The solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC) is one of the most important federal policy mechanisms to support the deployment of solar energy in the United States.  The ITC continues to drive growth in the industry and thereby job creation across the country.  The ITC is a 30 percent tax credit for solar systems on residential (under Section 25D) and commercial (under Section 48) properties.

The existence of the ITC through 2021 provides market certainty for companies to develop long-term investments that drive competition and technological innovation, which in turn, lowers costs for consumers.  The ITC is based on the amount of investment in solar property.  Both the residential and commercial ITC are equal to 30 percent of the basis that is invested in eligible property which has commenced construction through 2019.  The ITC then steps down to 26 percent in 2020 and 22 percent in 2021.  After 2021, the residential credit will drop to zero while the commercial and utility credit will drop to a permanent 10 percent.

The residential and commercial solar ITC has helped annual solar installation grow by over 1,600 percent since the ITC was implemented in 2006, which represents a compound annual growth rate of 76 percent.  According to the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), solar installations increased 30% in 2014, thanks partly to cheaper photovoltaic panels (according to GTM Research).  Solar proponents note that the solar industry employs more than twice as many U.S. workers as coal mining and has added jobs 20 times faster than the rest of the economy. Additionally, approximately 27 gigawatts of solar energy were installed in the US in 2015 with installations expected to reach nearly 100 gigawatts by the end of 2020.

The 30% investment tax credit is paying dividends for America.  Solar is growing faster than any other domestic energy source as prices continue to plummet, even beating out coal and cheap natural gas in some markets.  The solar industry created one in 78 of our country’s new jobs last year while providing living-wage salaries for more than 200,000 Americans.

Moreover, the roughly 210,000 Americans currently employed in solar is expected to double to 420,000 in the same time period, all this while spurring roughly $140 billion in economic activity.  The continued success of the ITC demonstrates that stable, long-term federal tax incentives can drive economic growth while reducing prices and creating jobs in one of America’s fastest-growing industries.

Many supporters say the abrupt end date of the 30% credit represents a “cliff” for the industry.  Without the current incentive, they argue, installation of solar-power systems will plummet, and thousands of jobs in the industry will be lost as a result.  However, others argue that the “cliff” isn’t as steep as it appears, and that solar will continue to grow even without the 30% credit—albeit not as quickly as before.

Can the solar industry survive without the current credit?

According to Energy Information Administration data in 2015 (when the ITC was scheduled to expire at the end of 2016), if the 30% credit was not extended, rooftop solar photovoltaic installations would plunge 94% in 2017 from a year earlier and utility-scale projects would decline 100%, with neither recovering anywhere close to today’s levels even a decade from now.  Bloomberg predicted solar installations would drop by two-thirds in 2017, which the Solar Energy Industries Association estimate would cost America 100,000 jobs.

The ITC provided certainty in the business model.  The multiyear assurance provided by the eight-year (2008 thru 2016) 30% credit leveraged billions in new high-tech innovation and project development, lowered risks to allow startups to launch new products and services, and resulted in tens of millions of panels installed across America.

According to the Natural Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), the elimination of the ITC would not impact the industry growth because financiers, not developers, grab about half of the tax credit.  The credit has proved an essential financing mechanism to getting solar built, even though some projects rely on complex tax-equity structures to monetize the credit.

Optimists also speculate that it will get easier for people to finance solar systems themselves with loans if the credit goes away.  The residential solar market is shifting to more self-financing, but rising prices in the absence of the credit could make solar uneconomical and scare off buyers.  The lack of a credit will also make it harder for utility-scale projects, which account for most solar investment dollars, to compete for scarce capital and against more carbon-intensive generation alternatives.

A study from Bloomberg estimates that the loss of the tax credit will cause solar capacity to only quadruple, instead of quintuple, by 2022, which is still a substantial increase.  A Wall Street Journal analysis reinforces this assessment.  In 22 states, at least one gigawatt of solar (and often much more) could be installed at a comparable cost to retail electricity prices by 2017, tax credit not included.

