

The agenda will include:

  • Keynote by Nat Kreamer, CEO of Clean Power Finance
  • Keynote by Jigar Shah, Founder of SunEdison and solar visionary, on “Why Solar is Winning”
  • Live Session of Greentech Media’s weekly Energy Gang podcast featuring Stephen Lacey, Jigar Shah, and Katherine Hamilton
  • Panels on tax equity, managing SREC volatility in project development, federal policy, overcoming development challenges in D.C., streamlining permitting in Maryland, opportunities in energy storage, and much more
  • Ample networking opportunities at the Kickoff Reception, Opening Dinner, Breakfast, and Wrap Party Read the rest of this entry »
Anna Noucas

Sol Systems to Attend MDV-SEIA’s D.C. Solar Industry Leadership Roundtable

Help shape the future of solar programs in DC by attending the D.C. Solar Industry Leadership Roundtable on Monday, September 23.

Help shape the future of solar programs in DC by attending the D.C. Solar Industry Leadership Roundtable on Monday, September 23.

D.C. is arguably one of the strongest solar markets in the country, thanks largely to a robust renewable portfolio standard (RPS) and strong citizen and industry support. On Monday, September 23, the Maryland-D.C.-Virginia Solar Energy Industries Association (MDV-SEIA) will host a D.C. Solar Industry Leadership to discuss regulatory issues and ensure that the nation’s capital retains its reputation as a national showcase for solar energy.

The D.C. Solar Industry Leadership Roundtable provides an opportunity for local solar industry members to participate in an industry-wide discussion to help shape the future of solar programs in the District.  Topics of particular interest include MDV-SEIA’s position on the Renewable Energy Incentive Program (REIP) in D.C., along with various other programs between the D.C. Sustainable Energy Utility (SEU) and the District Department of the Environment (DDOE).

The Sol Systems team will be in attendance, and we hope to see you there. To register for this free event, please visit the MDV-SEIA website.  The event will be held from 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM EST on Monday, September 23, 2013 at the SEIA National Office, 505 9th Street, NW, Suite 800, Washington, D.C.

In addition to the industry roundtable, MDV-SEIA will be hosting their annual Solar Focus Conference in D.C. November 11-12. This conference is the East Coast’s premier energy conference, and Sol Systems is a platinum sponsor. Register today for Solar Focus 2013 to take advantage of early bird rates.

About Sol Systems

Sol Systems is a boutique financial services firm that offers investor clients direct access to the renewable energy asset class and provides developers with sophisticated project financing solutions. Founded in 2008, Sol Systems focuses on meeting the most critical needs of the industry, including SREC monetization, capital placement, tax equity, and New Market Tax Credits. 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.

For more information, please visit www.solsystemscompany.com.

Sara Rafalson

Sol Systems to Host Women in Solar Happy Hour at Solar Power International 2013

Wouldn’t it be fun to have drinks with other women in the solar industry? The women of Sol Systems think so, and we decided to organize a happy hour for women in solar at Solar Power International 2013 in Chicago on Wednesday, October 23. We invite all women in the solar industry to join us for a chance to meet one another and discuss strategies for personal and professional success.

Sol Systems will host a women in solar happy hour at SPI 2013 in Chicago.

Sol Systems will host a women in solar happy hour at SPI 2013 in Chicago.

Please email pr@solsystemscompany.com to RSVP, and we will pass you the registration link. There will be a cash bar at the event.

We look forward to seeing you in Chicago.

About Sol Systems

Sol Systems is a boutique financial services firm that offers investor clients direct access to the renewable energy asset class and provides developers with sophisticated project financing solutions. Founded in 2008, Sol Systems focuses on meeting the most critical needs of the industry, including SREC monetization, capital placement, tax equity, and New Market Tax Credits. 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.

Natacha Kiler

September 2013 Project Finance Statistics

Every month, Sol Systems distributes a newsletter, the Sol Systems Project Finance Journal, to our community of solar developers and investors. The journal features solar finance statistics, trends, industry news, and SREC market information. We gather this information from our relationships and experience aggregating SRECs and financing commercial and utility scale solar projects.

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.

We have included excerpts from our September Project Finance Journal below. If you have any questions about this information, wish to receive our monthly newsletter via email, or have a solar project in need of financing, please contact our team at finance@solsystemscompany.com.  We would love to hear from you.

Project Finance Statistics

Characteristics of “Hot Projects” **

Below you will find statistics on some of the high-quality solar projects and portfolios that are not yet contracted.

Capacity: 250 kW – 11.77 MW
Average Capacity: 1,555 kW

**Does not include projects in the Caribbean or Hawaii where asking prices currently range from $3.75-4.20/Watt. Also, does not include a California portfolio with carport projects, North Carolina projects, or 3 operational portfolios.

Read the rest of this entry »

Sara Rafalson

Sol Systems Offers the Fast Road for Financing Commercial Solar, Moves Quickly to Secure Investor Funds for 806 kW in New Mexico

Sol Systems has facilitated financing for an 806 kW solar portfolio in Deming, New Mexico, consisting of three separate solar arrays sized 84 kW, 151 kW, and 571 kW. The recent portfolio closing enhances Sol Systems’ track record of financing mid-sized distributed generation solar projects.  Together, the three photovoltaic arrays will provide power for three facilities in the City of Deming’s water system.

The project developer, New Mexico-based Affordable Solar, approached Sol Systems to arrange project financing.  The Sol Systems team swiftly secured an investor who executed quickly and helped the developer to secure financing in only two weeks.

Sol Systems recently secured investor funds for an 806 kW portfolio in New Mexico.

Sol Systems recently secured investor funds for an 806 kW portfolio in New Mexico.

“The team at Sol Systems worked diligently and efficiently to secure capital and move the project forward in a matter of weeks,” said Ryan Centerwall, General Manager of Affordable Solar. “Their team was very accommodating to our needs, and we were impressed with the competitive financing options that they presented to us.”

“At Sol Systems, we pride ourselves in securing the most optimal path to project financing through a combination of pricing, velocity, and of course execution ability, ” said Andrew Gilligan, who helps lead Sol Systems’ investor advisory team. “We were glad we could move quickly to meet Affordable Solar’s deadline and help them succeed in developing these projects.”

This portfolio marks another success in a hot summer for the Sol Systems team. In August, Sol Systems was ranked #91 on Inc. 500’s prestigious list of the fastest growing companies in the U.S., and #3 in the solar industry. Since June, the solar finance firm has secured financing for 10 commercial-scale projects in Hawaii, California, Indiana, Washington, D.C., Maryland, and now, New Mexico. With 10 additional projects currently at term sheet, Sol Systems expects several more project closings this fall. Sol Systems also estimates that it will place around $40 million in tax equity into the solar industry in 2013 through its tax structured finance group.

Read the rest of this entry »

William Graves

California Solar Incentive Alert: Re-MAT Feed-in Tariff Program

On October 1, 2013 California IOUs will begin accepting Re-MAT applications for qualifying facilities.

On October 1, 2013 California IOUs will begin accepting Re-MAT applications for qualifying facilities.

Pursuant to Senate Bill 32 of 2009, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) implemented the Renewable Market Adjusting Tariff (Re-MAT) program on July 24, 2013. The Re-MAT program is a Feed-in Tariff (FiT) through which customers can sell electricity produced by qualifying facilities* directly to the utility at a set rate for a term of 10, 15, or 20 years. The bill also raises state renewable energy targets from 500 MW to 750 MW, and increases the size cap on qualifying energy facilities from 1.5 MW AC to 3 MW AC. All investor owned utilities (IOUs) in California with more than 75,000 customers must participate in the program. Although all qualifying facilities are eligible to participate in the program, it is clear that solar will play a large role given the amount of attention the program has already gained with developers in the state.

The first round of solicitations for the Re-MAT program will begin on October 1, 2013, and will continue every two months thereafter until it is fully subscribed. The amount of time it takes for the program to become fully subscribed will depend on the ability for projects to be financed at the set energy price, which is one of the more unique aspects of the program. The base price is currently set at $89.23/MWh, pre-Time of Delivery (TOD) adjustments. This price is subject to adjustment after every solicitation depending on program participation. Read the rest of this entry »

Thomas Larson

Sol Systems Seeks SREC Operations Analyst in Continued Expansion

Sol Systems is expanding rapidly to accommodate business growth. This summer, the company has brought on five new team members.

Sol Systems is currently hiring a full-time accountant, SREC portfolio manager, and now, an SREC Operations Analyst.

Interested in joining one of the fastest growing companies in the country? Sol Systems is hiring a full-time accountant, SREC portfolio manager, and now, an SREC Operations Analyst. This is an entry level position and a great opportunity for launching a career in renewable energy.

Position: SREC Operations Analyst

Requirements: Sol Systems is seeking an analyst to provide support to Sol Systems’ SREC team. The ideal candidate is hard working, extremely organized, detail and process-oriented, personable, and has the ability to multi-task in order to accomplish assignments in a timely manner. This position provides a fantastic launching pad for a career in renewable energy, and Sol Systems often promotes internally as positions become available.

Read the rest of this entry »

Amber Rivera

Massachusetts SREC-II Market Outlook – The New Market Equilibrium?

Sol Systems has put together a prospective view of the supply and demand dynamics of the SREC II market in Massachusetts, based on the DOER’s recent presentation of proposed policies for the program.  The principle takeaway for solar developers in the MA market is that the SREC Factor they bid in a competitive solicitation for projects in the ‘Managed Growth Sector’ will need to be determined at the time of bidding, as the SREC-II market dynamics will be ever-evolving.  They should do this by analyzing the market using the project and SREC data that the DOER is promising will be extensive in the SREC-II program.  This should give project owners assurance that they will not have to blindly determine a competitive SREC Factor to bid for their projects.  

Read the rest of this entry »

Sara Rafalson

Sol Systems’ Growth Highlighted in Greentech Media

Sol Systems was recently featured in Greentech Media article A List of America’s Fastest-Growing Clean Energy Companies. In this article, Senior Editor, Stephen Lacey,  writes:

Sol Systems was recently featured in a Greentech Media article on the fastest growing clean energy companies in America.

Sol Systems was recently featured in a Greentech Media article on the fastest growing clean energy companies in America.

The editors at Inc. magazine have released their rankings of the 5,000 fastest-growing companies in America. The list offers an interesting snapshot of where growth is taking place in the energy sector.

The boom in America’s unconventional oil and gas development is clearly evident on the list. Out of the 110 energy companies mentioned, there were dozens of firms providing drilling services, pipeline construction services, and consulting on fossil energy development. With the U.S. now producing more liquid fuels than Saudi Arabia, the growth of those companies isn’t surprising.

But with renewable electricity doubling over the last four years and more states getting serious about using efficiency as a resource, the clean energy sector was also very well represented. Inc. identified 45 companies offering demand response, energy efficiency and solar as part of the list.

Sol Systems was ranked number 91 on the annual Inc. 500|5000 list, an exclusive ranking of the nation’s fastest-growing private companies. Sol Systems was ranked No. 2 for Washington, D.C., and No. 8 in the nation’s top energy companies, and #3 in solar.

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Sara Rafalson

Sol Systems to Travel to Hawaii, Host Project Finance Workshop on September 26

Sol Systems is expanding its presence in the promising Hawaii solar market and will travel to the Aloha State from September 24-30 to meet with developer clients and discuss their solar financing needs. This trip follows the momentum that the Sol Systems team gained this summer after successfully closing its first Hawaii project.

Sol Systems will travel to Hawaii for the Future of Renewable Energy Development Conference.

Sol Systems will travel to Hawaii for the Future of Renewable Energy Development Conference.

In addition to meeting with clients, Sol Systems will be sponsoring EUCI’s third annual 3rd Annual Hawaii Renewable Development Conference. Sol Systems will be hosting a seminar on the eve of the conference opening, September 26. During this interactive seminar, CEO Yuri Horwitz will share best practices for reducing transaction costs in the project development process, as well as provide guidance for attracting investor capital.

Hawaii developers interested in scheduling a meeting with Yuri Horwitz (CEO), George Ashton (CFO), or Dan Yonkin (Director of Tax Equity Investments), please contact us at 888-235-1538 x1 or info@solsystemscompany.com.

For more information or to register for Sol Systems’ dinner workshop in Honolulu, please visit the EUCI registration page.

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Sara Rafalson

Sol Systems Welcomes Chris LaClair

Sol Systems is expanding rapidly to accommodate the growth of its solar financial services business. Sol Systems was recently ranked #91 in fastest growing companies in the U.S. on the prestigious Inc. 500 list, and this summer alone, the company has brought on five new team members, including Chris LaClair, Senior Developer. Welcome to the team, Chris.

Sol Systems is expanding rapidly. This summer alone, the company has brought on five new team members, including Chris LaClair, Senior Developer. Welcome to the team, Chris.

Sol Systems is expanding rapidly. This summer alone, the company has brought on five new team members, including Chris LaClair, Senior Developer. Welcome to the team, Chris.

Chris LaClair joins Sol Systems with nearly 10 years of experience in the software development industry. In previous positions, Mr. LaClair successfully deployed websites with Ruby on Rail and has worked on web applications with Ecommerce websites, scholarship applicant tracking and evaluation web apps for the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE), and complex, enteprise-level network management and analysis applications for InfoBlox. At Sol Systems, Mr. LaClair will focus on design, development, deployment, and maintenance for Sol Systems’ internal and external web applications. He holds a B.S. in Computer Science from the University of Maryland University College.

At Sol Systems, our number one asset is our team, and we will continue to recruit sharp, talented individuals to help propel the solar industry forward. We are currently hiring for an SREC portfolio manager, fall interns, and a full-time accountant. Learn more about careers with Sol Systems. Read the rest of this entry »

Sara Rafalson

Sol Systems Expedites Financing for Commercial Solar, Successfully Closes 500 kW Deal

Blue Green Solar, LLC developed the 500 kW project in Clayton, NC with funding from one of Sol System’s investor partners.

Sol Systems continues its success in financing mid-market commercial solar projects, and recently secured an investor for a 500 kW North Carolina project in a matter of weeks. The system, located in Clayton, North Carolina was funded through a larger multi-megawatt portfolio.

Heath McLaughlin, the Founder of Blue Green Energy, LLC and the developer of the project commented: “We see Sol Systems as a valuable resource to developers hoping to receive qualified funding for solar projects. Sol Systems found us an investor at the right price point and helped to support the transaction on a tight deadline. It was a good experience to work with their team, and we very much appreciate their dedication and support.”

