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Sunworks, Inc. (NASDAQ: SUNW), a leading provider of solar power solutions, announced today that its proprietary solar racking division, Rapid Rack, has been chosen as the preferred racking solution for Boviet Solar USA.

3DIcon Corporation (OTC PINK: TDCP), a developer of 3D volumetric display technologies that are designed to produce 360-degree volumetric high-resolution images, announced today its intent to target specific industries for early adoption as it works with merger partner Coretec Industries LLC (Coretec) to commercialize its IP portfolio of silicon-based materials.

Hyderabad-based Greenko Group, backed by GIC Singapore, is leading the race to buy renewable energy projects of SunEdison in India, in a deal that is estimated at Rs 7,500 crore.

The Indian government is aiming to create 10 solar zones across the country by 2021, which will each cover an area of 10,000 hectares of wasteland.

Yamaha Motor Co. plans to tap more green energy to drive production in India, the latest sign that renewable power could boost profit for industrial manufacturers.

If all goes well, the Diamond City is all set to become `Solar City' in real sense.

Jakson Group, India’s most pre-eminent power solutions company, today announced the successful commissioning of Solar PV System on 6 coaches of Diesel Electric Multiple Unit (DEMU) for North Western Railways, Jodhpur. 

A Portland City Council committee has endorsed plans to build a solar power array on top of a former landfill on Ocean Avenue.

The Council’s Energy and Sustainability Committee voted 3-0 in favor of the plans during a meeting Wednesday. The proposal will next go to the full City Council for consideration. No discussion has yet been scheduled.

The proposed Ocean Avenue project would require an initial city investment of about $25,000 per year. City officials expect the investment to be paid back in 10 years through energy savings. The city estimates the solar panels could generate 660 kW of renewable energy, enough to power City Hall and Merrill Auditorium.

“This proposal is a meaningful step in Portland’s commitment to a clean energy future,” Councilor Jon Hinck, chair of the council’s Energy and Sustainability Committee, said in a news release.

Mayor Ethan Strimling also expressed support for the solar project. “The Ocean Avenue project will be a very visible demonstration of the city of Portland walking the walk and setting a powerful example when it comes to embracing solar technology,” Strimling said in the release.

 

Legend Solar, one of the fastest-growing solar power companies in Utah, achieved $14.7 million in revenue for the first six months of 2016—a 269 percent increase over the same period in 2015.

PV panel waste streams will increase alongside worldwide PV deployment. This publication is the first to quantify potential PV panel waste streams in the period until 2050. 

Liquidity risk may be a key concern to renewable energy investors when, for instance, utilities are affected by liquidity constraints or when the timing of cash receipts and payments is mismatched. 

Risk mitigation is especially important in renewable energy projects because of their high upfront capital requirement. Financial de-risking instruments accompanied by sound policy can reduce the financing costs of renewable energy investment and help attract capital at scale (Waissbein et al., 2013).

Directing energy sector investment towards renewables means dissolving market barriers currently obstructing the development and financing of renewable energy projects. The technical aspects of renewable energy, lack of familiarity, limited knowledge and skills among project proponents and local financial institutions all reinforce a lack of track record and reliable investment data, especially in emerging markets. Investors find it hard to identify attractive projects, and project developers find it hard to identify investors. This often becomes a key barrier to renewable energy investment. 

Faced with far-reaching changes, policy makers will need to reconsider a wide array of existing policies.

The age of solar energy has arrived. It came faster than anyone predicted and is ushering in a global shift in energy ownership. People are only just beginning to recognise the consequences of this change. Solar photovoltaic (PV) power is already the most widely owned electricity source in the world in terms of number of installations, and its uptake is accelerating. In only five years, global installed capacity has grown from 40 gigawatts (GW) to 227 GW. By comparison, the entire generation capacity of Africa is 175 GW.

Mercom Capital Group, llc, a global clean energy communications and consulting firm, forecasts another year of solar growth with installations expected to reach 64.7 GW in 2016 up from 57.8 GW forecast for 2015.

