ORIGINAL REPORTING: New solar initiatives could open business-utility collaborations
New solar industry initiatives could open business-utility collaborations; A 2017 spike in commercial and industrial solar growth will not last, but industry efforts to educate property owners and offer better financing could be good for businesses and utilities.
Herman K. Trabish, June 7, 2018 (Utility Dive)
Editor’s note: Commercial-industrial solar has again been, in 2018, a driving force in the face of otherwise flattening growth.
The growth of solar on the U.S. power system is slowing. It has not lost its customer appeal or its importance in the climate fight and analysts say it will continue to grow — just not as fast. New solar industry initiatives are seeking to break through barriers for commercial-industrial (C&I) customers. One initiative expanded and streamlined the basic contract between a C&I customer, the solar project developer, and the provider of financing. It is expected to make opaque and complicated deals much easier and more appealing. The other initiative, a new white paper, is intended to help owners of commercial real estate (CRE) understand the advantages of supporting solar development. It is intended to show property owners how offering solar to tenants can lead to new leases that will benefit their bottom lines in the long term, despite short-term costs.
Only the C&I solar sector has made gains in 2017 and 2018. "Solar Means Business (SMB)," the Solar Energy Industries (SEIA) annual survey of large companies leading solar adoption, shows "corporations want solar," SEIA VP Dan Whitten told Utility Dive. Tracked companies added 325 MW in 2017, driven "primarily by falling costs and changes to incentive programs in key states," SMB added. That was a 2% increase over 2016 and a 43% increase over 2015. Costs will continue to come down and more companies will add sustainability and renewables goals, opening growth opportunities, SMB reported. SEIA initiatives address remaining barriers by expanding, streamlining, and defining new opportunities for C&I solar. One is a new kind of power purchase agreement that includes on-bill commercial property-assessed clean energy financing. The other is a new white paper that better defines the opportunity… click here for more