Single-site solar projects in the 250 kW – 1 MW size range typically face financing difficulties due to high transaction costs. Projects in North Carolina are especially challenging because the 35% tax credit is a critical piece of the financing, yet there is limited demand for North Carolina state tax credits.  Sol Systems’ unique approach of working hand-in-hand with a diverse group of investor clients provided significant advantages to ensuring a financing solution for Blue Green.

“Our focus on velocity and efficiency sets us apart,” said Andrew Gilligan, who helps lead Sol Systems’ Investor Advisory Services. “In this case, our ability to move rapidly was crucial to getting the project financed. We quickly identified an investor client that fit the needs of a project, and worked with our developer client to support an efficient project financing process. This is a great example of the value that we provide to both our developer and investor clients.” Read the rest of this entry »

Anna Noucas

DOER Releases Updated SREC-II Proposal: What Does It Mean for the MA Solar Market?

Massachusetts DOER released it most recent version of the proposed program design for the next phase of the solar carve-out program (SREC-II).

Massachusetts DOER released it most recent version of the proposed program design for the next phase of the solar carve-out program (SREC-II).

After two months of diligently reviewing comments submitted following the June 7th Solar Stakeholder meeting, the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER) released its most recent version of the proposed program design for the next phase of the solar carve-out program (SREC-II) at a meeting held at the Massachusetts State House in Boston on Monday, August 12, 2013. The presentation with detailed information on the proposed program design has been made available on the DOER’s website.

What are the next steps?

The DOER will accept comments on their updated proposal through Monday, August 26th. They have asked stakeholders to consider and answer certain topics of interest and questions in their comments. At the conclusion of this comment period, the DOER will begin the process of translating the program design into a piece of legislation, which will effectively create the SREC-II Program. This could take anywhere from 2-3 months, with the hope of holding a third and final stakeholder input process by November 2013. The DOER’s goal is to then have the legislation for SREC-II promulgated by January 2014, to ensure a January 1, 2014 effective date for the SREC-II program.

Read the rest of this entry »

Sara Rafalson

Sol Systems Named #91 in Fastest Growing Companies in the U.S. by Inc. Magazine

Sol Systems is proud to announce that Inc. listed the solar finance firm as number 91 on its annual Inc. 500|5000 list, an exclusive ranking of the nation’s fastest-growing private companies. Sol Systems was ranked No. 2 for Washington, D.C., and No. 8 in the nation’s top energy companies.

“We are honored to make the top 100 on Inc. 500’s exclusive list and rank among such an esteemed group of entrepreneurs,” said Yuri Horwitz, CEO and founder of Sol Systems. “At Sol Systems, our number one asset is our team, and this honor is the direct result of our talented, sharp team working together to successfully create innovative financing solutions that propel the solar industry forward.”

Sol Systems grew by 3,716% between 2009 and 2012 and has been profitable since the company’s inception in 2008. The renewable energy financial services firm has doubled its team of solar project finance professionals in the last year, and plans to hire an additional 10 employees within the next year to support the growth of its financing business for commercial solar projects.

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Austen Sybert

Employee Spotlight: Matt Chou

The Sol Systems team is smart, driven, and dedicated to our mission of promoting growth in the solar industry, an industry that we believe is critical to a sustainable future. At Sol Systems, our number one asset is our team, and we are proud to employ some of the brightest talent in the renewable energy industry. We recently had a chance to catch up with Sol Systems’ Matt Chou, Senior Associate, and ask him a few questions between his hard work on project finance models and developer advisory calls. Here is what he had to say.

You’ve exclusively worked in energy, how’d that happen?

This month's employee spotlight features Matthew Chou from our developer advisory services team.

This month’s employee spotlight features Matthew Chou from our developer advisory services team.

I stumbled upon energy when I was an analyst at Macquire. I gained a lot of experience working with electric and natural gas utilities, and it turned out to be really interesting time to be in the sector. Even though it was by accident, I actually enjoyed my work and being interested in sustainability and climate change lent well to pursing opportunities in renewable energy. Plus the fact that I thought the renewable space was exciting and evolving very quickly – both attributes I wanted to find in an industry and my career so renewables have fit well.

What attracted you to work at Sol Systems?

As I talked to the people in the company through interviews with Yuri and George I got a really good sense for the type of people at Sol – good, passionate people with innovative ideas for what finance in the solar world should look like. The people were encouraging. Additionally, the commercial project finance side of the firm was just a year old  when I joined, so I was interest in coming in at an early stage on that. I was attracted to the investment bank for solar model that we are heading toward and figured I could lend my traditional investment banking experience to help shape Sol’s financial advisory services to solar developers and investors.

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Sara Rafalson

Sol Systems Offers SREC Solutions to Massachusetts SREC II Systems, Offers General Financing for SREC I Solar Projects

This summer, the solar industry has been abuzz with news from the Bay State since the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources

Sol Systems is proud to offer the industry's first contract offering for SREC II. We continue to offer general project financing and SREC contracts for projects in SREC I.

Sol Systems is proud to offer the industry’s first contract offering for Massachusetts SREC II. We continue to offer general project financing and SREC contracts for projects in SREC I.

(DOER) announced in late May that it had reached its cap for its existing “SREC I” program.  However, as they later announced, all projects over 100 kW that have a fully executed Interconnection Service Agreement dated on or before June 7, 2013 and meet the construction timelines enacted by the DOER may still be eligible for the SREC I program. A full list of eligible SREC I projects can be found on the DOER website.

As for the new program, tentatively entitled “SREC II,” the DOER is working diligently to design a second Solar Carve-Out Program to continue growing the solar market in Massachusetts, which may become the fourth largest state market in the coming years. However, until then, many solar developers are left wondering how and when they will be able to secure an SREC contract, a critical piece of the solar financing stack, for their Massachusetts projects that will be in the second program.

Sol Systems Provides Certainty to the Market by Offering SREC II Contracts

The Sol Systems team is continuously identifying new ways to facilitate solar project development, and we are proud to announce the industry’s first SREC brokerage option for Massachusetts SREC II projects. Our goal in providing this option is to help alleviate some of the uncertainty in the market for Massachusetts solar developers and system owners with projects over 100 kW that were ineligible for SREC I.

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Natacha Kiler

August 2013 Project Finance Statistics

blog_2013_07_17-2

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.

Every month, Sol Systems distributes a newsletter, the Sol Systems Project Finance Journal, to our community of solar developers and investors. The journal features solar finance statistics, trends, industry news, and SREC market information. We gather this information from our relationships and experience aggregating SRECs and financing commercial and utility scale solar projects.

We have included excerpts from our August Project Finance Journal below. If you have any questions about this information, wish to receive our monthly newsletter via email, or have a solar project in need of financing, please contact our team at finance@solsystemscompany.com.  We would love to hear from you.

Project Finance Statistics

Characteristics of “Hot Projects” 

The Sol Systems team is busy closing a number of 2013 projects and starting to work on 2014 projects. Below are some aggregated statistics on high-quality projects that are not yet contracted.

Capacity: 300 kW – 28 MW

Average Capacity: 3,389 kW

Developer all-in (asking) prices**:

  • <500 kW:  $2.50-3.03/Watt
  • 500 kW – 2 MW:  $2.12-$2.60/Watt
  • >2 MW:  $2.20-2.58/Watt

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Sara Rafalson

Sol Systems’ Growth Highlighted in the Washington Business Journal

Sol Systems' success was recently highlighted in the Washington Business Journal.

Sol Systems’ growth and recent project finance successes were highlighted in Friday’s Washington Business Journal.

The Washington Business Journal recently highlighted the growth of our staff and the recent success of Sol Systems’ project finance business.

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Thomas Larson

Rhode Island Amends FiT to Require Bids for Small Solar Projects

Recent changes to the Rhode Island FIT program will require projects under 500 kW to submit competitive bids for the rate at which National Grid will purchase electricity and environmental attributes. Developers with projects in the Rhode Island FIT program should contact Sol Systems to discuss financing options.

Developers with projects in the Rhode Island FIT program should contact Sol Systems to discuss financing options.

On August 7th, National Grid changed the rules for small solar systems in the bidding process for Rhode Island’s feed-in tariff program. The changes came in response to the Rhode Island legislature’s amendment to the Standard Contracts Act, which established the state’s feed-in tariff program early in 2013. The amendment mandated several changes to the state’s feed-in tariff program administered by National Grid. The program, referred to as Distributed Generation Standard Contracts, originally set forth a schedule of tariffs for various projects based on size and energy type. The changes will affect applicants for small DG projects (under 500 kW for solar), which will now have to submit competitive bids for the rate at which National Grid will purchase electricity and environmental attributes.

The recent changes will only affect some of the applicants for the second round and all applicants for the upcoming September round—any contracts awarded at the ceiling rate will remain in place. Once the adjustment is approved by the Rhode Island Public Utilities Commission (PUC), applicants from the second round will be allowed to update their applications with competitive bids for the rate. Applicants for the September round will have to submit their applications with competitive bids already included. National Grid will then select projects by multiple criteria, including the rate and the project’s progress. However, applications with the lowest bids will be the most likely to receive contracts.

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Sara Rafalson

Sol Systems Expands Solar Project Financing Efforts, Welcomes New Additions

Sol Systems is expanding rapidly to accommodate business growth and to maintain its excellent level of customer service. This summer, the company has brought on five new team members.

Sol Systems is expanding rapidly to accommodate business growth. This summer, the company has brought on five new team members.

Sol Systems is expanding rapidly to accommodate business growth. This summer, the company has brought on five new team members.

Sol Systems is proud to announce the addition of Ben Margolis as Director of Project Finance.  Mr. Margolis helps to lead Sol Systems’ Developer Advisory Services, which provides transaction structuring, project due diligence, SREC monetization, and capital placement for solar developers. He also supports the Asset Management group, handling project development, execution, and operations for Sol Systems’ investors. Mr. Margolis joins Sol Systems with seven years of experience in the solar industry. Prior to joining Sol Systems, Mr. Margolis worked at SunEdison, where he managed the development of solar projects from construction to commercial operation in markets ranging from California to Abu Dhabi. Mr. Margolis also worked in business development at SunEdison, where his efforts led to $70 million of pipeline opportunities. He holds an MBA from University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business and a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from the University of Maryland. Read the rest of this entry »

Amber Rivera

Massachusetts SREC Auction: SREC Bailout or Future Price Stability?

A graphical overview of the clearinghouse mechanism

A graphical overview of the clearinghouse mechanism. Click the image for a larger view.

The Massachusetts SREC market is undoubtedly the most complicated solar incentive regime in the country. There are hundreds of financial models that have attempted to predict the value of SRECs on behalf of developers and investors based on expected future market dynamics. In other SREC markets like NJ, MD, and even DE, investors usually require an investment grade off-take guaranteeing the price of SRECs before financing a project. But by our estimates, 60-75% of the solar projects financed in Massachusetts have been financed without a long term SREC contract in place. Consequently, it is an understatement to say that solar project owners, and the solar industry at large, have been on the edge of their seats watching the Massachusetts SREC auction mechanism at work. Would the SREC auction clear at the $285 price, or would they be left to gamble on the riskier post-auction spot market? Adding to the bets on the table, once an SREC goes through the auction it cannot re-enter any following years’ auction, so the price support essentially disappears post-auction for that SREC.

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Anna Noucas

Connecticut Utilities Announce Winners of 2013 ZREC Program, Passes Law to Exempt Commercial Solar from Property Tax

Over the last two months, the state of Connecticut has made a number of headways in its state solar program. First, two Connecticut utilities released the second solicitation of its Medium and Large ZREC Program. Second, the state’s Governor signed into law a bill that would exempt commercial and industrial solar energy systems from property tax. In conjunction, these two updates will help to spur Connecticut’s solar industry through the end of 2013 and beyond.

Connecticut Medium and Large ZREC Program Updates

The Connecticut Utilities, Connecticut Light & Power (CL&P) and United Illuminating (UI), announced on July 18, 2013 that winning bidders had been notified that they were awarded contracts for the Connecticut Medium and Large ZREC solicitation.

The Connecticut Medium and Large ZREC solicitation provides 15-year, fixed price ZREC contracts for winning projects based on a competitive solicitation process. To qualify for a ZREC contract, projects had to fit within either the Medium (100 – 250 kW) or Large (251 – 1,000 kW) tier and meet additional qualifications including, but not limited to, being located behind the customer’s revenue meter, installing a separate meter dedicated solely to the measurement of the project’s energy output, and gain approval to interconnect through the standard interconnection process. Applicants had to submit bids for their projects by  June 13, 2013 to be considered.

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Austen Sybert

Sol Systems to Sponsor Washington Gas’s Annual Light the Night Golf Tournament

LLS

Sol Systems will sponsor the Washington Gas annual “Light The Night” Golf Tournament, which supports the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

Sol System’ co-founders George Ashton and Yuri Horwitz will be teeing off to support the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LSS) at Washington Gas’s annual “Light The Night” Golf Tournament on August 26. All proceeds from this event benefit the LLS and in 2012 alone, funds exceeded $90,000, bringing the total to more than $563,00 since 2000. The LSS helps fund lifesaving research and provides information and support to patients throughout their cancer journey. Sol Systems is proud to support this cause.

Here are the ways you can help the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

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Thomas Larson

Renewable Energy Internship with Sol Systems

Position: Solar Analyst Intern (position beginning in August or September 2013), targeted towards undergraduates

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 »

Thomas Larson

Sol Systems Seeks Full-time Portfolio Manager

Position:  Portfolio Manager

Sol Systems is seeking a full-time Portfolio Manager to lead its Solar Renewable Energy Credit (SREC) business. The right candidate lives in, or would relocate to, the Washington DC area to join our growing team of solar finance professionals. This is a mid-level position that will include a combination of business development, SREC trading, financial analysis, and market policy research. This is an opportunity to become an expert in the supply and demand dynamics of U.S. solar markets, to develop and execute portfolio strategies, and to grow the company’s REC trading business through portfolio acquisition and new business generation. The Portfolio Manager will work directly with the CFO, and will be expected to hire and manage other members of the SREC trading team.

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Eric Scheier

New York’s LIPA Announces New Feed-In Tariff Program to Procure an Additional 100 MW

The Long Island Power Authority has announced another round of its popular feed-in tariff program.

The Long Island Power Authority has announced another round of its popular feed-in tariff program.

New York’s Long Island Power Authority (LIPA) has announced a second iteration of its Clean Solar Initiative Feed-In Tariff program (FIT II) which will bring an additional 100 MW of solar energy online. Pending completion of a public review and comment period, LIPA estimates that the application submittal period for the program will commence at the end of September 2013 and will be open for approximately four months. All solar projects greater than 100 kW and less than 2 MW will be eligible.