“The largest markets in 2016 will again be China, the United States and Japan; the United States is set to overtake Japan as the second largest solar market behind China. These three countries will account for about 65 percent of installations next year” said Raj Prabhu, CEO and Co-Founder of Mercom Capital Group.

China will continue to be the largest solar market in the world, installing approximately 19.5 GW in 2016. China has installed almost 10 GW in the first three quarters this year, well ahead of 3.79 GW installed in the same period last year. Curtailment and delayed subsidy payments remain a challenge. The announcement of an additional 5.3 GW installation quota with a completion deadline of June 2016 for provinces that have met or exceed their installation goals is likely to help China get close to meeting its installation goals in 2015, and ensures a strong 2016. The Chinese government is expected to increase its 2020 installation target to 150-200 GW.

Mercom is forecasting the United States to install about 13 GW of solar next year which will be the best year for U.S. solar installations by far. The U.S. solar market is expected to experience robust growth for the next 13 months as the industry rushes to complete projects before the 30 percent investment tax credit (ITC) drops to 10 percent. The industry is hopeful, but not betting, on a possible extension to 30 percent ITC at 30 percent. The 2016 installation estimates will need to be revised if solar projects are allowed to “begin construction” by December 31, 2016 instead of reaching completion, or if there is an agreement in Congress to extend the ITC in any form.

Japan  is expected to install about 9 GW of solar in 2016. The Japanese solar industry has experienced two feed-in tariff (FiT) cuts in 2015 as the government looks to trim solar subsidy costs. So far, Japan has approved a little more than 80 GW of solar projects under its FiT program, of which about 25 percent has been installed. Japan is going through a transformation in the energy sector with a change in its energy mix going into 2030, giving more weight to renewables and cutting back on nuclear energy. Japan also is in the process of deregulating its utilities and breaking up monopolies. Japanese domestic solar module shipments have dropped the last two quarters following the reduction in FiTs.

In European market activity, the U.K. is expected to lead in terms of PV installations in 2016 followed by Germany and France. There is a lot of uncertainty surrounding the U.K. PV market with a decision on FiT cuts still pending and Renewable Energy Credits set to expire in April 2016.

Indian solar installations are expected to reach about 3.6 GW in 2016, significant growth compared to the 2.1 GW forecasted for 2015. Momentum has picked up after the government set a target of 100 GW by 2022. Aggressive bidding in its recent auctions has caused some concerns as to the viability of these projects due to unrealistically low bids.

SOURCE:

Mercom Capital Group

 

A new report from FICCI and the UNEP Inquiry has reviewed the sustainable development financing challenge in India/identified the momentum for sustainable finance in India. Below are the excerpts of the report.

The quarterly SEIA/GTM Research U.S. Solar Market Insight™ report shows the major trends in the U.S. solar industry. Learn more about the U.S. Solar Market Insight Report.

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Grid List

Mr. Kiran Patil, Managing Director, PLG Clean Energy Projects Private Limited

Do you feel the Indian solar market is overheating and needs to cool down to avoid problems in the long run?

My view is, the Solar market in India is evolving, it is not overheating.

With a target to have an operational solar power capacity of 100 GW by March 2022, the Indian government hasannual capacity addition targets for the next few years. By early March this year more than 5.7 GW of solar power capacity was operational in India.The Ministry of New & Renewable Energy (MNRE) plans to add 12 GW,15 GW and 16 GW solar power capacity in the financial years 2016-17, 2017-18 and 2018-19, respectively.

Most of the solar markets around the world are stagnant while we are seeing a lot of growth in India. Since India is a big market, the investors have shown a keen interest. The aggressive bidding is an initial reaction from few investors.

Will aggressive bidding by the developers create problems for the entire solar value chain?

In recent times, most government mega and ultra-mega projects that were put up for bidding received bids below Rs 5 per kwh.quoting low tariff & winning bids is not the end goal for solar companies, post that tying up finances is crucial for the success of the project

Banks are now more active in understanding how the numbers play out and they are not financing the projects unless they are convinced that it will be commercially viable. 