So why are the grimmer predictions about the future of solar incorrect?  For starters, the cliff that people talk about is smaller than it appears.  Most folks with solar on their rooftop used a third-party lease or power-purchase contract.  That third party took on much of the financial risk and the responsibility for redeeming the 30% tax credit.  These financial middlemen have absorbed nearly half of the tax credit, and as a result, solar developers and customers have received an effective discount of 15% instead of 30%.  So the current incentive isn’t as big as it looks, and the effect of losing the incentive won’t be as severe as many think.

What’s more, the change to the tax credit will open up new options for financing.  Solar energy’s low risk and steady returns are attracting new investors whose profit expectations are much lower than many currently participating in solar financing.  Additionally, solar securitizations are becoming more widely utilized, attracting new institutional investors.

If the change in the tax credit opens the door to more sizable, low-margin investors that offer a discounted cost of debt and equity for solar projects, The Wall Street Journal estimates that the net cost of solar would rise just 2.5% with the loss of the tax credit.

The change to the credit may also drive prospective solar clients, with decent credit, from leasing to lower-cost self-financing.  With less paperwork to file, the relatively lower costs and higher returns of ownership become more evident.

A November 2014 pro forma analysis by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory suggests that self-financing lowers the cost of solar by 23% for residential customers and 87% for commercial customers.

It’s easy to assume that losing the federal tax credit is nothing but a 30% cut in the growth potential for solar energy.  But this ignores several countervailing forces, from the middlemen’s current cut to falling costs to the advent of low-cost financing.  Even though coal and gas retain subsidies like heavily socialized pollution costs, solar doesn’t need the federal tax incentive to compete.  Instead, the market provides several ways to glide over the solar tax cliff.

Comparison of costs

A comparison of the cost per KWH for solar and existing electricity is as follows:

  1. Non-renewable retail residential electricity rates per kWh have increased about 4% on average (Nov 2005 thru Nov 2014), per year, over the last 10 years. According to the Energy Information Administration, residential electricity rates have increased nationally by around 30% in the last 10 years – from about 9¢ per kilowatt-hour (kWh) in 2005 to about 13¢/kWh in 2014.
  2. Natural gas prices are expected to increase, as a result of higher anticipated infrastructure costs.
  3. Coal-fired electricity will continue to rise.
  4. Solar rates per kWh have decreased from approximately $.071 in 2009, to $.050 in 2015.

The cost of renewable energy is decreasing, while the cost of traditional non-renewable energy sources is increasing.  However, the existing electrical grid is designed for continuous energy flow and is not designed to “store” any excess electricity.  If a new grid was to be built today, it would bear little resemblance to the existing system.  The United States electrical grid is wearing out.  Depreciation expense exceeds new investment.

Costs of generation, both fixed and variable are rising.  Costs of transmission and distribution are rising.  The costs of doing business are rising.  On the other hand, utility revenues from energy sales are declining as a result of conservation, energy efficiency, distributed generation and competition.  Utilities generally collect a majority of their revenue through charges for energy usage, a variable quantity, yet the majority of their costs are due to capacity, a fixed quantity that doesn’t diminish with diminished energy consumption.  Traditional approaches to rate design are no longer sufficient.  Simply raising rates to overcome declining revenues only increases the incentive for customers and competitors to further displace purchases from their utility.

According to Philip Moeller, a member of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission,  “We are now in an era of rising electricity prices”,  the steady reduction in generating capacity across the nation means that prices are headed up.  “If you take enough supply out of the system, the price is going to increase”.

In fact, the price of electricity has already been rising over the last decade, jumping by double digits in many states, even after accounting for inflation.  In California, residential electricity prices shot up 30% between 2006 and 2012, adjusted for inflation, according to Energy Department figures.  Experts in the state’s energy markets project the price could jump an additional 47% over the next 15 years.