This second iteration of the FIT program differs from LIPA’s first solar FIT program in a number of ways. First, rather than considering applications on a first-come, first-served basis, all applications submitted within the application period will be evaluated; those that pass a preliminary screening process of technical and administrative review will be eligible for further consideration. In addition to including basic project information in an application, all applicants will submit a fixed-price bid ($/kWh) for the expected term of 20 years of energy delivered from the proposed system. Those applications that pass the initial screening will then be ranked in order of this bid price. These bids will be accepted using a clearing price auction mechanism, also known as a uniform price auction, which guarantees all accepted systems the same energy price based on the highest accepted bid.

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Natacha Kiler

Sol Systems Breaks Down Financing Barriers for Commercial Solar, Grows Value of 1.7 MW Indiana Solar Portfolio

Sol Systems continues to expand its mid-market focus and successfully arranged financing for a 1.7 MW portfolio of solar projects located in Indiana. Solscient Energy built the four commercial projects, each with different landlords, ranging in size from 243 kW to 643 kW.

Sol Systems’ project finance team originated and completed underwriting for each project and worked closely with Solscient to market the portfolio before placing the deal with one of its investor clients to maximize the portfolio’s value. Solscient Energy is a solar integrator, developer, and independent power producer.

Sol Systems continues to expand its mid-market focus and successfully arranged financing for a 1.7 MW portfolio of solar projects located in Indiana.

Sol Systems continues to expand its mid-market focus and successfully arranged financing for a 1.7 MW portfolio of solar projects located in Indiana.

“After working with Sol Systems’ knowledgeable team, we realized that we had several financing options, and we could optimize the value of the projects by placing the portfolio with a takeout investor,” said Granger Souder, co-founder of Solscient. “Sol Systems’ entire team was responsive and easy to get a hold of, and we are very happy with the result.”

“Working with the Solscient team was great, and this deal represents just the type of collaboration with developers that we love, and the value that our investor clients offer,” noted Yuri Horwitz, CEO of Sol Systems. “In this case, after determining the overall financeability of the project, and engaging with the Solscient team, we helped secure multiple offers and a term sheet within a few short weeks and significantly reduced overall transaction costs.” Read the rest of this entry »

Eric Scheier

Community Renewables Energy Act Voted to D.C. Council

The D.C. Council will likely be reading and voting on the Community Renewables Energy Act of 2013 again in September. Stay tuned to our blog for updates.

The DC Government Operations Committee voted the Community Renewables Energy Act of 2013 (B20-0057), a bill that has been making its way through D.C.’s council since January 2013, out of committee on July 3rd by a vote of 3-0.  The bill then proceeded to the DC Council where it underwent its first reading before the council last Wednesday, July 10, 2013. The DC Council’s legislative session has ended for the summer, but they will reconvene in the middle of September and the Community Renewables Energy Act of 2013 is expected to receive its second and final reading at that time.

This community solar legislation, supported by a number of councilmembers, would expand residents’, especially renters and those without rooftops ideal for solar, ability to participate in and benefit from solar installations by allowing virtual net-metering in the District of Columbia. Virtual net-metering is a structure in which an individual can purchase a share of a renewable energy installation and subsequently receive credit for the energy that the system produces, in accordance with the size of the share purchased.

Although a large number of DC residents can act as subscribers of a solar project through virtual net metering, the bill is structured such that any third party entity can build, own, and operate a community renewable energy facility, so long as the facility has at least two subscribers. In addition to supporting renters and those without rooftops ideal for solar, this bill supports the low income sector of the District by annually allocating the credits for any excess generation to the D.C. section of the Low Income Housing Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP).

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Sara Rafalson

Sol Systems’ George Ashton Named CFO of the Year

Sol Systems is proud to announce that CFO George Ashton has been named as Washington Business Journal’s Financial Services CFO of the year. The award honors the financial professionals in Greater Washington for outstanding performance in their roles as corporate financial stewards.

Photo credit: Joanne S. Lawton, Washington Business Journal

George Ashton won the Financial Services CFO of the Year award by the Washington Business Journal.

Mr. Ashton, co-founder and Vice President of Sol Systems, has been a critical contributor to the vision and conceptual development of the firm’s renewable energy credit and solar project finance businesses. His current responsibilities include on-going ideation and process implementation with the goal of ensuring that Sol Systems is a transformative financial intermediary in the renewable energy finance space. In addition, George manages the Sol Systems’ SREC portfolio for 3700 solar assets and leads the investor advisory group, which provides investors with opportunities to deploy capital in the renewable energy asset class, including take-out financing and tax equity investments for solar projects. To date, Sol Systems has financed 54 MW of solar assets.

Mr. Ashton is recognized as an expert in the solar financing space, and Sol Systems’ project financing successes have led to several speaking engagements for George on financing panels at regional and national conferences on the topics of solar investment, standardization, project finance, and securitization.

Thanks in part to his status as a “solar innovator,” Mr. Ashton was appointed to the Maryland Clean Energy Center (MCEC) Board of Directors in January 2011. He was later appointed Treasurer of the MCEC by Maryland Governor O’Malley. He has also been on the board of the Washington Jesuit Academy, and has held committee positions at the Community Ministries of Rockville.

Read the full interview here.

Please direct all media inquiries to pr@solsystemscompany.com.

About Sol Systems

Sol Systems is a boutique financial services firm that offers investor clients direct access to the renewable energy asset class and provides developers with sophisticated project financing solutions. Founded in 2008, Sol Systems focuses on meeting the most critical needs of the industry, including SREC monetization, capital placement, tax equity, and New Market Tax Credits. 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.

For more information, please visit www.solsystemscompany.com.

Jessica Robbins

The Unexpected Upside in the Solar v. Utilities Debate

This blog is also available on The Daily Energy Report.

Edison Electric Institute (EEI), the association of U.S. shareholder-owned electric power utilities, recently published a startling report calling out distributed energy resources as disruptive technologies threatening the existence of today’s U.S. electric utility industry. While the EEI report and the commentary that followed view solar primarily as a threat to their business model, Sol Systems has seen some utilities find opportunity in the potential of small-scale solar by making real investments in portfolios of distributed assets. By leveraging “disruptive” solar into their portfolios, utilities can position themselves to benefit from the continued growth of solar and the tax benefits therein. And by streamlining the investment process, challenges like high transaction costs and low velocity of capital can be overcome.

At the most basic level, utilities make money by selling power to consumers – and distributed solar cuts away the demand for their product. The EEI report identified several factors that have made distributed solar a viable alternative to purchasing power from the grid:

  • Ÿ  Declining prices of installed solar, specifically modules and equipment
  • Ÿ  Increasing utility prices for electricity that make solar competitive in a large parts of the country
  • Ÿ  Federal incentives including the ITC and accelerated depreciation (MACRS)
  • Ÿ  Increased adoption of Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS) at the state level
  • Ÿ  Increased adoption of net metering policies at the state level
  • Ÿ  Time of use (TOU) rates that charge higher prices for electricity consumed during peak hours, which coincide with the peak production hours for solar and reduce sales of the utility’s most expensive electricity
  • Ÿ  The emergence of financing structures, including PPAs and leases, that allow for third-party-owned solar requiring no upfront investment by ratepayers.
    Read the rest of this entry »
Sara Rafalson

Sol Systems CFO George Ashton Delivers Keynote at Washington Jesuit Academy Career Day

Sol Systems CFO George Ashton visits the Washington Jesuit Academy.

This week, Sol Systems CFO George Ashton, delivered the keynote address at the Washington Jesuit Academy’s career day.

This week, Sol Systems CFO, George Ashton, visited the Washington Jesuit Academy to deliver the keynote address at the Academy’s Career Day. Mr. Ashton previously served on the Board of the Washington Jesuit Academy, a middle school that provides a high quality education to boys from low income communities.

During Career Day, or “Dream Day,” as George called it, Sol Systems’ CFO challenged each student to “use the stories and lesson you will hear…to build your own journey and to dream about where you want to be.” Mr. Ashton also emphasized the importance of hard work, and encouraged students to ask for help along the way – because nobody has made it alone. “Inspiration is everywhere,” George added. “Use that inspiration to drive you to your dreams.”

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Sara Rafalson

Sol Systems to Speak at SEIA Tax & Finance Seminar in New York

Sol Systems will travel to the SEIA Tax & Finance Seminar, and CEO, Yuri Horwitz, will speak on "The Expanding Solar Investor Class."

Sol Systems will travel to the SEIA Tax & Finance Seminar, and CEO, Yuri Horwitz, will speak on “The Expanding Solar Investor Class.”

Several members from the Sol Systems team will be in New York for the SEIA Finance and Tax Seminar on July 25th and 26th.  Sol Systems CEO, Yuri Horwitz, will speak at the conference about Sol Systems’ experience in working with strategic investors, corporate investors, high net worth individuals, independent power producers, private equity funds, family offices, and select developers who are looking to acquire or co-develop renewable energy projects. He will also touch on Sol Systems’ success in addressesing tax issues  by bringing new and non-traditional investors to the table, including independent power producers and non-energy Fortune 500 companies with tax appetite.  Yuri’s speaker panel is entitled The Expanding Solar Investor Class.

To schedule a meeting in New York with a member of the Sol Systems team, please email us at info@solsystemscompany.com.

About Sol Systems

Sol Systems is a boutique financial services firm that offers investor clients direct access to the renewable energy asset class and provides developers with sophisticated project financing solutions. Founded in 2008, Sol Systems focuses on meeting the most critical needs of the industry, including SREC monetization, capital placement, tax equity, and New Market Tax Credits. 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.

Natacha Kiler

July 2013 Project Finance Statistics

Massachusetts and the abundance of solar activity occurring there is the highlight of this month’s solar finance journal.

Every month, Sol Systems distributes a newsletter, the Sol Systems Project Finance Journal, to our community of solar developers and investors. The journal features solar finance statistics, trends, industry news, and SREC market information. We gather this information from our relationships and experience aggregating SRECs and financing commercial and utility scale solar projects.

We have included excerpts from our July Project Finance Journal below. If you have any questions about this information, wish to receive our monthly newsletter via email, or have a solar project in need of financing, please contact our team at finance@solsystemscompany.com.  We would love to hear from you.

Project Finance Statistics

Characteristics of “Hot Projects”

Sol Systems finds that projects with the following characteristics are most likely to succeed. The overall quality of a project depends on the qualitative aggregate of the following characteristics.

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Eric Scheier

New Jersey’s PSE&G Announces Solar Loan Program III

PSE&G, the largest utility in New Jersey, has announced a third iteration of its solar loan program.

PSE&G, the largest utility in New Jersey, has announced a third iteration of its solar loan program.

After finishing two rounds of its successful solar loan program, New Jersey’s Public Service Electric and Gas Company (PSE&G) has received approval to offer a third round of loans to 97.5 MW worth of residential and non-residential solar projects and is expected to announce a start date shortly. Solar Loan III is similar to the previous two programs in that recipients have the option of paying off the loan with the Solar Renewable Energy Certificates (SRECs) that the system produces over time. The value of these SRECs will be determined by the higher of the market price or the pre-agreed-upon floor price for each system. However, unlike previous programs, the floor price for each system’s SRECs will be determined by a bid process instead of a preset schedule.

Applications will consist of a description of the system, typical loan application information, and a proposed SREC floor price “bid.” The applications will be sorted by bid, lowest to highest, and then approved in this order until the capacity for the solicitation has been filled. Loan awards will be calculated based on the net present value of the SRECs that the system is estimated to be able to produce over the course of the loan term (10 years) at the bid SREC floor price. According to draft documents, the interest rate will be 11.179% per year for all non-residential loans (down from 11.3092% in Solar Loan II). PSE&G has yet to announce the interest rate for residential loans (which stood at 6.5% in Solar Loan II), but there is some indication that the interest rate may be in the neighborhood of 11% as well. Previously, floor prices for SRECs in the 58.83MW Solar Loan II program ranged between $330-450 per SREC according to the program’s predetermined schedule. Right now, New Jersey SRECs are clearing at around $120, meaning that competitive bids for this program will likely come in much lower than the preset floor prices in Solar Loan II.

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Eric Scheier

New York Legislature Misses Opportunity to Sign NY Solar Bill into Law

The 32 MW Long Island Solar Farm was one of the largest projects implemented as a result of the NY-Sun Initiative.

The 32 MW Long Island Solar Farm was one of the largest projects implemented as a result of the NY-Sun Initiative.

The New York legislative session ended last week without the much anticipated enactment of the NY Sun Act of 2013. Governor Cuomo was unable to sign the NY Sun Act of 2013 (A.5060b/S.2522) into law following this year’s legislative session, as the House and Senate did not follow through with a reconciliation of the two bills prior to the end of proceedings.

The hope for major clean energy legislation in New York began on Earth Day as the Senate unanimously passed its version of the bill.  On June 20, 2013, the Assembly then followed with a promising vote of 76-16; however, this vote favored a different version of the bill.  With two versions of the bill lying on the table, reconciliation would need to occur in order to send the bill to the Governor’s desk for a signature. Time got the best of the House and Senate as they were unable to produce a compromised version of the long-term solar policy, leaving New York’s solar industry without the clean energy legislation it was hoping for.

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Anna Noucas

Massachusetts DOER Files Emergency Regulation, Revising Rules for Current Solar Carve-Out Program

In the June 7, 2013 Solar Stakeholder Meeting in Boston, the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER) announced that they would plan to file an Emergency Regulation by the end of June 2013, to revise the rules by which the current RPS Solar Carve-Out program will be regulated. The DOER met this goal by the filing this Emergency Regulation, which became effective immediately upon filing, on June 28, 2013. The Emergency Regulation will help to cover or mitigate any losses that developers would have experienced had the DOER limited the current program to strictly 400 MW, while also managing the potential cost impact to ratepayers, given there is potential for the program to expand past or end up less than 400 MW. To address this concern in the change in size of the program, the compliance obligation formula will be revised from 400 MW to the new Program Capacity Cap which will be announced by the DOER upon completion of all projects in July 2014.

Massachusetts DOER Files Emergency Regulation, Revising Rules for Current Solar Carve-out Program

Massachusetts DOER Files Emergency Regulation, Revising Rules for Current Solar Carve-out Program

A detailed version of the revised regulation is available on the DOER’s website, along with a list of projects that (1) have been determined to be qualified or submitted an administratively complete application under the original 400 MW capacity limit, and (2) those project that have applied outside the 400 MW capacity limit. The criteria for receiving a Statement of Qualification under the current Solar Carve-Out Program, outlined in the Emergency Regulation, will vary based on the project’s size and also the status of the project’s application, as outlined below.

