Nine Conference Sessions Will Discuss Financing Challenges, Opportunities Facing Solar Industry
As the North American solar industry looks to continue its strong growth, Intersolar North America, the most-attended solar industry exhibition and conference dedicated to the North American market, will feature intensive and in-depth panel discussions on the new financing models driving the market. This year's conference program features a special nine-session financing package, eight of them developed with the SunSpec Alliance, a trade alliance of more than 70 solar and storage distributed energy industry participants, as well as an additional panel focused on discussing the latest developments in U.S. solar policy that will impact financing.
Now in its sixth year, the expanded SunSpec Solar Finance and Asset Management Symposium brings together expert speakers from banking, market researchers, national laboratories, leading developers, originators, financiers and standards bodies to discuss the current market and new trends in solar
"Fast disruptive growth, changing regulatory and business models, grid technology and the shift of focus from Capex to Opex are shaping today's Distributed Energy industry," said TJ Keating, SunSpec's Director of Development. "SunSpec has expanded its partnership with Intersolar to host this unique cross-cutting forum addressing PV technology, asset and finance topics to gain fresh insights needed to tackle next year's opportunities beyond policy and securitization to increase liquidity, manage the 20GW installed base and bring even more solar online."
New Financing Models Key to Maintaining Industry Growth
With the United States predicted to be a top-three solar market in 2015, according to GTM Research, industry attention has turned toward innovative solar financing models as a way to continue industry growth. Access to third-party financing has played a major role in the development of solar projects of all sizes, and the availability of power purchase agreements (PPAs) and leases has proven especially popular within the residential sector and for larger commercial solar projects.
There are a number of new financing developments that are starting to attract more attention from the solar industry. For utility-scale solar, financing vehicles such as mega-PPAs and Yieldcos are gaining market traction. Mega-PPAs, such as First Solar's deal for 130 megawatts (MW) of its 280 MW California Flats PV project, demonstrate the advantages of PPAs as loan alternatives. Yieldcos, which generated buzz at Intersolar North America last year, give parent companies the opportunity to bundle renewable and/or conventional long-term contracted operating assets to generate predictable cash flows.
In the residential market, third-party ownership of residential systems will continue to finance the majority of residential systems. However, GTM Research expects solar loans to start to gain real traction in 2015 due to large fundraising rounds. While solar-specific and low-interest loans offer a 19 to 29 percent lower levelized cost of energy (LCOE) according to NREL, there are still a number of barriers to overcome before the industry will see a surge in their use.
In addition to more proven financing models, Intersolar North America will also preview financing innovations. Crowdfunding, which allows many people to participate in funding an installation, has seen some traction since Mosaic first introduced this financing option. Also, community solar initiatives will allow millions of citizens—including renters and residents of multifamily housing—to go solar for the first time. These programs are designed to limit the barriers to solar adoption and appeal to customers unable to install their own solar system.
Intersolar North America Reveals Financing Speaking Lineup
All of these financing models will be discussed in depth during nine finance and policy conference sessions. Confirmed speakers include Bloomberg New Energy Finance, Vivint Solar, Moody's, Sungevity, Conergy, Alectris, SolarCity, Mercatus, the U.S. Dept. of Energy, SunEdison, NREL and CALSEIA, among others:
Monday, July 13, PV Finance Sessions
- 9 AM: Where is the Market? Challenges and Opportunities, Analyst and Investors Perspective
- 11 AM: What's Next, Residential and Commercial Originators and Project Developers Speak
- 1:30 PM: The Cost of Capital: Financiers Speak - Syndication and Securitization
- 3:30 PM: Future Finance Roadmap: New Business Opportunities Smart Grids and Demand Response Ancillary Services
Tuesday, July 14, The Solar Asset Symposium
- 9 AM: The Challenge, the Opportunity
- 11:15 AM: Data Drives Out Risk and Optimizes Return
- 2 PM: World Class O&M and Emerging Standards
- 4:15 PM: The Road Ahead: Challenges, Opportunities, Technology, Smart Grids and Storage
Additionally, Intersolar North America and the California Solar Energy Industries Association will offer a conference session about the progress the solar industry is making to extend the solar investment tax credit (ITC). With ongoing uncertainty around the future of the ITC, Intersolar North America will provide attendees updates on CALSEIA's "Fight For The ITC" Campaign and detail the opportunities to get involved in CALSEIA's efforts, including signing its petition.
"The ITC is the backbone of the solar industry, driving jobs and economic development throughout the United States," said Bernadette Del Chiaro, executive director of CALSEIA. "It is all-hands-on-deck time to extend the ITC and continue the progress and expansion of solar power in America."
Wednesday, July 15
- 9 AM: The ITC: What's Happening With It and What Should You Do About It?
All Intersolar North America conference sessions are at the InterContinental Hotel, 777 Howard Street. Tickets and the conference program are available online. All nine finance sessions can be booked in one tailored package.
Photo Sorce: Intersolar North America