With the cost of project finance in some emerging economies proving prohibitive, Holger Janke of solar manufacturer Soitec explains how project bonds could help fill the gap open up new markets.
Benchmarking companies in the solar PV industry used to be straightforward. Some companies made key materials (polysilicon, wafers, cells, modules or thin-film panels); others bought and sold these locally or through the value chain. Then project developers and installers added inverters and mounting and built the PV systems. Customers typically released cash up-front, owned the systems outright and could then sit back and enjoy a revenue stream linked to a government incentive.
The search is on for the next source of solar finance once the Investment Tax Credit winds, and some elaborate ideas are on the table. Just don’t mention sub-prime mortgages, says Felicity Carus.
As domestic content rules in PV get watered down and investors look for the most bankable products, John Parnell wonders whether the budget solar module is becoming a dying breed.
Although much of the focus of debate in the US has been around residential and commercial solar, utility-scale projects represent the largest segment in America’s PV market. But as Felicity Carus, the days of the PV ‘mega’ project could be numbered.
The UK has more than 4GW of PV projects in the pipeline but the majority is at the mercy of local planning authorities.
The imposition of a charge last week on Arizona Public Service’s solar net metering customers was condemned as precedent-setting by the US solar industry. But as Andy Colthorpe reports, with the charge falling well short of what the utility wanted, the event could turn out to be a precedent of an entirely different kind.
The net-metering row has reached fever pitch in parts of the US in recent weeks. Solar Electric Power Association (SEPA) chief Julia Hamm tells PV Tech what her organisation is doing to find common ground between the utilities and the solar sector.
Discussions of high average selling price (ASP) regions (such as Japan) and declining regional end-market pull (Europe) are currently in evidence during the round of Q3 reporting calls from public-listed module suppliers. The market size in Europe now and the pricing levels have become key issues, for Chinese and non-Chinese suppliers alike.
Neither commercial-scale nor energy storage have yet take off in the US. But as Felicity Carus reports, this could be about change as companies eye opportunities in both segments.