Projects Greater than 100 kW

Projects greater than 100 kW must follow strict construction timelines in order to ensure their spot in the current 400 MW Solar Carve-Out Program. If a project has been issued a Statement of Qualification or has an application deemed administratively complete by the DOER, it will keep its qualification and status in the current program if it can meet the construction requirements and timeline. Projects outside the 400 MW capacity limit must have an Interconnection Service Agreement fully executed by the customer and utility, dated on or before June 7, 2013. In addition, they must also meet the construction timelines in order to be awarded a Statement of Qualification under the current program.

Construction Timelines

The construction timelines for projects greater than 100 kW are as follows:

  • Receipt of Authorization to Interconnect from the local distribution company by December 31, 2013.
  • Units that do not receive an Authorization to Interconnect by December 31, 2013 may receive an extension to June 30, 2014, if it can be demonstrated to the DOER’s satisfaction that the Unit has expended at least 50% of its total construction costs by December 31, 2013.
  • If a Unit has not received the Authorization to Interconnect as of June 30, 2014 but can demonstrate to the DOER’s satisfaction that the missing Authorization is due to delays caused by the local distribution company, or due to remaining steps required by other parties for safe and reliable interconnection, the Statement of Qualification will be extended until the Authorization is received or denied.

Projects Equal to or Less than 100 kW

Regardless of their placement in the 400 MW capacity limit, projects equal to or less than 100 kW, or designated as a Community Solar Garden by the MassCEC, will be qualified under the current program provided they submit a Statement of Qualification Application to the DOER, and have an Authorization to Interconnect by the later of December 31, 2013 or the effective date of the new solar program.

Timeline for Qualification

All projects qualifying under the current 400 MW Solar Carve-Out Program will have received a Statement of Qualification no later than December 31, 2013. Any projects failing to meet the criteria and construction timelines outlined above with have their Statement of Qualification revoked. This will help to ensure that the compliance obligation of the current solar program is not extended by an additional year, creating additional costs to the ratepayer. As mentioned above, the compliance obligation formula will then be revised from 400 MW to the new Program Capacity Cap, should it exceed 400 MW, to be announced by the DOER upon completion of all projects in July 2014.

Next Steps for the Emergency Regulation

Although the Emergency Regulation has been filed and may now be considered in effect, a Public Hearing and comment period will soon be scheduled and held, in accordance with administrative procedures. The regulation will remain in effect for 90 days; the DOER will have the opportunity to make the regulations permanent, and will move quickly to promulgate the final regulation so as to keep the rules in effect throughout the construction timelines and commencement of the new Solar Carve-Out Program. The DOER recognizes the need to complete this process quickly and efficiently, and without deviation, to avoid any confusion or concerns in proceeding with the financing and construction of projects.

Sol Systems will continue to follow the progress of this Emergency Regulation and provide updates on our blog. If you have a project that is eligible for the current Solar Carve-Out Program and is in need of financing, please contact finance@solsystemscompany.com with information on your project, including financing needs, and we will be happy to follow up. Sol Systems also currently offers three SREC agreements to customers in Massachusetts: Sol Annuity, Sol Brokerage, and Sol Upfront. If you are interested in becoming a customer, please contact info@solsystemscompany.com for more information.

About Sol Systems

Sol Systems is a boutique financial services firm that offers investor clients direct access to the renewable energy asset class and provides developers with sophisticated project financing solutions. Founded in 2008, Sol Systems focuses on meeting the most critical needs of the industry, including SREC monetization, capital placement, tax equity, and New Market Tax Credits. 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.

For more information, please visit www.solsystemscompany.com.

Amber Rivera

Updates to the Massachusetts 400-MW Solar Carve Out Program that You Didn’t Hear at the June Stakeholder Meeting

In the excitement of the recent stakeholder meeting that the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER) held on June 7, which focused on the emergency regulation to address the over-subscription of the 400-MW solar carve-out program and the proposed policy for the post-400 MW program, some important updates to the current 400-MW program have not received due attention. As of June 7, 2013, the proposed changes to the 225 CMR 14.00 regulation went into effect, with no changes made to the red line version that the DOER proposed to the House at the end of April. Here, we summarize some of the most pertinent changes relevant to solar developers and investors who operate in the Massachusetts market.

Adjustment to the Rules of the Solar Credit Clearinghouse Auction

The updated regulation now states that “Any entity that owns Solar Carve-Out Renewable Attributes is eligible to make deposits” of SRECs into the annual July auction run by the DOER. Previously, the DOER restricted the type of entity who could deposit SRECs to only system owners or operators; essentially, unless you were the first entity to receive the SREC into your NEPOOL account following generation, you were excluded from the auction. Now, you simply must have possession of an SREC in your NEPOOL account to participate in the auction. This change will open the auction up to a much larger number of participants, and may result in a greater number of SRECs being deposited into the auction. The 2013 auction has been closed to further deposits, and will begin with the first round on Friday, July 26th.

Prior to the revisions to the regulation, market participants generally understood that any SRECs that do not clear in the first, second, or third rounds of the auction and thus re-mint with a 3-year shelf life are not eligible to be placed into future years’ auctions. The DOER has inserted a clause into the regulation that explicitly states this rule, which was not formally included prior to the revision.

10-Year Opt-In Term for the 400 MW Program

The revised regulation removes the control mechanism previously in place for the length of the Opt-In Term. Before this change, the DOER was mandated to reduce or increase the original Opt-In Term set at 40 quarters in 2010, as follows:

  • Each time the number of SRECs deposited into the annual auction reached 10 percent of the current year’s compliance obligation, the Opt-In Term assigned to projects that qualified for the 400-MW carve-out program following the annual announcement at the end of July would be reduced by four quarters
  • Each time the amount of compliance obligation met with ACP payments reached 10 percent of the current year’s compliance obligation, the Opt-In Term assigned to projects that qualified for the 400-MW carve-out program following the annual announcement at the end of July would be increased by four quarters

In addition, the regulation set bands around this mechanism; the Opt-In Term could not be reduced by more than eight quarters in any given year, and for 2010-2016 there was a minimum Opt-In Term of five years.

The revised regulation fixes the Opt-In Term to 40 quarters (10 years), for all projects, regardless of whether they come online during a period of oversupply or under supply in the market. This is good news for commercial project developers and financiers, and for homeowners, as it removes the difficulty of trying to predict when a reduction in the Opt-In Term may occur, the result of which would be decreased revenue and a longer payback timeline on the system.

Increase to the SREC Demand in 2013

The DOER has increased the Total Compliance Obligation for the 2013 compliance year, from 135,495 MWh, or SRECs, to 189,297 MWh/SRECs. The increase is thanks to the removal of the component of the compliance obligation formula that subtracted the MWh volume of compliance met with ACP payments from two years prior. This adjustment exemplifies the DOER’s commitment to supporting SREC prices; however, even with this increase the market will be oversupplied in 2013 due to the substantial acceleration of solar installation in Massachusetts in 2012 and the first quarter of 2013.

Timeline and Queue for Applications to Get Into the Second Solar Carve-Out Program

The regulation has been revised to begin to handle the transition between the first and second solar carve-out programs. The DOER has created a new concept, the Assurance of Qualification, which will in a way act as a soft Statement of Qualification until the rules for applying into the second program are drafted, approved, and implemented. In other words, projects that do not qualify for the first program, assuming they meet the requirements specified in the regulation and in the Assurance of Qualification Guidelines, will be given assurance by the DOER that they will be eligible to produce SRECs in the second program.

In order to encourage complete and accurate applications, the DOER will introduce a new timeline for the expiration of a Statement of Qualification issued to a project. The details have not been finalized, but are expected to be released in the final version of the Assurance of Qualification Guidelines.

A Lot of DOER Tinkering but Progress in the MA Solar Market

Each of these changes will help to provide clarity for the market in the coming years, for both the current program and the post-400 MW program. The proposed policy for the second solar carve-out program, although not finalized, has hopefully provided comfort, if not certainty, to developers and project owners on how to apply and become qualified for the next program, so that they can continue to develop projects with confidence.

About Sol Systems

Sol Systems is a boutique financial services firm that offers investor clients direct access to the renewable energy asset class and provides developers with sophisticated project financing solutions. Founded in 2008, Sol Systems focuses on meeting the most critical needs of the industry, including SREC monetization, capital placement, tax equity, and New Market Tax Credits. 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.

For more information, please visit www.solsystemscompany.com.

Sara Rafalson

Sol Systems Welcomes Summer Interns

Sol Systems is proud to announce the arrival of this year’s summer interns. Welcome to the team, Sanjay, Eric, and Austen!

IMG_5967

Sanjay Gopinath

Sanjay Gopinath joins Sol Systems as a SREC Portfolio Intern. Prior to joining Sol Systems, Mr. Gopinath worked as a quantitative analyst at an energy trading firm and as a consultant focused on energy markets. As a quantitative analyst, Mr. Gopinath analyzed the PJM FTR market, built tools for traders and developed trading strategies. As a consultant, Mr. Gopinath analyzed base load electricity prices in the NordPool, performed forensic accounting to assess damages associated with incomplete power plant construction, and constructed tables and charts for international litigation. Mr. Gopinath holds a Bachelor of Arts in Mathematics and a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Johns Hopkins University. He is currently pursuing a Master’s Degree in Applied Mathematics and Statistics with a focus on commodity markets at Johns Hopkins University.

Eric Scheier

Eric Scheier

Eric Scheier joins Sol Systems after finishing his junior year at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he studies Environmental Science and Economics. As an intern at Sol Systems, he supports customer service initiatives, assists with marketing efforts, and conducts research for the project finance arm of the company. Prior to joining Sol Systems, he spent time in Thailand studying the environmental impacts of using microgrids for rural electrification. He has interned at the Sustainability Office at UNC, where he curated the university’s sustainability report.

Austen Sybert

Austen Sybert

Austen Sybert joins Sol Systems while completing his Bachelor of Science in Environmental Engineering, Entrepreneurship, and Management at Johns Hopkins University. At Sol Systems, Mr. Sybert’s primary responsibilities include supporting SREC operations, conducting project finance research, blogging, and processing registration materials for SREC projects. Mr. Sybert’s prior solar experience includes designing, building, and installing an off-grid solar home system in rural Nicaragua with the NGO blueEnergy.

About Sol Systems

Sol Systems is a boutique financial services firm that offers investor clients direct access to the renewable energy asset class and provides developers with sophisticated project financing solutions. Founded in 2008, Sol Systems focuses on meeting the most critical needs of the industry, including SREC monetization, capital placement, tax equity, and New Market Tax Credits. 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.

For more information, please visit www.solsystemscompany.com.

 

Sara Rafalson

MDV-SEIA is Hiring an Associate Director

MDV-SEIA represents the interests of photovoltaic and solar thermal equipment manufacturers, installers, distributors and component suppliers.

MDV-SEIA represents the interests of photovoltaic and solar thermal equipment manufacturers, installers, distributors and component suppliers.

Disclaimer: Please note that Sol Systems is posting this opportunity on behalf of MDV-SEIA. Interested applicants should contact info@mdv-seia.org for more information. 

The Maryland-DC-Virginia Solar Energy Industries Association (MDV-SEIA) Board of Directors is seeking an Associate Director (AD) whose primary responsibilities will be to administer the daily functions of the organization, including supporting membership needs and collecting membership dues. This is an exciting opportunity to join one of the most dynamic renewable energy industry associations in the nation, and interface with many of the most promising companies and entrepreneurs in the industry. The AD will support the planning and execution of meetings and events, including the annual conference.  The AD will also ensure the Board is supported in their duties, manage intern staff, coordinate other volunteers, and support fund raising.  The Associate Director reports to the Board and executes at their direction.

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Natacha Kiler

June 2013 Solar Project Finance Statistics

Massachusetts SREC policy discussions dominated the project finance headlines this week, inspiring a hesitantly optimistic outlook among developers and investors alike.

This month’s project finance journal includes updates on hot solar markets, PPA and FIT rates, and solar finance trends and observations.

Every month, Sol Systems distributes a newsletter, the Sol Systems Project Finance Journal, to our community of solar developers and investors. The journal features solar finance statistics, trends, industry news, and SREC market information. We gather this information from our relationships and experience aggregating SRECs and financing commercial and utility scale solar projects.

We have included excerpts from our June Project Finance Journal below. If you have any questions about this information, wish to receive our monthly newsletter via email, or have a solar project in need of financing, please contact our team at finance@solsystemscompany.com.  We would love to hear from you.

Project Finance Statistics

Characteristics of “Hot Projects”

Capacity: 100 kW – 24 MW
Average Capacity: 3,543 kW
Competitive all-in (asking) prices* currently include:

  • <500 kW: $2.12 – $3.03/Watt
  • 500 kW – 2 MW: $1.75 – $3.15/Watt
  • >2 MW:$1.75 – $3.02/Watt

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Austen Sybert

Financing Projects with SRECs: Maryland, Massachusetts, and Washington, DC Webinar Recap

The Solar Energy Industry Association (SEIA) recently hosted a webinar featuring two Sol Systems team members as SREC experts.

On June 13, the Solar Energy Industry Association (SEIA) hosted a webinar featuring two Sol Systems team members: Vice President and CFO, George Ashton, and Renewables Trader Amber Rivera. George and Amber spoke alongside Scott Wiater of Standard Solar and Mike Judge from the Massachusetts DOER.  The webinar, which was moderated by SEIA Senior Vice President of State Affairs Carrie Hitt, focused on how Solar Renewable Energy Credit (SREC) market conditions and legislation affect solar project development in Maryland, Massachusetts, and the District of Columbia. In case you missed it, here are the highlights.

George and Amber began by discussing the historical dynamics, current SREC prices, and future prospects for the each of the Maryland, Massachusetts, and District of Columbia SREC markets. Our SREC prices are also available to the public.

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Anna Noucas

Connecticut Utilities Expect Significant Number of Bids for Year Two of the LREC/ZREC Program

In late spring, the Connecticut Light & Power Company (CL&P) and the United Illuminating Company (UI) announced the joint issuance for the second year of the Low and Zero Emissions Renewable Energy Credit (LREC and ZREC) Program. The utilities issued the program in the form of a Request for Proposal (RFP) for bids for 15 year contracts with LREC and ZREC projects larger than 100 kW (AC).

2013 Program Summary

The program will include three separate tiers for bidding: LREC, Medium ZREC, and Large ZREC. The LREC or Low Emission Renewable Energy Credit tier will include all qualified renewable energy projects less than or equal to 2,000 kW that emit no more than 0.07 pounds per MWh of nitrogen oxides, 0.10 pounds per MWh of carbon monoxide, 0.02 pounds per MWh of volatile organic compounds, and one grain per 100 standard cubic feet. The Medium ZREC or Zero Emission Renewable Energy Credit tier will include all qualified projects (i.e. solar, wind, and hydro) between 100 kW and 250 kW in. Finally, the Large ZREC tier will include all qualified projects (i.e. solar, wind, and hydro) between 250 kW and 1 MW in size.

