Solar Loans to Become No. 1 Consumer Finance Solution for Residential Solar in 2018

2018 is the year of the solar loan. Despite rising interest rates affecting all consumer lending, GTM Research forecasts in its latest report, Bringing Scale, Profitability and Value to the Residential Solar Market, that solar lending will become the No. 1 consumer finance solution for residential solar systems in 2018. Source: Bringing Scale, Profitability and Value to the Residential Solar Market This increase in solar lending comes at the expense of both the third-party-owned (TPO) and cash markets, which includes personal and home equity lending. The TPO market hit its peak in 2016 as companies like SolarCity and Vivint

Forget the Duck Curve. Renewables Integration in the Midwest Is a Whole Other Animal

In the Great Plains, wind energy is cheap. Crazy cheap. With the lowest levelized costs approaching $10 per megawatt-hour and thousands of megawatts being procured for under $20 per megawatt-hour, PPAs for new wind farms cost less than just the fuel required to run existing coal or natural gas plants. These economics have driven a wind boom in the region: renewable energy made up three-fourths of the new capacity built in the Upper Midwest in the last five years, and virtually all of the region’s active projects in the

What Financiers Need to Unlock $1 Trillion in Renewable Energy Investment

Under the right conditions financial institutions say they could double their planned investments in the U.S. renewable energy sector, with the potential to mobilize $1 trillion in cumulative private capital by 2030. In a business as usual case, investor confidence in the U.S. renewables market is expected to remain high over the next three years, according to a new survey by the American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE). Looking further out, growth

Energy Jobs: Duke Promotions, Centrica and Innogy Go Deeper Into US, Dynapower, Opus One and More

We always seem to start this column with energy storage, so today let’s begin with utilities. Duke Energy has promoted Jim Henning to SVP of customer services. Amy Spiller, a 15-year veteran of Duke, will take his place as president of Duke Energy Ohio and Duke Energy Kentucky, according to Cincinnati

Tesla Powerpacks Balance the European Grid in REstore’s New Virtual Power Plant

On the site of an old coal mine in Belgium's only national park, Centrica Business Solutions’ flexibility provider REstore has launched a 32-megawatt virtual power plant, with a distribution-grid-connected 18.2-megawatt Tesla Powerpack storage system. The project took six months from inception to operation; the battery installation took about five weeks

Energy Jobs: Tesla Flattens Exec Roles, Juergen Steps Down at SolarWorld, Plus ComEd, AMS and More

As the old newspaper adage goes, “If it bleeds, it leads.” And if it’s Tesla that is bleeding executives, of course we’ll start there. Elon Musk said in a company memo that he’s flattening out the executive structure at the company, according to the The Wall Street Journal. But it’s hardly a sudden hemorrhage. Axios has a nice laundry list

The Promise and Challenge of Scaling Lithium Metal Batteries

While lithium-ion batteries are undergoing an historic scale-up, researchers are also hard at work looking for what battery technology might come next. A big battery breakthrough could lead to electric cars that could drive longer on a single charge and are safer to operate. Better batteries for the grid could store more energy, enabling the deployment of more wind and solar. “There’s a worldwide race for these kinds of concepts,” said Paul Albertus, program director for ARPA-E, the Department of Energy program that focuses on early

Mexico Is One of the Most Attractive Regions on the Planet for Solar

Mexico has emerged as a top market for solar in Latin America. In the wake of the country's energy market reform, solar projects are more competitive than ever. Developers are scrambling to get in on the action. In advance of Solar Summit Mexico next month, we're giving you a sneak peek at GTM Research's latest Latin America PV Playbook, the industry's most in-depth analysis of the budding

Nissan-Renault Insists It’s ‘Not Going to Relinquish’ Leadership on Electric Mobility

Nissan Motors did not unveil a new electric vehicle at the 2018 Consumer Electronics Show. The Japanese automaker had a sizable expo display, but opted not to hold a high-production-values press event. Instead, Carlos Ghosn, chairman and CEO of France-based Renault, chairman and former CEO of Japan-based Nissan, as well as chairman of Mitsubishi

The Next 5 Years in Energy Storage, According to 500 Energy Professionals

Last month at Greentech Media's Energy Storage Summit, I had the pleasure of moderating a panel, Crowdsourced Market Insights: Role of Energy Storage in Creating the Grid of the Future. This panel employed a unique structure where our experts on stage were asked to interpret and weigh in as 500 attendees answered live polling questions on the top themes in the market. The results, with additional context from our research, are presented in a

Beyond SolarCity, Vivint Solar and Sunrun: Who Is Actually Growing in the Residential Solar Market?

A chill has hit home solar. According to GTM Research’s latest U.S. Solar Market Insight report, Q3 2017 was the third consecutive quarter that the residential solar market fell by installation volume. It's easy to blame the “big three” for this downturn — collectively, SolarCity, Vivint Solar and Sunrun are down 32 percent in installation volume over the first three quarters of 2016, according to the latest U.S. PV Leaderboard. At the same time, we talk about the rest of the market — the long tail — as though it were an aggregate force tempering the downfalls of

12 Charts That Shook the Earth in 2017

You're reading a free preview of the latest GTM Squared insight. Want to receive more vital intelligence like this each and every week? Join Squared today! Last year was intense. It felt like news broke every minute of every day. We're starting 2018 the same way. That intensity certainly held true in the world of data. Our GTM Research analysts were knee-deep in record-breaking numbers, working

Non-Residential Solar Is Booming in Massachusetts. How Will New Incentives Impact Growth?