New investment has diminished:

  1. Growth in consumption has slowed since 1973
  2. Environmental and other concerns restrict construction of new facilities
  3. Utility companies now incur significant risk of not recovering all their costs much less a reasonable return on investment.

Other factors to consider

A key development and new concept is the “grid edge”.  As further discussed herein, the most important and impactful developments in the electric utility industry in the foreseeable future will be at the distribution edges of the grid, many if not most on the customers’ sides of the meter.  This means tremendous challenges for electric distribution utilities, but at the same time fantastic opportunities to bring a new and better world to their consumers and communities.

The key to the success in renewable energy sources is the development of a new grid system, which provided the following:

  1. Distributed generation and storage
  2. Two-way power flow
  3. Microgrids

The problems confronting the electricity system are the result of a wide range of forces: new federal regulations on toxic emissions, rules on greenhouse gases, state mandates for renewable power, technical problems at nuclear power plants and unpredictable price trends for natural gas.  Even cheap hydro power is declining in some areas, particularly California, owing to the long-lasting drought.

New emissions rules on mercury, acid gases and other toxics by the Environmental Protection Agency are expected to result in significant losses of the nation’s coal-generated power, historically the largest and cheapest source of electricity.  Already, two dozen coal generating units across the country are scheduled for decommissioning.  When the regulations go into effect next year, 60 gigawatts of capacity — equivalent to the output of 60 nuclear reactors — will be taken out of the system, according to Energy Department estimates.

Moeller, warns that these rapid changes are eroding the system’s ability to handle unexpected upsets, such as the polar vortex, and could result in brownouts or even blackouts in some regions as early as next year.  He doesn’t argue against the changes, but believes they are being phased in too quickly.

The federal government appears to have underestimated the impact as well.  An Environmental Protection Agency analysis in 2011 had asserted that new regulations would cause few coal plant retirements.  The forecast on coal plants turned out wrong almost immediately, as utilities decided it wasn’t economical to upgrade their plants and scheduled them for decommissioning.

The lost coal-generating capacity is being replaced largely with cleaner natural gas, but the result is that electricity prices are linked to a fuel that has been far more volatile in price than coal.  The price of natural gas now stands at about $4.50 per million BTUs, more expensive than coal.  Plans to export massive amounts of liquefied natural gas, the rapid construction of gas-fired power plants and the growing trend to convert the U.S. heavy truck fleet to natural gas could exert even more upward pressure on prices.  Malcolm Johnson, a former Shell Oil gas executive who now teaches the Oxford Princeton Program, a private energy training company, said prices could move toward European price levels of $10.

The loss of coal is being exacerbated by problems at the nation’s nuclear plants. Five reactors have been taken out of operation in the last few years, mainly due to technical problems.  Additional shutdowns are under consideration.

At the same time, 30 states have mandates for renewable energy that will require the use of more expensive wind and solar energy.  Since those sources depend on the weather, they require backup generation — a hidden factor that can add significantly to the overall cost to consumers.

Nowhere are the forces more in play than in California, which has the nation’s most aggressive mandate for renewable power. Major utilities must obtain 33% of their power from renewable sources by 2020, not counting low-cost hydropower from giant dams in the Sierra Nevada mountains.

In some cases, the renewable power costs as much as twice the price of electricity from new gas-fired power plants. Newer facilities are more competitive and improved technology should hold down future electricity prices, said former FERC Chairman Jon Wellinghoff, now a San Francisco attorney.

But San Francisco-based Energy + Environmental Economics, a respected consultant, has projected that the cost of California’s electricity is likely to increase 47% over the next 16 years, adjusted for inflation, in part because of the renewable power mandate and heavy investments in transmission lines.

The mandate is just one market force. California has all but phased out coal-generated electricity. The state lost the output of San Onofre’s two nuclear reactors and is facing the shutdown of 19 gas-fired power plants along the coast because of new state-imposed ocean water rules by 2020.