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Eric Scheier

Sol Systems’ George Ashton Named as Finalist for CFO of the Year

George Ashton, CFO of Sol Systems, is a finalist for the Washington Business Journal's CFO of the  year award.

George Ashton, CFO of Sol Systems, is a finalist for the Washington Business Journal’s CFO of the year award.

The Washington Business Journal has named Sol Systems’ CFO George Ashton as a finalist for its CFO of the Year Award. The award honors the financial professionals in Greater Washington for outstanding performance in their roles as corporate financial stewards. The awards ceremony will take place at 11:30 on July 18 in Tysons Corner, Virginia.

George, co-founder of Sol Systems and vice president of Sol Systems, has been a critical contributor to the vision and conceptual development of the firm’s renewable energy credit and solar project finance businesses. His current responsibilities include on-going ideation and process implementation with the goal of ensuring that Sol Systems is a transformative financial intermediary in the renewable energy finance space. In addition, George manages the Sol Systems’ SREC portfolio for 3700 solar assets and leads the investor advisory group, which provides investors with opportunities to deploy capital in the renewable energy asset class, including tax equity and take-out investments for solar projects.

For more information or if you are interested in attending the ceremony, please contact pr@solsystemscompany.com.

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Anna Noucas

Massachusetts DOER Updates Solar Stakeholders on Emergency Regulation and Proposed Post-400 MW Policy

This morning was a big one for the Massachusetts solar market. After the surprising announcement that the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER) had already received well over 400 MW of Statement of Qualification Applications (SQA) for the Solar Carve-Out Program, many developers, investors, and other interested parties faced the very real possibility that projects into which they had sunk significant capital and time would not be eligible for SRECs under the 400 MW cap. To follow up on their announcement and provide structure for the pending applications, the DOER specified that projects would need to submit SQAs by June 7th to be considered under the current 400 MW program and then subsequently published a list to outline the status of these applications. Consequently, over the last week in parallel with these announcements the amount of project applications swelled to over 800 MW.

Hundreds attend the Massachusetts DOER Solar Stakeholder meeting at the State House in Boston on June 7th.

Hundreds attend the Massachusetts DOER Solar Stakeholder meeting at the State House in Boston on June 7th.

All this transformed what was supposed to be a stakeholder meeting solely regarding plans for the post solar 400 MW program into a discussion on how the DOER would address the accelerated growth of development of the Massachusetts solar market. Discussion of this emergency regulation lasted for the first thirty minutes; the remaining hour and a half concentrated on plans for the post 400 MW solar carve-out program, although it can no longer technically be called “post-400 MW”, given that the total capacity that is either qualified or under review now totals over 900 MW. There were several interesting developments, and although it remains only a proposal at this point, it is clear the DOER remains committed to the growth of solar and trying to create linear growth towards Governor Patrick’s goal of 1600 MW of solar by 2020. More analysis on the likely form that the post-400 MW program will take will be provided by Sol Systems next week, during a webinar hosted with SEIA, featuring Michael Judge of the DOER.

Dwayne Breger, Director of Renewable and Alternative Energy Development at the DOER, laid out a few possible actions, one of which was simply doing nothing. Fortunately, he soon after announced that the DOER would file an emergency regulation to address the oversupply, which was greeted by applause from the entire room. The stated goal of the emergency legislation is to allow the 400 MW cap to expand to accommodate larger projects that are well invested in the development cycle, as well as small-scale solar projects given their short development timeline.

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Sara Rafalson

Sol Systems Featured in Environmental Entrepreneurs’ Clean Energy Jobs Roundup

Environmental Entrepreneurs has highlighted Sol Systems in its most recent Clean Energy Jobs Roundup.

Environmental Entrepreneurs has highlighted Sol Systems in its most recent Clean Energy Jobs Roundup.

Sol Systems was featured in the Environmental Entrepreneurs’ (E2First Quarter 2013 Clean Energy Jobs Roundup. In these quarterly reports, Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2) tracks and compiles domestic clean energy and clean transportation job announcements from media reports, official announcements, and other sources to demonstrate how clean energy and transportation creates high quality jobs across the country.

In the report, Sol Systems as a “solar finance firm at the center of a growing industry.” The report suggests that Sol Systems’ renewable energy financial services play a crucial role in the renewable energy market and are part of the reason that  ”clean energy and clean transportation are breathing new life into domestic manufacturing and creating high-quality jobs for workers across the country.”

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Sara Rafalson

Sol Systems to Host Project Finance Workshop Thursday, June 20

MDV-SEIA represents the interests of photovoltaic and solar thermal equipment manufacturers, installers, distributors and component suppliers.

MDV-SEIA represents the interests of photovoltaic and solar thermal equipment manufacturers, installers, distributors and component suppliers.

Sol Systems will host and sponsor an interactive solar project finance workshop and networking event on Thursday, June 20 in partnership with the Maryland D.C. Virginia Solar Energy Industry Association (MDV-SEIA). During the hands-on workshop, Sol Systems’ CEO, Yuri Horwitz, and Senior Vice President of Finance, Rafael Alfonzo, will share strategies for successfully financing commercial solar projects, while also providing opportunities for active participation and questions. The workshop will take place in the 2nd floor board room of the Sol Systems’ offices in Washington, D.C.  from 5-8 PM. Refreshments will be provided, and there is no cost to attend. Current and prospective MDV-SEIA members should contact pr@solsystemscompany.com to be added to the guest list.

As an industry leader in renewable energy project finance, Sol Systems offers a number of resources such as workshops and solar finance solar financing webinars in order to share the knowledge and tools that drive project development. Please contact us at finance@solsystemscompany.com for more information on our project financing services for developers, or how we help investors deploy capital in the renewable energy asset class.

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Eric Scheier

Sol Systems to Speak on Tax Equity at Regional Conference

Distributed Solar East 2013 is an opportunity for the distributed solar community to connect and get updates on successful strategies for funding growth and financing distributed solar projects.

Sol Systems CEO, Yuri Horwitz, will speak on how to secure tax equity for solar projects at Distributed Solar East this week.

Sol Systems CEO Yuri Horwitz will be attending the upcoming Distributed Solar East Conference in Washington, D.C. The event will be held June 4-6th and will include dozens of expert speakers and hundreds of renewable finance professionals. Yuri Horwitz, Sol Systems’ CEO and co-founder, will be featured on Wednesday the 5th in a panel entitled “How to Secure Tax Equity,” sharing his expertise on securing tax equity investment in the growing and complex solar industry. Yuri will join executives from JP Morgan, Credit Suisse, and other financing institutions to discuss the market outlook, potential and viability of different tax equity investment structures, and factors that drive solar investor decisions.

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Anna Noucas

Sol Systems to Attend DOER’s Massachusetts Solar Stakeholders Meeting on June 7th

Massachusetts’ Department of Energy Resources (DOER) will be holding a public Solar Stakeholder Meeting this Friday, June 7, 2013 from 10:00am to noon in the Gardner Auditorium of the State House in Boston, where they will present a draft policy proposal for the next solar program. The DOER will also shed some light on how it plans to proceed with the accelerated amount of Statement of Qualification Applications (SQA) it has received as part of the 400 MW program.

Sol Systems team members will attend the DOER's Solar Stakeholder meeting on June 7th in Boston, MA.

Sol Systems team members will attend the DOER’s Solar Stakeholder meeting on June 7th in Boston, MA.

The DOER followed sent an email on Monday, June 3, 2013 stating that a list of projects that have sought qualification for the 400 MW program is now posted on the DOER’s website. This list includes a breakdown of qualified projects or administratively complete applications that are considered to be within the 400 MW cap program, and a queue of projects that are beyond the 400 MW cap. A number of projects that are well into construction, financing, and other economic commitments may be at risk of not qualifying for the first program. With this in mind, the DOER intends to maintain a healthy and confident solar market as the transition to the next (post-400 MW) policy program begins. In order to do so, the DOER plans to file an emergency regulation sometime this month. More details will be provided on this emergency regulation at the Stakeholder Meeting on Friday.

Sol Systems will be attending this meeting and welcomes any developer or installers to contact finance@solsystemscompany.com to set up a meeting. Please provide us with information on your company and times you may be available that afternoon. We will then put you in touch with the appropriate Sol Systems team member for you to meet with.

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Jessica Robbins

Minnesota Embraces Aggressive Solar Standard

Solar in Minnesota is set to increase by a factor of 30 thanks to the carve-out and associated incentives

Solar in Minnesota is set to increase by a factor of 30 thanks to the carve-out and associated incentives

Last week the state of Minnesota officially enacted a solar carve-out of 1.5% by 2020, totaling 450MW of capacity, above and beyond the existing renewable energy standard (RES) of 25% renewable energy by 2025. The carve-out applies to investor-owned utilities (IOUs) and affects about two-thirds of electricity sales in the state. Due to a compromise made early in the bill’s negotiations, certain large industrial electricity consumers like iron mining operations and paper mills are exempt from the standard, making the carve-out in practice about 0.88% of total retail electric sales. Provisions in the bill also create a production-based incentive (PBI) for small projects; community solar gardens; an expansion on the upper size limit for net metering with IOUs; and a standard offer program for projects 1MW and smaller that IOUs may choose to enact.

The bill includes a 10% standard for small projects capped at 20kW each, resulting in a 45MW set-aside for residential and light commercial development. The set-aside is supported by a production-based incentive paid out over 10 years for systems 20kW and under in Xcel Energy’s territory. The PBI will open in 2014 and stay open for five years, with $5 million allocated each year. The program must be designed by the utility and approved by the commissioner of commerce.
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Anna Noucas

Massachusetts DOER Receives Over 400 MW of Administratively Complete Applications

On May 29, 2013, the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER) released an important announcement on the status of the Massachusetts Solar Carve-out Program. In recent months, the growth of development in Massachusetts has accelerated and the DOER has received a tremendous volume of State of Qualification Applications (SQA) for the Solar Carve-out Program. As the DOER noted in its announcement, they have received applications for over 550 MW of solar that have either been qualified or are under review.

The Massachusetts DOER is certain that more than 400 MW of the 550 MW of applications are administratively completed.

The Massachusetts DOER is certain that more than 400 MW of the 550 MW of applications are administratively completed.

With this large volume of applications, the DOER is certain that more than 400 MW of the 550 MW of applications are administratively completed. Even with this news, as the DOER has done in the past, they will continue to accept applications and allow two weeks for applicants to address any deficiencies before rejecting any applications. However, due to the anticipated June 7th announcement date for the new regulation, the DOER expects that applications received after this date will be reviewed under the revised regulation.

No later than Tuesday, June 4th, a list of current projects that have received or will receive a State of Qualification will be posted on the DOER website in order of their eligibility for qualification. These will be projects that have SQAs deemed administratively complete but are beyond the 400 MW cap of qualified capacity. The DOER will also post a list of pending applications under review.

Read the rest of this entry »

Anna Noucas

SRECDelaware Spot Market Auction Produces Low SREC Prices

As part of the 2013 Delaware Procurement Program, SRECDelaware held a Spot Auction through the SRECDelaware platform for owners of existing SRECs generated from June 2009 until today to bid to sell their SRECs. The auction was held between May 15th and May 22nd. Delmarva Power anticipated purchasing between 2,000 and 6,000 SRECs total with all bids evaluated solely on bid price with no additional credit provided for Delaware labor or equipment. All winning bidders will be paid based on their bid price less an 8% commission deducted from their final payment.

The weighted average price of SRECs sold in the SRECDelaware Spot Auction was $33.94/SREC.

The weighted average price of SRECs sold in the SRECDelaware Spot Auction was $33.94/SREC.

Shortly following the close of the auction, on May 24, 2013, SRECDelaware announced the results. A total of 2,978 SRECs were purchased out of a total of 5,394 SRECs entered into the auction. The weighted average price of SRECs sold was $33.94/SREC, with a low price of $1.50/SREC and a high of $45.00/SREC. This weighted average price is lower than where the market currently stands. Delaware 2012 SRECs are currently bid at $35/SREC and offered at $45/SREC, with the majority of the volume trading at $40/SREC.

Sol Systems bid our customers’ SRECs into the auction at fairly high prices in an attempt to sell them at higher prices than what we have been able to achieve on the spot market and through direct relationships this year. Although Sol Systems was unable to secure any SRECs through the SRECDelaware Spot Auction, this week we were able to sell the remainder of our customers’ SRECs at $40/SREC, less our transaction fee, for a final price of $35.00. So far in 2013, the weighted average price of our DE SREC sales is $39.36/SREC. Sol Systems currently offers our Sol Brokerage solution for photovoltaic systems located in Delaware. If you are interested in becoming a Sol Brokerage customer, please email info@solsystemscompany.com for more information.

About Sol Systems

Sol Systems is a boutique financial services firm that offers investor clients direct access to the renewable energy asset class and provides developers with sophisticated project financing solutions. Founded in 2008, Sol Systems focuses on meeting the most critical needs of the industry, including SREC monetization, capital placement, tax equity, and New Market Tax Credits. 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.
For more information, please visit www.solsystemscompany.com.

Sara Rafalson

Webinar Invitation – Financing Projects with SRECs: Maryland, Massachusetts, and Washington, DC

Join Sol Systems, SEIA, Standard Solar, and the Massachusetts DOER as they discuss strategies for financing solar projects with SRECs.

Join Sol Systems, SEIA, Standard Solar, and the Massachusetts DOER as they discuss strategies for financing solar projects with SRECs.

SRECs have been critical to driving solar development on the East Coast. However, as market conditions become increasingly complex, what is the best strategy for financing solar projects in these SREC markets? Join Sol Systems, SEIA, Standard Solar, and the Massachusetts DOER on Thursday, June 13 at 1:00 PM as panelists:

  • Debate strategies for financing projects in three most promising of the East Coast SREC markets – Maryland, Massachusetts, and Washington, DC
  • Discuss factors that may affect the value of this commodity-based incentive
  • Discuss SREC market oversupply and the feasibility of securing a long-term contract in these markets

Attendees will deepen their understanding of

  • Supply and demand dynamics in the MD, MA, and DC markets
  • Recently passed and pending legislation, and how it will affect SREC markets
  • Whether or not long term contracts opportunities exist in the markets and if they don’t the best SREC Strategy in each market
  • Factors that make each market unique and how that affects prices
  • Spot market and process for long term strips in each market
  • How to finance large commercial projects in SREC states

Who should attend:

  • Developers in developing projects in the Maryland, Massachusetts & DC SREC markets
  • Solar investors looking to gain access to the MD, MA & DC markets
  • Solar Installers operational or hoping to gain access to the MD, MA or DC markets

Speakers include:

  • Carrie Hitt, Senior Vice President of State Affairs, SEIA
  • George Ashton, Vice President & CFO, Sol Systems LLC
  • Michael Judge, Associate RPS Program Manager, Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources
  • Amber Rivera, Renewables Trader, Sol Systems LLC
  • Scott Wiater, President, Standard Solar

Register today.