When the numbers are finally tallied, Massachusetts is likely to have had a banner year for non-residential PV installations in 2017. According to the recently released Q4 2017 U.S. Solar Market Insight report, the Bay State is forecast to grow nearly 20 percent over a record-breaking 2016. But the fanfare may be short-lived. Last year may prove to be the peak for non-residential solar installations in Massachusetts in this decade. Pending regulatory outcomes related to the incentive successor program could make or break the second-largest non-residential market in the U.S. — and define the tenor of solar deployments through the rest of the decade. Massachusetts helps lead a

Mexico’s Record Solar Prices Fall Below the Average Cost of Energy From Gas and Coal

Low costs will keep Mexico at the vanguard of the Latin American solar market, a region that will account for 11 percent of global PV demand by 2022. Latin America made up just 3 percent of global demand last year, but the region’s importance is set to soar, according to GTM Research's Global Solar Demand Monitor. In

Byton’s New SUV Is the Smart, Electric, Autonomous Vehicle We Want to Believe In

Another year at CES, another snazzy new electric-vehicle launch. Another startup looking to revolutionize mobility — and another potential disappointment. Byton, the worldwide brand of China-based EV startup Future Mobility Corp., kicked off the show Sunday afternoon with the debut of its first vehicle: a high-tech electric SUV. Or, as the company calls it, a “next-generation smart device.” At the past two Consumer Electronics Shows, Faraday Future held hyped-up and high-production-value vehicle launches the day before the conference. Last year featured flowing cocktails and a drag race between an

How to Halve the Cost of Residential Solar in the US

After 10 years running Sungevity, I recently completed a tour visiting solar companies in and around the U.S., Europe, Asia and Australia. I am pleased to report the residential solar industry is thriving around the world — everywhere except right here in the U.S. The reason for this is startlingly simple: American consumers are being charged over two times more for solar than is the average consumer overseas. That’s USD $10,000 more for a typical 5-kilowatt residential solar system. The panels are the same — so what on earth is going on? The answer: red tape. Here in the land

Can We Prevent a Global Energy Crisis From Bitcoin Mining?

Bitcoin has a large and rapidly growing energy and environmental footprint. The bitcoin ecosystem now uses approximately the same power as the entire country of Bulgaria, about 0.2 percent of the global total for electricity. Bitcoin’s computing network has grown at an 1,100 percent average annual pace over the last five years. So if we project out just a few years, we get a truly massive energy demand for the new king of coins: Bitcoin would use more electricity than the entire world uses today, by 2020, if the recent growth

New Tax Bill Offers Unexpected Benefits to Commercial Solar Installations

The commercial solar industry entered the holiday season with an unexpected policy gift from Washington. The new tax plan passed by Congress introduced two provisions favorable for commercial solar installations: a reduction in the corporate tax rate and the expansion of depreciation allowances. Unsurprisingly, there are very strong and divergent opinions on whether the tax bill will benefit society at large. This article does not attempt to address these important societal questions, but rather will solely analyze how the return on investment and net present value for commercial solar installations will change under the new tax code. We will perform a bottom-up analysis for a hypothetical

Solar O&M: A Nationwide Game Played Locally

A handful of large companies currently dominate the U.S. solar PV operations and maintenance market. But distinct player landscapes also exist at the regional level, according to the latest O&M report published by GTM Research, “Global Solar PV O&M 2017-2022: Markets, Services and Competitors.” The report identifies the top PV O&M vendors in the nation: First Solar, SOLV, MaxGen

Unlocking the Distributed Grid With Flexibility Management Software

Behind-the-meter solar and energy storage systems are hitting the grid at a breakneck pace. But will they be efficiently managed and monetized? With flexibility management software, they can. “Utilities recognize that there will be a large increase in behind-the-meter storage and PV over time, and electric vehicles as well,” said Quique Schwarz, chief data scientist at AutoGrid, a software

How Corporations ‘Bypassed the Politics’ to Lead on Clean Energy in 2017

When President Trump announced plans to withdraw from the Paris climate accord attention quickly turned to corporate America. Would business leaders forge ahead in the fight against climate change in the absence of federal backing? In 2017, at least, the answer is yes. As of December 12, when heads of state joined to commemorate the second anniversary of the Paris Agreement, 327 major corporations, worth a cumulative $6.5 trillion, had committed to matching their emission reduction plans with the Paris goals through the Science Based Targets initiative. Another 864 companies have stated their intention to adopt a science-based target within

Want to Prevent Interconnection Gridlock? Make a Plan

We are all familiar with the importance of proactive public planning. Take the road network for instance. Every day, hundreds of thousands of people commute into and out of cities, relying on well-placed and adequately sized roads to get them where they want to go. To keep traffic flowing, road planners must anticipate the numbers of commuters, their intended destinations, and the needs for road maintenance

Was 2017 the Year Global Energy Giants Went All-In on the Distributed Energy Revolution?

It's been an interesting year for mergers and acquisitions in the distributed energy space, with some unexpected developments. We haven't seen the same massive M&A deals of years past, such as GE’s purchase of Alstom or Honeywell’s acquisition of Elster — although Tuesday's announcement that smart metering and utility software provider Aclara was being sold for $1.1 billion to Hubbell Inc. helped bring this year's total closer to the peaks of the past. But when you look at the activity in 2017, a pattern emerges. Over the past year, we’ve seen a number of major European energy companies — and some Japanese, American and Israeli ones as well — buy into the proposition that providing