“Our rates are increasing because of all of these changes that are occurring and will continue to occur as far out as we can see,” said Phil Leiber, chief financial officer of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power. “Renewable power has merit, but unfortunately it is more costly and is one of the drivers of our rates.”

“While renewables are coming down in cost, they are still more expensive,” said Russell Garwacki, manager of pricing design and research at Southern California Edison. The company is imposing a 10% price hike this year to catch up with increased costs in the past.

Officials at the California Public Utilities Commission, responsible for setting utility rates, dispute predictions of large-scale electricity price hikes in the near future.  Edward Randolph, head of the PUC’s energy division, said price increases were not likely to exceed the rate of inflation, though the commission has refused to spell out the data on which it bases its projections.  In any case, while California already has some of the highest hourly rates for electricity in the nation, the average consumer in the state pays bills that are below the national average because overall electricity use is so low.

The push to wean California off fossil fuels for electricity could cause a consumer backlash as the price for doing so becomes increasingly apparent, warns Alex Leupp, an executive with the Northern California Power Agency, a nonprofit that generates low-cost power for 15 agencies across the state.  The nonprofit was formed decades ago during a rebellion against the PUC and the high prices that resulted from its regulations.  “If power gets too expensive, there will be a revolt,” Leupp said. “If the state pushes too fast on renewables before the technology is viable, it could set back the environmental goals we all believe in at the end of the day.”

Conclusion

The solar industry will be economically viable without the ITC.  However, the planned growth would not be as dynamic.  Perhaps this is a good thing as the current grid system is not able to absorb this growth.  If you consider the increasing costs of energy as detailed above, perhaps the ITC could be used as an incentive to fund rebuilding the current grid system focusing on storage, sensors, meters and smart technology.  Hence, the ITC is important in terms of financing future development.

About Sustainable Capital Finance:  Sustainable Capital Finance (SCF) is a third party financier & owner/operator of commercial & industrial (C&I) solar assets and is comprised of experts that specialize in structured finance and solar development. SCF has a vast network of EPCs and Developers across the US that submit project development opportunities through SCF’s cloud-based platform, the “SCF Suite”. This allows SCF to acquire and develop early to mid-stage C&I solar projects, while aggregating them into large portfolios.

SCF has standardized the diligence and transaction process, thus creating cost-efficiencies and risk mitigation, in order to solidify the C&I marketplace as an investment-worthy asset class. For more information, visit http://www.scf.com. Connect with us on Twitter at @SCF_News and follow us on Linkedin and Facebook!

 

10 Nov 2017
November 10, 2017

The Sun is Shining on Illinois

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One might say that the Midwestern region of the USA has been slow to adopt solar and other renewable energy sources… not because of a lack of sun, but due to the inherently low price of electricity in this region. This is largely a result of the natural gas fracking boom starting in the early 2000’s. A multitude of factors, namely the cost effectiveness of solar & customer preference, have led to legislative changes that promote the growth of renewables. No Midwestern state has positioned itself to achieve a lofty energy paradigm shift more so than Illinois, when the Commerce Commission passed the Energy Infrastructure Modernization Act (EIMA) in 2011.

EIMA has provided $3.2 billion for grid modernization, in addition to a significant investment into smart meters with a goal of installing more than two million new meters by the end of 2018. Smart meters provide much more accurate data, reducing the need to estimate usage for utility bills. In addition, service activation and efficiency improvements are all made easier through the use of smart meters, versus traditional metering devices.

Through the grid modernization process, EIMA established the framework and the data acquisition tools needed for future programs to be successful, particularly the Future Energy Jobs Act (FEJA), established in 2016.