India is also in talks with development banks like the Asian Development Bank, International Finance Corporation, KfW, the Japan International Cooperation Agency, and the New Development Bank to access cheap debt finance for setting up solar power projects.

According to the UK-based magazine The Economist, the cost of solar panels has declined by 80% since 2010, there is an expectation that cost of panels may go down further—but the panel price trend in last few months is rather flat. This will prohibit the bidders from further aggression at least for next 3-6 months.

Competition is always good. It makes the stakeholders to find out the innovative ways to optimize the costs & maximum utilization of the assets.  There will be a pressure on entire value chain but I am sure that during this transition phase, each of the stake holder will find a solution to optimize the costs and make some margins to be in the business.

As the large amount of PBG’s are at the stake, the bidders must have done their mathematics before putting the aggressive bids. There will be few losers in the game but the solar market will be a winner.

 

Mr. Simarpreet Singh, Business Development & Strategy, HARTEK POWER PRIVATE LIMITED

Do you feel the Indian solar market is overheating and needs to cool down to avoid problems in the long run?

The Indian solar industry has come a long way since the rollout of the National Solar Mission in 2011 and last year’s fivefold increase in India’s solar generation target for 2022 from 20 GW to a staggering 100 GW. Consequently, a new trend is emerging. In pursuit of the ambitious target, the focus is shifting to bigger solar plants of 50 MW and above. Until three years ago, smaller solar plants ranging from 2-5 MW were more sought after, but these have now suddenly gone out of favour. Most of the solar developers are private equity-run companies which are under immense pressure to first get business and then step up cash flows and revenues.

But I do not think there is any overheating in the Indian solar market. In fact, recognising the huge potential of solar energy in India, the government has created conducive conditions for the solar industry to thrive, which is reflecting in the investments. If any course correction is required, the government can always revise the renewable purchase obligation of states. The need of the hour is to constantly upgrade the grids and come up with new ones to match the outflows created by new solar projects. Having connected more than 250 MW of solar power to the grid, we, at Hartek Power, feel that sustainability is the key in the long run. The solar industry will eventually consolidate, but the recent closure of a couple of leading solar developers should serve as a lesson that only companies with sustainable business models will go far. Sustainability forms the very basis on which the fundamentals of the solar business rest.

Will aggressive bidding by the developers create problems for the entire solar value chain?

Falling prices undoubtedly put EPC companies under a lot of pressure to make their projects more cost-effective and financially viable. To survive the competition, they have no option but to go for cutthroat pricing, which affects the entire value chain. At the same time, every company is free to take a call and do a cost-benefit analysis keeping in view its long-term business interests and strategies. I believe that while cost-cutting measures should be taken at all stages as per the demand of the market, there should be no compromise on quality. After all, the plant has to last a good 25 years. Eventually, everything boils down to how sustainable your business model is and how well you are able to align your operations with it by taking the right decisions at the right time.

 

Mr. Abhay Raina, Head - Solar, Hero Future Energies

Aggressive bidding by the developers does not necessarily imply problems for the entire solar value chain as there is now a considerable amount of experience in India on solar. Developers, EPCs and suppliers have been working day in and day out to bring in cost optimisation without compromising on technology and quality. Developers are looking at various innovative funding methods, new technologies to improve their generation vis-a-vis the cost incurred and increase their IRR’s. EPCs and suppliers of major components have also realised that the game is shifting from what it used to be at the beginning of the JNNSM, and they need to be ready to play solar T20 match, than a test match. 

We do agree that due to these low bids, entire value chain is likely to be in a distress huddle although may be for a short duration. Lenders are likely to be a little apprehensive as they were initially, to comprehend the security of their loans and may continue with higher lending rates till these low tariff projects are commissioned. EPCs and other vendors is likely to be under stress in order to match expectations of developers, leading to quality deterioration. Solar industry faced the same dilemma when one of the developers bid INR 7.49 way back during Phase 1 of JNNSM, but came out of that initial shock quicker than the fall of solar tariff.   