Sara Rafalson

Sol Systems Welcomes Alexandra Mas to the Team

In the past several months, Sol Systems has expanded and has hired sharp, passionate, and energetic team players to drive innovation and propel the solar industry forward. This week, Sol Systems is proud to announce the arrival of our latest new hire, Alexandra Mas.

Alexandra S. Mas

Sol Systems welcomes Alexandra Mas to the team.

Sol Systems welcomes Alexandra Mas to the team.

Analyst

Prior to joining Sol Systems, Ms. Mas was part of the Operations Team with a leading renewable energy company in the D.C. metropolitan area. In her previous role, Ms. Mas worked with incentive rebate programs and state grants on behalf of qualifying solar clients. She also guided residential and commercial system owners through the interconnection process. Ms. Mas has expertise in providing sales support through development of proposals for potential commercial and residential clients. Ms. Mas conducted research on ever-changing local, regional and national incentive programs concerning renewable energy as part of ongoing marketing initiatives. Read the rest of this entry »

Amber Rivera

New Law in Maryland will Add Approval and Financing Requirement for Solar PV Systems 2 MW and Up

nixon

Governor O’Malley of Maryland signed Senate Bill 0887 into law on Thursday, May 16th 2013, effectively adding a new approval process and financing requirement for certain large PV solar systems. The Bill will require systems that are 2 MW or larger to file for approval to construct from the Public Service Commission (PSC), six months ahead of construction. This will apply to systems that are exempt from obtaining a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity (CPCN), the licensing requirement for the construction of a generating station in Maryland.

Solar PV systems that meet either of the following criteria do not have to file for a CPCN:

a)    Does not exceed 70 MW; Produces onsite electricity; At least 80% of total electricity produced is consumed on-site

b)    Does not exceed 25 MW; At least 20% of total electricity produced is consumed on-site

With the new law in place, systems that are 2 MW or larger, and do not meet either of these two criteria, must seek the newly required approval from the PSC. The system will have to file for approval six months prior to construction. A “deposit” of one percent of total installation costs is an application requirement, and will be held in escrow by the PSC. Once the project begins construction, the deposit will be refunded. Systems will have 18 months to begin construction following approval to construct.

If construction does not begin within 18 months, the deposit will be lost, and allocated to the Maryland Strategic Investment Fund. It seems that the system would then have to re-apply for PSC approval to construct, including submitting a new deposit, to be reconsidered. There may be exceptions to this rule, if an extension of the initial 18 months is granted by the PSC. The Bill states that “The Commission may grant the [extension] request based on factors the Commission considers compelling, including the occurrence of events outside the person’s control.” The Commission has not yet issued guidelines or comments on how or when it plans to implement the law, or whether the law will apply to existing projects that have not yet reached COD.

The new requirement will not add any additional overall cost to solar projects; however, it will shift a portion of the installation costs to an upfront payment in the form of the deposit. The below table shows the hypothetical deposit—one percent of installation costs—for a range of system sizes. Assumed installation costs are what Sol Systems is currently seeing in the Maryland solar market.

Project Size (MW)

Install Cost ($/kW)

Install Cost ($)

Deposit ($)

2

$2,250

$4.5 million

$45,000

5

$2,000

$10 million

$100,000

10

$1,750

$17.5 million

$175,000

20

$1,750

$35 million

$350,000

Sol Systems is continually monitoring the activity of the Maryland PSC and General Assembly for important updates relevant to solar financing and SREC markets. Please contact info@solsystemscompany.com with questions about the Maryland solar market.

 About Sol Systems 

Sol Systems is a boutique financial services firm that offers investor clients direct access to the renewable energy asset class and provides developers with sophisticated project financing solutions. Founded in 2008, Sol Systems focuses on meeting the most critical needs of the industry, including SREC monetization, capital placement, tax equity, and New Market Tax Credits. 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.

For more information, please visit www.solsystemscompany.com.

Natacha Kiler

May 2013 Solar Project Finance Statistics

Every month, Sol Systems distributes a newsletter, the Sol Systems Project Finance Journal, to our community of solar developers and

Sol Systems' investor network is actively seeking California projects. Projects can be 10-20 MW in size and in need of tax equity, or mid-size commercial projects seeking take-out financing.

Sol Systems’ investor network is actively seeking California projects. Projects can be 10-20 MW in size and in need of tax equity, or mid-size commercial projects seeking take-out financing.

investors. The journal features solar finance statistics, trends, industry news, and SREC market information. We gather this information from our relationships and experience aggregating SRECs and financing commercial and utility scale solar projects.

We have included excerpts from our May Project Finance Journal below. If you have any questions about this information, wish to receive our monthly newsletter via email, or have a solar project in need of financing, please contact our team at finance@solsystemscompany.com.  We would love to hear from you.

Project Finance Statistics

Characteristics of “Hot Projects”

Capacity: 300 KW – 3.6 MW
Average Capacity: 1,423 kW
Competitive all-in (asking) prices* currently include:

Victoria Ngare

Sol Systems’ Advisory Services Strengthen Developer RFP Applications, Increase Financing Success Rate

Solar feed-in tariffs

Through our Developer Advisory Services, Sol Systems works alongside its developer partners to strengthen applications for RFP’s and competitive bidding programs.

More than a dozen states and municipalities across the Unites States have turned to competitive bidding programs or feed-in tariff (FiT) programs to scale solar investments.  For example, Rhode Island and the LA Department of Water and Power (LADWP) are both currently offering attractive FiT programs for qualifying solar projects. Along with tax credits and tax equity financing, solar programs that offer long-term contracts can be important in financing small-scale commercial solar energy projects. Private and public entities utilize RFPs to attract the most qualified developers to fulfill renewable energy allocations, and these are increasing becoming structured as competitive bidding processes rather than simply lottery programs. Several factors can determine which developers win RFPs, including overall strength of application and competitive pricing.

Through our Developer Advisory Services, Sol Systems works alongside its developer partners to strengthen applications for competitive bidding programs. Strong applications exhibit specific characteristics such as site control with the project host, a completed feasibility study, thorough project design details, a clear plan for the financing of the system, and demonstrated experience in completing previous solar projects.  Our services identify financial and technical risks for solar projects, and our work with investors provides our team with a heightened understanding of project financeability. Most recently, Sol Systems worked with developers entering National Grid’s Rhode Island’s feed-in tariff program, which aims to add 40 MW of renewable energy capacity, 10 MW of which will be secured this year.
Read the rest of this entry »

Anna Noucas

Governor Patrick Challenges MA Solar Market with Increased Installed Capacity Goal by 2020

On May 1, 2013, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick announced that Massachusetts has surpassed his Administration’s original goal of installing 250 megawatts (MW) of solar energy by 2017 – four years early. The Administration used this opportunity to reveal a new goal of 1,600 MW of solar energy installations in Massachusetts by 2020.

Governor Patrick announces new goal of 1,600 MW of solar energy installations in Massachusetts by 2020.

Governor Patrick announces new goal of 1,600 MW of solar energy installations in Massachusetts by 2020.

With nearly 100 MW of solar power installed in 2012 alone, this accomplishment propelled Massachusetts to rank sixth last year in total capacity added, representing a jump up from their 12th place ranking in years 2010 and 2011, according to SEIA’s US Solar Market Insight Report. To help provide perspective on what this accomplishment means in Massachusetts, the 250 MW of solar power already installed is enough to power more than 37,000 homes for a year and is the equivalent of eliminating greenhouse gas emissions from nearly 26,000 cars a year. The new goal would generate enough power for an additional 200,000 homes for a year, and eliminate emissions from nearly 140,000 more cars.

With his statement, Governor Patrick confirms the commitment of Massachusetts to an effective and innovative solar market. This announcement comes in the midst of ongoing discussions revolving the 400 MW cap on the current solar carve-out program and the question of whether to expand the program or create a separate and distinct SREC-II program. As Governor Patrick noted in his speech, the proper solution will need to “ensure certainty for the financing world, affordability for customers, and stability for the market.”

Sol Systems will continue to track the developments of the post-400 MW policy discussions through our blog. Please contact info@solsystemscompany.com with any questions about the Massachusetts SREC market.

About Sol Systems

Sol Systems is a boutique financial services firm that offers investor clients direct access to the renewable energy asset class and provides developers with sophisticated project financing solutions. Founded in 2008, Sol Systems focuses on meeting the most critical needs of the industry, including SREC monetization, capital placement, tax equity, and New Market Tax Credits. 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.

For more information, please visit www.solsystemscompany.com.

Daniel Watson

Renewable Portfolio Standards Face Stiff Opposition Across the Country

Renewable Portfolio Standards across the nation are under re-examination by state lawmakers, aiming to diminish or eliminate these Blog-Image-2-Feb-10-2012programs. Despite benefits to local economies and environments, some politicians and lobbyists feel the programs are unimportant. To date, a number of proposals have reached State Senate and House floors throughout the country. Many lawmakers hold that RPS programs across the board create unduly costs for electricity consumers and taxpayers in order to support an industry that should be able to stand on its own. However, organizations funded by oil and gas interests like the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), the Heartland Institute, and others have also played a strong role in fostering anti-renewables legislation across the country. Our company has been tracking the movement in many states and provides an overview of legislative progress thus far.

Read the rest of this entry »

Anna Noucas

Delaware Procurement Program Results in Low SREC Prices for Successful Bidders

On May 1, 2013, the Delaware Procurement Program announced the final results for their 2013 program. The results show a significant decrease in the contracted price per SREC as compared to the 2012 Pilot Program’s pricing.

This year, the Delaware Public Service Commission approved a new structure for the program which resulted in a competitive bid process for all tiers. This differs from the structure of the 2012 Pilot Program, which included an administratively set price for projects under 250 kW and a competitive bid process for projects above that size. The set price was an attractive, guaranteed price of $260/SREC or $240/SREC for the first 10 years of the contract.

Read the rest of this entry »

Dan Yonkin

2013 Solar Industry Trends, Part 2: A Look at Geographical Markets

Dan Yonkin and Yuri Horwitz had the second part of their article “2013 Solar Industry Trends” published in the April issue of the Novogradac Journal of Tax Credits

2013_04

2013 Solar Industry Trends, Part 2: A Look at Geographical Markets  

Trends in the geography of solar development are determined by three primary drivers: solar insolation (the quantity of sunlight during the year), local electricity rates (the higher the rate the better) and local regulatory and incentive programs. Good projects are found where bountiful solar resources, costly electricity rates, and generous incentive programs overlap. Nevertheless, even if the first two factors are lacking, strong state and local incentive programs and regulations can singlehandedly determine favorable solar markets for financeable projects. In 2013, a number of new state and local programs, including programs in New York, Indiana, Georgia, Connecticut and Washington D.C., in combination with established markets, like California and Massachusetts, will drive solar development trends nationwide.

Read the rest of this entry »

Daniel Watson

Sol Systems Co-founders to Travel to New York as Solar Shines on Wall Street

The Sunshine Backed Bonds Conference will be held May 3rd, 2013

The Sunshine Backed Bonds Conference will be held May 3rd, 2013

On May 3rd, the Information Management Network will be hosting its first annual Sunshine Backed Bonds conference in New York. The event, aimed at introducing investors to solar as a viable asset class, will be located at the Union League Club in lower Manhattan. Sol Systems’ co-founders, George Ashton and Yuri Horwitz, will both be in attendance. George will be participating in a panel discussion entitled “Exploring the Role of Securitization in Renewable Energy Finance.” The conference will largely focus on large-scale financing opportunities available through securities, allowing typical developers to network with ABS investors seeking alternative financing ventures.
Read the rest of this entry »

Sara Rafalson

Sol Systems & Dow Solar Announce Strategic Alliance to Offer Financing Solutions to DOW POWERHOUSE™ Customers

Sol Systems and Dow Solar, a business unit within The Dow Chemical Company, today announced a strategic alliance to provide turnkey solar renewable energy credit (SREC) solutions for DOW POWERHOUSE™ Solar Shingles customers. Dow Solar’s customers can now monetize their SRECs through a streamlined process designed by Sol Systems to improve the financial return on their solar investment.

Sol Systems and Dow Solar have partnered to offer financing solutions to Dow POWERHOUSE customers.

Sol Systems will provide Dow Solar customers with SREC financing solutions in Washington D.C., Maryland, and Massachusetts.

“We are pleased to offer this additional service for our POWERHOUSE customers,” said Yochai Gafni, Dow Solar’s Market Development Director. “POWERHOUSE is a smart home investment, but managing all of the available incentives can be cumbersome for homeowners. The alliance with Sol Systems will enable our POWERHOUSE Authorized Dealers to act as a one-stop shop for solar roofing and SREC management, which will differentiate them in their markets.”
Read the rest of this entry »

Daniel Watson

Vermont’s 2013 SPEED Program Proposal Deadline Quickly Approaches

The first round of the Vermont Sustainably Priced Energy Enterprise Development (SPEED) program in its new competitive form will close on May 1st of this year. In March, the Vermont Public Service Board altered the structure of the standard offer program in Vermont, reducing the avoided-cost ceiling rate for solar projects and changing the mechanism used to determine which projects receive the offers. The ceiling rate for solar PV systems dropped to $0.257/kWh down from $0.271/kWh. This new rate is based upon a renewed analysis of the costs of solar production. Some fear that this price is based too extensively on the expected decrease in solar costs, as efficiency in the industry grows; however, this rate remains strong in comparison to other states. All avoided-costs for other energy sources have not been altered.

Read the rest of this entry »

Daniel Watson

Sol Systems to Speak at Novogradac’s Financing Renewable Energy Conference in San Francisco

SanFran

The Financing Renewable Energy Conference will be held in San Francisco, California.

Sol Systems CEO Yuri Horwitz and Dan Yonkin, Director of Tax Equity, will be attending the upcoming Novogradac Financing Renewable Energy Conference in San Francisco. The event will be held April 24-25th and will include dozens of expert speakers and hundreds of renewable finance professionals. Yuri, our CEO and co-founder, will be featured on Wednesday the 24th in a panel titled “Searching for the Lowest Cost of Capital,” sharing his expertise on securing investment in the growing and complex green energy industry. Yuri will join executives from Deutsche Bank, Clean Power Finance, and other financing institutions to discuss the potential and viability of debt financing through asset-backed securities, master limited partnerships and even a federal production tax credit for solar energy.