FEJA is perhaps the most critical piece of legislation pertaining to energy & grid modernization to ever come out of the Midwest. There were 3 major focuses that FEJA attempted to address:

  • Stimulating job creation within renewables, energy efficiency, & grid modernization
  • Statewide energy efficiency improvements:
    •  Illinois’ current goal is to reduce demand by 13%-17% across the two major utilities (ComEd & Ameren) by 2025
    • Loftier goals have been set for 2030 (in the range of 16-21.5%)
  • Significant improvement to the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS):
    •  RPS Goal is to have 25% of electricity generated by renewable sources by 2025
    • Shift in REC program to encourage solar deployment (previously wind-centric)
    •  4 million Renewable Energy Credits (RECs) for 1.3 GW of wind projects
    • 4 million RECS for 3 GW of solar projects
      •  Specific carve-outs for utility scale, brownfield development, as well as residential solar projects

Delving further into the RPS program, FEJA helped establish the Adjustable Block (AB) Program. State RECs have traditionally been able to fluctuate in value due to market trends and policy changes. However, through learned experience of other REC markets, the Illinois IPA adopted a modern approach, guaranteeing 15-year fixed-price contracts under the AB program. From a financing perspective, this is a huge win due to the strengthened bankability of these RECs. Now locked into long-term contracts, these RECs can be effectively utilized to drive down the cost of solar to make it much more competitive with traditional energy sources.

New projects energized on or after June 1st 2017 by pre-approved developers, are eligible to participate in the AB program with each block anticipated to be 22 MW in size. Between each block there will be a 4% decline in the value of RECs, so for those looking to maximize the REC values, it is important to be ready to apply once the program opens.

The Timeline:
The AB program is still being finalized and is open to comment until November 13th 2017. It is anticipated that the Illinois Commerce Commission will issue an order confirming or modifying the AB program by April 3rd 2018. The first block of the AB program will have a soft closing, meaning that every project that applies for the program in the first 60 days of commencement will be locked in to the Block 1 prices, regardless if the block’s assigned capacity is filled.

If you’re a solar developer, installer, or are just looking to learn more about the Illinois solar market and how SCF plans on participating in the AB program, please don’t hesitate to reach out to Joel Binstock of SCF, @ jbinstock@scf.com.


About Sustainable Capital Finance:  Sustainable Capital Finance (SCF) is a third party financier & owner/operator of commercial & industrial (C&I) solar assets and is comprised of experts that specialize in structured finance and solar development. SCF has a vast network of EPCs and Developers across the US that submit project development opportunities through SCF’s cloud-based platform, the “SCF Suite”. This allows SCF to acquire and develop early to mid-stage C&I solar projects, while aggregating them into large portfolios.

SCF has standardized the diligence and transaction process, thus creating cost-efficiencies and risk mitigation, in order to solidify the C&I marketplace as an investment-worthy asset class. For more information, visit http://www.scf.com. Connect with us on Twitter at @SCF_News and follow us on Linkedin and Facebook!

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Each solar financing company has its own set of guidelines when financing solar installations with PPAs. At SCF, we’ve methodically standardized the financing process despite the inconsistencies across different states. Here are four things EPCs and Developers should know about PPAs. Following this guide will allow for a streamlined commercial solar financing process.

  1. Complete Financials – Three years of audited off-taker financials with organized income statement, balance sheet, and notes are crucial in underwriting the project. Unaudited financials and tax returns often do not have enough information for a complete analysis. A complete picture of an off-taker’s financials is needed in order to quantify the risk of default and ultimately price the project. When it comes to financials, more information is always welcome.
  2. Standard PPA Forms – SCF has modified the Standardized Solar Access to Public Capital (SAPC) PPA form, and adopted it as its PPA. Utilizing SCF’s form PPA will allow for better pricing and quicker financing by focusing review on (hopefully!) a few redlines from counter parties. Additionally, SCF’s form PPA is integrated within the SCF Suite, which is its proprietary software used to compile all necessary agreements and diligence items. Using the Suite creates a standard transaction flow for each project and allows efficiencies to be realized throughout the diligence and construction process.
  3. Minimum Project Sizes – One should know the minimum project size for their financing partner. SCF’s minimum project size is 100 kW; a relatively small number compared to the marketplace. SCF has reduced its soft costs in order to finance smaller commercial projects that have historically been leases or cash deals. Systems smaller than 100 kW typically can’t overcome the soft costs including real estate, underwriting and legal costs. SCF is also equipped to transact projects as large as 20 MW. SCF’s Quick Quote is a great way to see if a project meets SCF’s minimum requirements.
  4. State Regulations – Each state has different laws regarding renewable energy and many states have ambiguous laws that are constantly changing. Some states, such as Florida, are in the midst of legal battles to allow third party ownership of solar projects. Currently, Georgia, Kentucky, North Carolina, and Oklahoma don’t allow PPAs. In states such as Arizona, PPAs are not allowed, but Solar Services Agreements (SSAs) are permitted. SCF has experience with SSAs and can guide you to the right financing solution in your state. Despite the current political climate, most states have gravitated towards legislation that is pro renewable energy.