The existing challenges of the industry include discoms not being able to provide proper evacuation facility and payments on time, land continues to be a challenge, dollar rate fluctuation impacts the prices of modules, which heightens the graveness of the issue. 

On the other side, an increase in the number of projects implies increased opportunities across segments of solar business, which is likely to benefit due to higher business volumes albeit lowers margins. Bigger players will not suffer much, however small businesses might find it difficult to match market expectations. With so much work on plate for EPCs, it will be also interesting to see how much can they chew and how much is left for developers to construct on own, giving rise to a sector of ‘self EPC’. 

In my opinion, although low bids pose an enormous challenge for the entire supply chain, I am sure we will sail through these times with intelligent project management, financing options and use of innovative technology and solutions like use of trackers, better design of solar field, better inverters. Developers who don’t have much experience of Indian solar sector and are executing their maiden executing projects in India, may might be in a tight spot, due to non-accounting of various unseen expenses.

Projects under DCR category may find it hot to execute their projects on time and within budget, but with the support from government these issues can be sorted out. All in all, we are a mature industry now and Developers are more aware and educated to know what they are doing. Flukes in this industry don’t stay long and hence effective and water tight strategy shall be the key to success for any developer.

 

Mr. Siddharth Modi, Senior Manager (Projects), Techno Electric & Engineering Co. Ltd.

The Indian government took a decision in 2014 to increase the installed capacity of Solar to 100 GW by 2022. Though optimistic, the viability of this target is questionable, since this would require 15 GW installations every year and a capital of around 100 billion USD. Solar installation has crossed 5GW with approximately 4 GW being installed in the last financial year. It was record year for tariff reduction, as they breached 5 INR/ unit, with the lowest being 4.34 INR/ unit in Rajasthan. There was a price reduction of around 15% in a space of 6 months, and during this period, INR had a net depreciation of 1-2% also taking account of the RMB devaluation against USD. Since there was no major technological breakthrough and/ or reduction in material cost in this time frame, it indicates that the companies are bidding aggressively to bring down the price. Thus while executing the project, corners will be cut to save cost on the equipment and workmanship, which will affect the quality of a solar plant with a projected lifetime of 20-25 years. Razor thin margins and the volatility of INR currency could deter foreign and domestic investment significantly, making it difficult for India to achieve its targeted installed capacity. In the last month, Sunedison the Goliath of Solar power developers, and the first company in India to bid below INR 5 per unit had to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and is looking for equity investors in over 2 GW of finished and unfinished projects in India. This could just be the beginning and a clear indication that if the prices are unsustainable, there will be further consolidation in the market and lead to correction in the pricing model.

 

Ms. Ritu Lal, VP – Business Development, Amplus Solar

When compared to certain international markets – for example, the latest bids in the MENA (Middle East and North Africa) region, Mexico and Germany, the Indian market may not seem to be overheated. However, it is also interesting to note that while solar tariffsin India have been coming down, there have been no compelling factors that canexpIain this significant drop in prices.

The drop in prices has been attributed to the fall in module prices. While module costs, which make 60 percent of the project outlay,may be coming down, theitems that contribute the remaining 40 percent have a wider supply market – especially items like galvanised iron structures, transformers, cables etc. This market has seen no real reason to cut down prices exceptfor the general slowdown in the global markets.

A reduction in tariffs will surely impact the value chain. Reduction in margins is one obvious effect. However, we will also see players cutting it rather fine on technical specifications to try and squeeze out as much as possible from theircosts in order to protect their margins. This will inadvertently create pressures on the supply chain as suppliers may face issues in terms of increased warranty claims etc. Also, apart from downgrading technical specifications, reduction in tariffs will also force people to go very aggressive on other costs – designing, capex as well as operational expenses.

The fall-out from these cost-cutting measures may be rather unpleasant. It is very likely that theconsequenceswill include increases in failures, poor plant performance etc., that will have a subsequent impact on supplier and EPC reputation.

On the flip side, however, there could be a positive outcome of these actions. We may see innovations in design and materials that can help cut costs and/or increase performance.

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