Sol Systems offers investors a diverse range of opportunities to deploy capital in the renewable energy asset class. Our team originates project opportunities from our national network, conducts thorough due diligence of each projects, structures and negotiates complex tax transactions, and manages the asset post-closing to maximize each project’s cash and tax benefits.

Read the rest of this entry »

Anna Noucas

Ohio Senator Reintroduces Legislation to Repeal Renewable Portfolio Standard

The Ohio SREC market in 2013 is projected to be two times oversupplied with an expected 120,000 SRECs to be issued in 2013 compared to a demand of only 60,000 SRECs.

The Ohio SREC market in 2013 is projected to be two times oversupplied with an expected 120,000 SRECs to be issued in 2013 compared to a demand of only 60,000 SRECs.

In 2012, Ohio Senator Kris Jordan introduced a bill to repeal Ohio’s Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard. After the bill failed to advance in the 2012 session, Senator Jordan introduced a similar bill, Senate Bill (SB) 34, in February 2013. The bill has been referred to the Public Utilities Committee, but a hearing has yet to be scheduled.

If passed, SB 34 would amend several sections of the state’s Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard (RPS). Most importantly, SB 34 would repeal the requirement that utilities must reach a goal of 25% of electricity sales from renewable and advanced energy resources by 2025. In effect, this would remove the 0.5% solar carve-out and terminate the necessity for a solar renewable energy credit (SREC) market in Ohio, as well as seriously affect adjacent states that sell their SRECs into Ohio’s borders.

Read the rest of this entry »

Daniel Watson

Sol Systems Speaks at the American Solar Energy Society Conference in Baltimore

ASESheader

Sol Systems CFO and co-founder, George Ashton, will be attending SOLAR 2013, an annual conference held by the American Solar Energy Society. This is the 42nd installment of the event, and will be held April 16-20 at the Baltimore Convention Center. George will be participating in a 90-minute panel discussion titled “Financing DG Projects,” where he will speak alongside Rich Deutschmann of Ameresco, Chris Lord of Capiron, and Steve Remen of GroSolar.  The panel will be held on Wednesday, April 17th, from 1 PM until 2:30 PM and will focus on funding distributed generation installations.

Read the rest of this entry »

Natacha Kiler

April Solar Project Finance Statistics

Every month, Sol Systems distributes a newsletter, the Sol Systems Project Finance Journal, to our community of solar developers and investors. The journal features solar finance statistics, trends, industry news, and SREC market information. We gather this information from our relationships and experience aggregating SRECs and financing commercial and utility scale solar projects.

We have included excerpts from our April Project Finance Journal below. If you have any questions about this information, wish to receive our monthly newsletter via email, or have a solar project in need of financing, please contact our team at info@solmarket.com.  We would love to hear from you.

Project Finance Statistics

Characteristics of “Hot Projects”

Capacity: 300 KW – 3.6 MW
Average Capacity: 1,293 KW
Competitive all-in costs range currently range between $2.00-3.00 *

  • <500 kW:            $2.57-3.00/ Watt
  • 500 kW – 2 MW: $2.85-3.00/ Watt
  •  >2 MW:               $2.00-2.62/ Watt

*Does not include Hawaii projects where competitive costs are currently ~ $4.25/watt

Read the rest of this entry »

Anna Noucas

Legislation Introduced in 2013 to Increase the Pennsylvania Solar Carve-Out

On February 25, 2013, Representative Greg Vitali introduced House Bill (HB) 100 to the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, legislation that would amend the Pennsylvania Alternative Energy Portfolio Standards. HB 100 was later referred to the House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee, and hearing has not yet been scheduled. If passed, HB 100 would take steps to revive the suffering PA SREC market. Similar legislation (HB 1580 and SB 1350) was introduced to the PA legislature in 2012; however, neither of these bills made significant progress in the General Assembly.

The original Pennsylvania Alternative Energy Portfolio Standards Act currently requires Pennsylvania’s electric utilities to obtain eight percent of their power from renewable sources by 2021, and of that eight percent, 0.5 percent of their power must be generated by solar energy systems.

Read the rest of this entry »

Sara Rafalson

Sol Systems to Host Webinar: “Quarterly SREC Roundup: Financing Projects with SRECs”

As SREC prices continue to rise in Washington, DC, how can developers and investors gain access to this promising market? How will the DOER’s potential rule changes affect the Massachusetts SREC market? Will Delaware’s Procurement Program provide relief to their weakened SREC market?

Join our SREC portfolio management team, George Ashton and Amber Rivera, on Wednesday, April 3 at 12:30 PM ET as they discuss the latest market trends in the various SREC states, as well as strategies for financing projects with SRECs. This quarter’s update will include important regulatory changes and price fluctuations in the various SREC markets, including DC, Delaware, and Massachusetts.

Space is limited, so register today.

Read the rest of this entry »

Daniel Watson

Potential Changes to Hawaii’s 35% State Tax Credit

New temporary rules will place restrictions on the ability of developers in Hawaii to claim the 35% state tax credit. The new rules, issued by the Department of Taxation in November of 2012, will be in effect for no longer than 18 months, starting for systems installed on January 1st, 2013 and after. The Hawaiian House of Representatives also recently moved HB 497 to the Senate, a proposal to permanently decrease the tax credit level given to renewable energy developers.

The new structure, under the temporary rules, places a minimum on kilowatt output of PV systems, referred to in the legislation as “other solar systems” or those projects neither for solar thermal nor from wind energy. Single-family residential properties have a minimum of 5 KW per system, multi-family residential properties have a minimum of .360 KW per unit per system, and commercial properties’ systems must have a capacity of 1MW in order to receive the current 35% of costs income tax credit. There is also a cap of $5,000 of credit for residences and $500,000 for commercial enterprises.

Read the rest of this entry »

Amber Rivera

Future of Massachusetts Solar – After the 400 MW Program Cap

Sol Systems met with solar developers, investors, and policymakers to discuss potential changes to the Massachusetts SREC market.

Sol Systems met with solar developers, investors, and policymakers to discuss potential changes to the Massachusetts SREC market.

Investors, developers, SREC aggregators, and other stakeholders in the Massachusetts solar market gathered at the State House today for meetings relating to the state’s RPS Solar Carve-Out Program. The Department of Energy Resources (DOER) sought public comment for two pivotal changes to the solar policy regime currently underway—the establishment of a post-400 MW solar program, and the ongoing rulemaking to address changes to regulation 225 CMR 14.00.

Policymakers noted the success of the Solar Carve-Out program in “aggressively growing solar installation and businesses in Massachusetts”, pointing to the rapid pace at which the state has neared Governor Deval Patrick’s goal of 250 megawatts of solar capacity by 2017. The latest DOER data from this month shows nearly 215 megawatts of solar capacity qualifying for the Solar Carve-Out Program, 195 megawatts of which is already operational. With this pace of growth, everyone is asking, “What will happen to incentives for solar development once current capacity meets the 400 megawatt cap of the Solar Carve-Out Program?”

Read the rest of this entry »

Dan Yonkin

2013 Solar Industry Trends: A Playbook for Tax Credit Investors

Sol Systems’ CEO, Yuri Horwitz, and Dan Yonkin, Director of  Tax Equity, were published in the March 2013 issue of the Novogradac Journal of Tax Credits.

Sol Systems CEO Yuri Horwitz and Director of Tax Equity, Dan Yonkin, were recently published in the Novogradac Journal of Tax Credits.

Sol Systems CEO Yuri Horwitz and Director of Tax Equity, Dan Yonkin, were recently published in the Novogradac Journal of Tax Credits.

 

2013 Solar Industry Trends: A Playbook for Tax Credit Investors

By Dan Yonkin and Yuri Horwitz, Sol Systems

The solar industry continues to promise potential tax-driven investors a growing and stable asset class in which to deploy their capital. However, for new entrants – or even experienced players – continued success in 2013 and beyond requires an intimate understanding of the solar industry and market’s changing topography.

Read the rest of this entry »

Natacha Kiler

March Solar Project Finance Statistics

Every month, Sol Systems distributes a newsletter, the Sol Systems Project Finance Journal, to our community of solar developers and investors. The journal features solar finance statistics, trends, industry news, and SREC market information. We gather this information from our relationships and experience aggregating SRECs and financing commercial and utility scale solar projects.

We have included excerpts from our March Project Finance Journal below. If you have any questions about this information, wish to receive our monthly newsletter via email, or have a solar project in need of seeking financing, please contact our team at info@solmarket.com.  We would love to hear from you.

Read the rest of this entry »

Anna Noucas

Massachusetts DOER Announces Solar Policy Stakeholder Meetings

On February 22, the DOER announced their intent to actively develop policy to maintain the growth of the solar PV market in Massachusetts, beyond the 400 MW cap of the current RPS Solar Carve-Out.  The DOER released a statement Wednesday, March 13  providing further notice to all stakeholders of two public meetings that will take place this Friday, March 22.

At a morning stakeholder meeting, the DOER will unveil the policy objectives and potential changes under consideration for a post-400 MW solar policy in Massachusetts. The meeting will give market participants a chance to provide comments ahead of any final decision on this key policy. A legislative public hearing will follow in the afternoon, to separately address the on-going rulemaking of the 225 CMR 14.00 regulation of the current Solar Carve-Out Program.

Read the rest of this entry »

Daniel Watson

Sol Systems at Infocast Solar Power Finance and Investment Summit 2013

Infocast logo

CEO Yuri Horwitz and CFO George Ashton will be attending the Solar Power Finance and Investment Summit in San Diego, California on March 18-21th. The event will be held in the Rancho Bernado Inn, and will consist of four days of networking and expertise sharing. Yuri will be conducting a tutorial on Monday entitled “Project Economic Viability” detailing the features of project development that generate investment interest from financiers. On the 21st, George will be speaking in a panel discussion on alternative financing models, discussing topics that range from standardization of solar as an asset class to crowd funding. Read the rest of this entry »

Sara Rafalson

Sol Systems Brings New Tax Equity to Solar, Finances 5 MW

Sol Systems successfully placed $15 million in tax equity into two 2.5 MW North Carolina projects on behalf of a Fortune 100 company.  The financing arrangement marks the Fortune 100 company’s first investment in solar and provides the solar industry with a new source of tax equity.

The US solar industry is supported by a 30% investment tax credit that generally requires outside investors with profitable businesses to invest in projects, typically known as tax equity.  Tax equity is currently the most critical limiting factor in solar project development, and has the potential to limit the growth of the industry in the coming years.

Read the rest of this entry »

Daniel Watson

Conference: Emerging Trends in Financing Tax Credit Projects

Sol System’s Director of Tax Equity Dan Yonkin will be attending the Emerging Trends in Financing Tax Credit Project in Las Vegas, Nevada, March 13-15 at the Four Seasons Hotel. The event is hosted by the Institute for Executive and Professional Development (IPED), Inc. and will be attended by top investors and developers looking to enhance their investment and financing opportunities through new and innovative tax credit maneuvers. The conference will have an emphasis on bringing together experienced professionals to highlight the most viable methods of combining multiple tax credits in single portfolios. Read the rest of this entry »

Sara Rafalson

Sol Systems’ Q4 2012 SREC Prices Available Online

At the end of each quarter, Sol Systems takes the weighted average sales of the SRECs from our 3,500+ customers to calculate our final clear prices. These SREC clear prices are then posted to Sol Brokerage page of our website.  Sol Systems publishes our quarterly SREC clear prices in order to help provide transparency to the SREC marketplace for both our Sol Brokerage customers and developers in the solar industry.

As the oldest and largest SREC aggregator in the country, Sol Systems’ portfolio management team leverages our SREC expertise to transact in the SREC market on a daily basis when we see strong opportunities for selling our customers’ SRECs at the highest market values.

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Victoria Ngare

Oregon’s Volumetric Incentive Rate and Payment Program (VIR) Announces Next Capacity Release

On April 1st, 2013, Oregon will issue its seventh capacity release for its solar volumetric incentive rate (VIR) payment program, established in June of 2009. The last capacity release featured prices between $0.25/ kWh to $0.41/ kWh for residential and commercial systems, depending on geographic location and size.

Oregon’s VIR is different from other Feed-in-Tariffs (FITs) in that customers can consume the electricity they generate on-site and receive a production based incentive (PBI) for what they generate and consume. The Oregon Public Utility Comission (PUC), in accordance with annual system costs and annual energy output based on geographic regions, determines rates. Customers are paid for each kilowatt-hour (kWh) generated over 15 years.

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Jessica Robbins

Sol Systems is Hiring! Senior Software Engineer

Description:

Sol Systems is seeking a full-time, software engineer to help lead development of our internal business applications.  The ideal candidate would be comfortable working at all levels of the development stack, from server configuration to user interface development.  This role will require significant interaction with non-technical business users; therefore, the ideal candidate would be comfortable working with non-technical business users to gather and refine requirements and ensure user acceptance.

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Jessica Robbins

Sol Systems is Hiring! Director of Project Finance

Position:  Director: Project Finance

Requirements: Sol Systems is seeking a full-time director of project finance to help lead our efforts to source attractive solar projects from our expanding network of developer partners across the US and its territories. The role will require a combination of project finance expertise, solar development experience, written and verbal communication skills, project management capabilities, business development efforts, negotiation skills, and team leadership.  A successful candidate will possess the following skills and attributes:

  1. Experience and expertise in solar project finance, or renewable energy project finance
  2. A working knowledge of the inverted lease, sale lease-back, and partnership-flip structures
  3. Solar project development experience and expertise
  4. A network of developer connections from prior work experience – preference for West Coast experience
  5. Sales experience and expertise
  6. Team leadership experience and expertise
  7. Deadline oriented
  8. Self-Starter, hands-on with attention to detail
  9. Strong communication and interpersonal skills
  10. Ability to learn quickly while maintaining a keen eye for details and staying organized.
  11. Highly proficient with Excel
  12. Knowledgeable in Access – preferred
  13. Write professionally

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Jessica Robbins

Treasury Issues Statement Clarifying the Impact of Sequestration on Section 1603

Previously, Sol Systems has published on the potential impacts of sequestration on the solar industry. As of March 1st, those impacts have unfortunately become reality. On Monday the 4th, the Treasury released a “Message on Sequestration” clarifying its impact on Section 1603 of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Tax Act of 2009, more commonly known as the cash grant for the 30% investment tax credit (ITC). Due to sequestration, 1603 awards will be reduced by 8.7%, a larger cut than the 7.6% we expected to see as of October. The final grant amount for affected projects is now 27.39%, not the full 30% of the ITC.