About Sustainable Capital Finance:  Sustainable Capital Finance (SCF) is a third party financier & owner/operator of commercial & industrial (C&I) solar assets and is comprised of experts that specialize in structured finance and solar development. SCF has a vast network of EPCs and Developers across the US that submit project development opportunities through SCF’s cloud-based platform, the “SCF Suite”. This allows SCF to acquire and develop early to mid-stage C&I solar projects, while aggregating them into large portfolios.

SCF has standardized the diligence and transaction process, thus creating cost-efficiencies and risk mitigation, in order to solidify the C&I marketplace as an investment-worthy asset class. For more information, visit http://www.scf.com. Connect with us on Twitter at @SCF_News and follow us on Linkedin and Facebook!

Photo Credit: WCS

The 4th annual Women in Cleantech Talks takes place Saturday, November 4th, 2018 at the Google campus in Mountain View. 2016 was the first year that SCF was represented at the event, and the company is looking forward to another insightful day filled with speakers from various clean tech companies across the nation.

The Ted Talk-style event hosts industry leaders from companies such as Google, Namaste Solar, oPower, and Levi Strauss & Co. Each speaker spends roughly 15 minutes on topics including personal experiences, industry news and trending clean tech topics. This year’s highlighted  talks include: Making Demand Response Fun, Cities in the Circular Economy: The Role of Digital Technology, and What California’s Climate Change Investments Mean For Your Business.  The full day event ends with a happy hour and networking. To purchase your tickets for the event click here.

Photo Credit: WCS

The Women in Cleantech and Sustainability group regularly hosts events across the Bay Area that focuses on the advancement and retention of women in the Cleantech industry.  SCF’s Maggie Parkhurst is an active member of the group and recently participated in their mentorship program. If you are interested in meeting with Maggie at the event to learn more about SCF, she can be reached at Mparkhurst@scf.com

You can find a full listing of Women in Cleantech’s upcoming events here: http://www.womencleantechsustainability.org/events.html

About Sustainable Capital Finance:  Sustainable Capital Finance (SCF) is a third party financier & owner/operator of commercial & industrial (C&I) solar assets and is comprised of experts that specialize in structured finance and solar development. SCF has a vast network of EPCs and Developers across the US that submit project development opportunities through SCF’s cloud-based platform, the “SCF Suite”. This allows SCF to acquire and develop early to mid-stage C&I solar projects, while aggregating them into large portfolios.

SCF has standardized the diligence and transaction process, thus creating cost-efficiencies and risk mitigation, in order to solidify the C&I marketplace as an investment-worthy asset class. For more information, visit http://www.scf.com. Connect with us on Twitter at @SCF_News and follow us on Linkedin and Facebook!

19 Oct 2017
October 19, 2017

October Industry News

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Regulatory News

DOE Baseload Power Plant Cost-Recovery Proposal to FERC

Earlier this month, the DoE proposed cost-recovery provisions for baseload power plants helping keep nuclear and coal power plants online as they struggle with high operating costs while simultaneously competing with cheap natural gas and increasingly cheaper renewable energy resources. The FERC will take appropriate action within the timeframe established by the DOE with initial comments due by October 23rd. Robert Powelson, FERC Commissioner, criticized the DOE proposal decrying that this NOPR rule would destroy wholesale power markets.

