The Future Of Solar Is Uncertain – At least at the utility level

Not much to say about this. Conference summaries are always difficult to interpret. You miss all the personal conversations, updates, and sense of the future. Still it is a snapshot.

Utility-Scale PV Developers Confront Future of Solar Project Business

They want the “doable renewables.”

Herman K. Trabish: November 1, 2012

Building utility-scale PV solar projects is getting tougher. Greentech Media’s U.S. Solar Market Insight conference concluded with a discussion between experienced developers about the challenges and opportunities.

Moderator and GTM Research Senior Analyst Shyam Mehta asked them to first review the last year.

“In summer of last year, the IOUs issued RFPs, the first in over two years,” 8minutenergy CEO Martin Hermann recalled. “More than 70,000 megawatts of applications were submitted. They shortlisted about 2,500 megawatts.”

The ISO queue has dropped from 80,000 megawatts to 50,000 megawatts and utilities are “looking very diligently to see if there are any show stoppers” before signing contracts. In this “tough competition for PPAs,” Hermann said, developers are “monetizing or cancelling their portfolios.”

In three years, explained SunEdison (NYSE:WFR) General Manager Attila Toth, the U.S. solar market will be 50 percent distributed generation and 50 percent utility scale projects. But about 85 percent of the 3.5 gigawatts to 3.8 gigawatts of utility projects “is already spoken for, in the queues and has company’s names written on it. There is a very limited opportunity in the utility segment.”


Go there and read. More next week.


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