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Sara Rafalson

Viewpoint: Solar Energy Finance 2013 — Beyond Traditional Tax Equity

By Chris Cather, bluecrab solar (posted for RenewableEnergyWorld.com)

What will solar energy finance in the U.S. look like in 2013?

While the global market forecast for solar is shaping up nicely, the US market is faced with a series of fiscal cliffs, declining natural gas prices, and a post-1603 world with diminishing tax appetite.

Not good news for financing commercial solar projects.

But Yuri Horwitz, founder and CEO of Sol Systems, for one, is optimistic. Yuri is frequently on the speaking circuit at renewable energy finance conferences evangelizing new sources of solar finance in the post-1603 landscape or raising project finance, educating corporate investors on tax investment structures.

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Webinar – Emerging Market Spotlight: New York

Over the last year, New York has emerged as a commercial solar hot spot. Several state and local incentive programs have been adopted or expanded, including the NY-Sun Competitive PV Program (NYSERDA PON 2589) and the Long Island Power Authority’s (LIPA) feed-in tariff. As these incentive programs evolve, what must solar developers and investors do to gain access to this promising market?

Join Sol Systems, NYSEIA, and ACE NY for a webinar discussion on the NY solar market.

Join Sol Systems, NYSEIA, and ACE NY for a webinar discussion on the NY solar market.

Join Sol Systems CEO, Yuri Horwitz, on Wednesday, March 6 at 1:30 PM ET, as he moderates a discussion on the future of the New York solar market, including which types of projects are most likely to be financed and built. The panel of experts includes:

This presentation will be especially helpful for project developers and investors seeking to better understand market dynamics and incentive structures in New York. Developers and investors that wish to learn more about developing solar in New York should contact the Sol Systems team at info@solmarket.com for assistance.

Space is limited, so register today.

About Sol Systems

Sol Systems is a boutique financial services firm that offers investor clients direct access to the renewable energy asset class and provides developers with sophisticated project financing solutions. Founded in 2008, Sol Systems focuses on meeting the most critical needs of the industry, including SREC monetization, capital placement, tax equity, and New Market Tax Credits. 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.

For more information, please visit www.solsystemscompany.com.

William Graves

Investor Preferences, and the Building of Financeable Projects

Bringing a solar project from conception to completion is a difficult task, and many solar projects are never built.  With the expiration of the 1603 Grant Program, developers must rely more heavily on third party financing in order to fund successful project development. In light of this, it is very important that developers are cognizant of investor preferences, and build projects to meet their standards.  Investors value well planned projects, which rely on bankable documents, take advantage of state incentives, are priced competitively, and have appealing economic and risk profiles.

Over the course of the past year, the Sol Systems team has diligenced hundreds of solar projects around the country. We have successfully closed a number of complicated deals, including two projects in North Carolina that leveraged both state tax credits and the federal investment tax credit (ITC), and a 5 MW project in Ohio that utilized new market tax credits (NMTC). We have also financed a number of small, distributed generation projects under 1 MW, which are typically too small for most investor profiles.  With this exposure to a wide variety of projects, which vary greatly in terms of development stage, risk profile, and financing needs, we are able to quickly discern a project’s strengths and weaknesses.

By working closely with our investment partners we have learned what most attracts them to a project. We know what they look for in terms of geographic preference, return hurdle, project size, and overall economic profile, and we are able to advise developers on how to tailor projects to the parameters set forth by investors, and bring these projects to financial close. Outlined below is a list of items to consider to attract investor interest when developing a project.

Projects Based on Bankable Documents

Investors want projects that utilize bankable legal documents, which can save a lot of time, headache, and money when trying to close a project.  Closing delays are often attributed to the review and negotiation of legal documents and may lead to much higher legal fees.  For convenience, Sol Systems offers form legal agreements written by our partner law firm, Cooley LLP, including a template PPA Agreement, EPC Agreement, Mutual NDA, Lease Agreement, and Letter Of Intent.  All of the documents are provided free of charge to our clients and are specifically designed for the construction of solar assets.

Projects Located in Target Markets

By working closely with our investment partners we have learned what most attracts them to a project. We know what they look for in terms of geographic preference, return hurdle, project size, and overall economic profile.

Market selection is another critical consideration and should be carefully researched.  Investors are often looking for projects that take advantage of state incentives, high electricity rates, or some combination of both.  Typically, emerging or recently emerged markets are more lucrative for developers than those markets that are already saturated.  Some key characteristics of target markets are listed below:

  • Markets with High Solar Insolation – States with high solar insolation can boost a project’s return simply because the output of a system per installed kW is higher. These markets include California and Arizona among others.
  • Markets with Feed in Tariffs (FiT) – Rhode Island and Vermont both offer attractive FiT programs.  Projects located in either of these states with feed in tariff contracts receive particularly strong interest from investors due to their strong economics and reduced risk profiles. Additional FiT regimes receiving interest include GRU, LIPA, and LADWP.
  • SREC States – D.C. and Massachusetts both benefit from the best SREC markets in the nation.  Although there is a bit of uncertainty surrounding the price of SRECs in Massachusetts and the strength of the Clearinghouse price floor, projects can still pencil in this state.  Washington D.C. maintains an undersupplied SREC market, leading to high prices (currently ~$330).  However, land and large rooftops are proving hard to find – making sizeable projects difficult to construct.
  • State Level Incentives – Connecticut and New York both maintain lucrative state level incentives.  Connecticut’s ZREC program is also drawing strong interest from our investment partners, and Sol Systems is currently working to aggregate a portfolio of small ZREC projects together for investment.  New York benefits from lucrative NYSERDA grant awards.  NYSERDA grants are particularly attractive because they typically pay out over the first 3 years, giving projects a nice IRR boost.

Low Risk Profile

When assessing a project’s risk profile, investors typically look at a multitude of different factors, but some of the most important include the creditworthiness of the energy offtaker and host, the bankability of the modules and inverters, and the strength of the PPA. As mentioned above, the PPA should be a bankable legal contract and should reflect industry standard terms. With regard to the offtaker, investors typically look for a credit rating of BBB- (by Standard and Poor’s) or higher. If the offtaker is not a rated entity, the investor will need to review at least 3 years of financials to determine the strength of the offtaker. If the offtaker and the host are separate entities, the credit requirements are typically less stringent, but still important, as the host is the counterparty on the lease agreement.

Module and inverter bankability is another important aspect of the risk profile. Modules should be “Tier 1” – it’s best not to skimp on product quality and warranty strength to save a few cents per watt. Investors like to see projects using bankable modules and components.

Competitively Priced

Projects with well managed cost structures and competitive pricing are typically very attractive to investors. A project’s overall cost structure is comprised of EPC cost, developer fee, site control cost, O&M and insurance expenses, and applicable taxes. We have seen a continual fall in EPC cost, and are now seeing a range from around $2.10 to $2.80 per watt. These numbers are, of course, dependent on the size of the project and location. Developer fees typically range from 10%-15% of total project cost, but this number varies with project quality and stage of development.

Developers should manage site control costs and tax expenses to the best of their ability as well. We recommend that site control costs not exceed 10% of gross annual revenue. With regard to insurance and O&M expenses, Sol Systems typically factors in around $25/kW per year, which is more or less the current rate at this time.

Attractive Economic Profile

The overall economic profile of a project is comprised of essentially 3 components: a project’s revenue stream (including incentives), CAPEX, and OPEX.  Taking these factors into account, investors typically look for an IRR between 9% and 11%.  We are currently working with investors with IRR hurdles as low as 8% and as high as 20%. Keep in mind that these investors are looking for projects with very diverse economic and risk profiles, and in different stages of development.  A project should balance costs and revenue streams so that it can stay as competitive as possible.  

Conclusion

When building a project, be sure to utilize bankable documents, make the project competitive, both in terms of revenue and costs, and stay mindful of the project’s overall economic and risk profile. These are the projects that garner the most investor attention and are ultimately financed and built.

For additional information on this topic, please listen to our webinar titled “Investor Preferences: Key Solar Project Traits that Lead to Successful Financing” presented by Sol Systems’ CEO, Yuri Horwitz, and SunEdison founder, Jigar Shah, on our SolMarket website.

If you have a project and are seeking financing or would like more information on our company, please contact our team at info@solmarket.com or (888) 235-1538 x2.  Our team would be happy to discuss your project with you and assess financing opportunities.

About Sol Systems

Sol Systems is a boutique financial services firm that offers investor clients direct access to the renewable energy asset class and provides developers with sophisticated project financing solutions. Founded in 2008, Sol Systems focuses on meeting the most critical needs of the industry, including SREC monetization, capital placement, tax equity, and New Market Tax Credits. 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.

For more information about Sol Systems, please visit www.solmarket.com.

Sara Rafalson

February Solar Project Finance Statistics

Every month, Sol Systems distributes a newsletter, the SolMarket Project Finance Journal, to our community of solar developers and investors. The journal features solar finance statistics, trends, industry news, and SREC market information. We gather this information from our relationships and experience aggregating SRECs and financing commercial and utility scale solar projects.

We have included excerpts from our February Project Finance Journal below. If you have any questions about this information, wish to receive our monthly newsletter via email, or have a solar project in need of seeking financing, please contact our team at info@solmarket.com.  We would love to hear from you.

Project Finance Statistics

Characteristics of “Hot Projects”

Capacity: 149 kW – 4.25 MW

Average capacity: 1,600 kW

Competitive EPC costs currently range between $2.15-$2.80/Watt

*Competitive prices depend on scale, location, and individual project economics

  • <500 kW: $2.40-$2.80/ W
  • 500 kW – 2 MW: $2.25-$2.65/ W
  • >2 MW: $2.15-$2.45/ W

PPA rates:

  • DE:  9.9 cents/ kWh (20 year term; 2% escalator)
  • MA: 8.6 cents/ kWh (20 year term; 1.5% escalator)
  • NY: 9 cents/ kWh (15 year term; no escalator)

Feed-In Tariff rates:

  • CA: 17 cents/ kWh (20 year term; no escalator)
  • FL: 29 cents/ kWh (20 year term; no escalator)
  • NY: 22 cents/ kWh (20-year term; no escalator)
  • RI: 32.2 cents/ kWh (15 year term; no escalator)

Recently Funded Projects

Cumulative capacity: 11.8 MW

Cumulative value: $38.7 million

Locations:   IN, NC, OH

Trends and Observations

Lean and Mean: Solar Project Margins Are Thin & Programs Are Competitive

It is no surprise that the economics of solar deals are changing, and in many cases, becoming more challenging.  Even after solar project developers have secured state incentives, project margins are thinning, and it is increasingly difficult for developers to ensure that project economics pencil for investor partners.  Solar developers effectively have two clients: (1) their host entity or lessee and (2) their investor.  The changing dynamics in the solar market mean that it is more important than ever for developers to focus on their financing partners needs and requirements.  This means that developers must:

  • Negotiate high PPA rates
  • Minimize site lease costs
  • Procure and utilitze financeable power purchase agreements and leases
  • Build flexibility into their offtake agreements so that they can make changes for investor partners when necessary
  • Procure the most recent and most competitive EPC quotes
  • Reduce property taxes and other cost centers that reduce project returns

The presence of state and regional incentives continues to play a pivotal role in determining which projects get financed. Subsequently, local incentive programs are typically competitive and oversubscribed. While it should go without saying, it is not enough to bid low and queue up for local incentives. Developers must ensure that they are bidding into programs in ways that allow them to build and finance the projects.  In other words, developers need to model project costs accurately so that the incentives align with other project costs and income streams, as well as provide sufficient cash flows for equity investors.  Ultimately, they have to balance these strategies with their own financial hurdles and embedded costs.

Given our experience with multiple investor clients, we suggest that sufficient cash flows typically mean a 20 year IRR of 11-12 percent or higher for smaller projects, and 9-10% or higher for 2 MW+ projects.  The smaller and more complex the transaction, the higher the required return.  Additionally,  developers’ models are likely to differ from that of your investor, which is why developers should accurately consider the same upfront costs and ongoing expenses that an investor incorporates into their model. Our team is intimately familiar with our investor clients’ models, and we recommend communicating with us as you consider project economics.

Manufacturers Getting Creative to Find Channels for Panels

With a glut of solar modules in the market and fewer developers warehousing panels, we have seen virtually all major panel suppliers become more creative in their efforts to procure sales channels.  In addition to partnering with and acquiring downstream solar players, we have seen module manufacturers attempt to secure direct relationships with hosts before a developer is involved, or provide developers with construction financing in exchange for a commitment to use their panels.

Manufacturers’ credit and reputation will certainly play a role in whether or not projects ultimately obtain take-out financing, but only time will tell which manufacturers’ efforts are the most successful.

The Sol Systems team welcomes and encourages all creative ideas that lead to successful project development, and we are in discussions with a number of manufacturers to facilitate project finance opportunities.

Sol Systems Call for Projects 50 kW – 2 MW

We are actively seeking solar projects 50 kW -2 MW in size.  Our investors are looking to close deals by the end of March 2013. Please contact Sol Systems as soon as possible if you have projects that meet the following criteria:

  • Rooftop, ground-mount, or carport
  • Located in California, Connecticut, D.C., Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Mexico, New York, or Rhode Island
  • To be placed in service prior to September 1, 2013
  • Rated SREC contracts for D.C., Maryland, and Massachusetts preferred, but not required; Sol Systems’ investors will take on SREC risk

Of course, we are always interested to hear about solid projects, even if the project does not meet all of our above criteria. Please contact our team to discuss financing options for any of the projects in your pipeline.

Priority consideration will be given to developers with a proven track record of success and who have demonstrated progress on site control, interconnection, and permitting.  Learn more.

SREC Roundup

This month, Sol Systems increased pricing for Sol Annuity fixed price SREC contracts for systems certified within Washington, DC. The pricing increase was largely attributed to the aggressive change in the RPS requirement, which was amended in the summer of 2011 with the help of Sol Systems’ efforts. If you are interested in our Sol Brokerage clear prices and price movements on the spot market, please view our SREC clear prices, which are updated quarterly.
Sol Systems also offers its network the opportunity to view historic SREC marks and model future pricing using their own market assumptions.  To utilize our SREC supply and demand model, please view our SREC Analytics tool.

About Sol Systems

Sol Systems is a boutique financial services firm that offers investor clients direct access to the renewable energy asset class and provides developers with sophisticated project financing solutions. Founded in 2008, Sol Systems focuses on meeting the most critical needs of the industry, including SREC monetization, capital placement, tax equity, and New Market Tax Credits. 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.

For more information, please visit www.solsystemscompany.com.