USEPA (Pruitt) Repealing Clean Power Plan (Obama)

On October 10th 2017, US EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt signed a proposal to repeal the Clean Power Plan, a rule established during the Obama administration attempting to corral carbon emission from the power sector. Pruitt did not suggest a replacement policy, but merely asked the industry to craft an updated carbon rule. Pruitt’s focus would be on internal improvements to coal-based power generation vs requiring utilities to offset their carbon emissions through Renewable Energy Credits (RECS).

Section 201 Ruling

The Suniva trade dispute began when America’s biggest PV panel manufacturer Suniva filed an ill-advised petition with the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) on April 26, 2017. Two of our team members wrote an industry analysis on the topic. Read More Here!

 

Utility News

The Domestic Coal Fleet Continues Towards Retirement

As the DOE, EPA, and FERC all deal with the policies behind coal-based generation, the economics are becoming increasingly challenging for Coal plants to compete with other generation sources. A report by the Union of Concerned Scientists disclosed that roughly 25% of all remaining coal plants are expected to close or convert to natural gas. An additional 17% are at risk for early retirement due to natural gas generation. Many more will struggle to compete if there are changes in fuel or operating costs. From 2008 to 2016, the coal component of the US generation portfolio went from 51% to 31% mostly due to market forces (affordability of natural gas & renewable energy resources). A real-time example of this is with Luminant, a power generation business, that plans to retire it’s coal-fired plant in Monticello, Texas in January due to market economics, not environmental regulations.

 

Technology News

Microsoft continues advancing its renewable portfolio

Microsoft agreed to support a wind project in Ireland that will be the first European wind farm to integrate batteries into each turbine. The technology giant entered into a 15 year power purchase agreement (PPA) with GE to purchase all the generation from the 37 MW Tullahennel wind farm.

Bridgestone World Solar Challenge

Since its inception 30 years ago, the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge has been pushing the needle on cars powered exclusively from solar power. Originally in 1987, the solar arrays that were used were allowed to be 8 sq meters. In 2007 that size was reduced down to 6 sq meters and this year’s race has an even more stringent requirement of 4 sq meters. Only 30% of teams complete the journey and this year’s challenge is ramping up to be the toughest yet. The first place teams are expected to complete the journey from Darwin to Adelade, Australia (1,864 miles) on Friday October 13th.

Green Charge Announces Largest Energy Storage Project yet with New Financing Model

Green Charge, an energy storage solutions provider & subsidiary of Engie, an international power producer, recently announced a 3 MW–6 MWh energy storage project in Massachusetts that is expected to go online in April 2018. The project utilizes the investment tax credit by charging from the Mt. Tom Solar plant that Engie built earlier in 2017. The storage system will be owned by PNC Bank and leased back to Green Charge who will operate it on behalf of Holyoke Gas & Electric, its municipal utility customer. Green Tech Media notes that Bank interest in owning energy storage systems is nascent and bodes well for the future of financing for these types of energy solutions.

About Sustainable Capital Finance:  Sustainable Capital Finance (SCF) is a third party financier & owner/operator of commercial & industrial (C&I) solar assets and is comprised of experts that specialize in structured finance and solar development. SCF has a vast network of EPCs and Developers across the US that submit project development opportunities through SCF’s cloud-based platform, the “SCF Suite”. This allows SCF to acquire and develop early to mid-stage C&I solar projects, while aggregating them into large portfolios.

SCF has standardized the diligence and transaction process, thus creating cost-efficiencies and risk mitigation, in order to solidify the C&I marketplace as an investment-worthy asset class. For more information, visit http://www.scf.com. Connect with us on Twitter at @SCF_News and follow us on Linkedin and Facebook!