Solar power information and news

Finance

At last night’s PennWell Awards Ceremony, Kim Greene, a 24-year veteran of the power industry, was named the POWER-GEN 2015 Woman of the Year.

Greene began her career as an engineer with Southern Company in 1991 and ascended to leadership roles at Mirant and Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), before returning to Southern Company Services in 2013 to become President and CEO. She was a keynote speaker at POWER-GEN International in 2014.

Today, she serves as chief operating officer of Southern Company and is responsible for overseeing system operations, which include generation, transmission, engineering and construction services, system planning, and research and environmental affairs, as well as the company’s competitive wholesale generation businesses.

Total global corporate funding in the solar sector, including venture capital/private equity (VC), debt financing, and public market financing raised by public companies, came to $6.2 billion, compared to $5.9 billion in Q2 2015, according to Mercom Capital Group’s report on funding and merger and acquisition (M&A) activity for the solar sector in the third quarter of 2015.

Raj Prabhu, CEO of Mercom Capital Group said in a release that Q3 was “eventful” especially regarding the equity markets.  “Although solar power demand continues to grow, solar stocks have made a complete U-turn in the last three months, affecting public market financing, which was down by about a billion dollars excluding IPOs,” he added.

VC funding increased to $257 million in 15 deals, compared to $142 million in 24 deals in Q2 2015. Solar downstream companies continued to draw most of the VC investments with $114 million in seven deals.

Total global corporate funding in the solar sector, including venture capital/private equity (VC), debt financing, and public market financing raised by public companies, came to $6.2 billion, compared to $5.9 billion in Q2 2015, according to Mercom Capital Group’s report on funding and merger and acquisition (M&A) activity for the solar sector in the third quarter of 2015.

Raj Prabhu, CEO of Mercom Capital Group said in a release that Q3 was “eventful” especially regarding the equity markets.  “Although solar power demand continues to grow, solar stocks have made a complete U-turn in the last three months, affecting public market financing, which was down by about a billion dollars excluding IPOs,” he added.

VC funding increased to $257 million in 15 deals, compared to $142 million in 24 deals in Q2 2015. Solar downstream companies continued to draw most of the VC investments with $114 million in seven deals.

Total global corporate funding in the solar sector, including venture capital/private equity (VC), debt financing, and public market financing raised by public companies, came to $6.2 billion, compared to $5.9 billion in Q2 2015, according to Mercom Capital Group’s report on funding and merger and acquisition (M&A) activity for the solar sector in the third quarter of 2015.

Raj Prabhu, CEO of Mercom Capital Group said in a release that Q3 was “eventful” especially regarding the equity markets.  “Although solar power demand continues to grow, solar stocks have made a complete U-turn in the last three months, affecting public market financing, which was down by about a billion dollars excluding IPOs,” he added.

VC funding increased to $257 million in 15 deals, compared to $142 million in 24 deals in Q2 2015. Solar downstream companies continued to draw most of the VC investments with $114 million in seven deals.

With its excellent renewable policy, California leads the nation in solar. Over the years both the Renewable Portfolio Standard and the California Solar Initiative drove utility scale and residential solar deployment. But without the same drivers pushing commercial and industrial buildings to go solar, California’s offices, warehouses, hospitals, farms, factories, universities, hotels and restaurants have lagged behind.

Now that appears to be turning around fast. A growing number of leaders in the solar industry see a very bright future for Commercial and Industrial (C&I) solar, beginning in 2015. A lot has to do with the introduction of PACE financing for C&I solar.

Vivint Solar recently unveiled $150 million in financing for the C&I solar market together with Sungevity. Vivint, currently valued at $1 billion, is already a major player in residential solar. Through its parent company Blackstone Group, Vivint obtained an inside track to almost $100 billion worth of real estate assets in a vast assortment of C&I properties. And with its $2 billion acquisition in July by SunEdison, it is clear that this market is valued.

Following the launch of a 5-MW solar plant in May, which is the first solar industrial facility in the European part of Russia, Bashkortostan, the country’s autonomous republic situated between the Volga River and the Ural Mountains, has set eyes on adding another seven PV facilities of a combined capacity of 59 MW by 2018.

Australia, the sunniest continent, is luring solar battery suppliers from Tesla Motors Inc. to LG Corp. as the global roll out of the technology for home and business power storage gathers pace.

At stake is a domestic market that could be worth A$24 billion ($18 billion), according to Morgan Stanley. Australia leads the world in putting solar panels on roofs, and by 2040, about one in two homes are forecast to rely on sun power.

Elon Musk’s Tesla plans early next year to bring its new batteries to Australia, which will join Germany as its first two markets outside the U.S. LG Chem will offer new technology to Australian homes in August, while Panasonic Corp. plans to begin selling its batteries in the country in October.

“Australia has all the criteria that you would look for — high sunshine, high energy prices and low financing costs,” Michael Parker, an analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. in Hong Kong, said by phone. “It’s a good test market.”

With solar power set to draw $3.7 trillion in investment through 2040, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance, interest in power storage is surging.

LG Chem wants to capture 30 percent of the Australian market, the South Korean company said in an e-mail response to questions. The industry could could grow 15-fold in the next two years to more than 30,000 storage systems, it said.

Storage Units

Samsung SDI Co., meanwhile, is testing its storage units with Australian retailer Origin Energy Ltd., which expects to offer the products to customers later this year, and AU Optronics Corp. of Taiwan is working with AGL Energy Ltd.

Government subsidies and falling prices fueled a wave of growth in solar panel installations in Australia, and the country is set to see further expansion. About 6 million, or half of Australian homes, are forecast to have solar systems by 2040, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

“The ability to store the energy that’s generated by solar is a huge opportunity within this market,” Heath Walker, Tesla’s marketing manager in Melbourne, said by phone. In coming months, the company plans to unveil battery partnerships with utilities or solar developers in Australia, he said.

Battery storage does face obstacles, though, with the cost and the size of the systems needed to maintain a reliable power source deterring some consumers, the Grattan Institute found.

Falling Tariffs

“Everybody says it’s an emerging market, but I’m not sure many people have bought batteries yet,” Origin’s Managing Director Grant King said in an interview. “Will we see a wholesale migration of customers off the grid because of batteries? My answer is no.”

Declining battery costs, surging electricity prices and falling tariffs for feeding excess power to the grid could drive storage, the Australian Energy Market Operator found.

Battery storage will allow homes with solar panels to store excess electricity for later use, reducing peak power consumption and potentially energy costs, Panasonic said.

“Storage is coming,” Panasonic’s local Managing Director Paul Reid said in a June 2 interview. “There may be things that impact the speed of the roll out, but it will dramatically change the landscape of the energy sector in Australia.”

The first half of 2015 saw a mild advance in the broad market, but concerns about rising interest rates and the ongoing Greek debt drama sent income stocks, clean energy, and most non-US currencies down decisively.  My Ten Clean Energy Stocks for 2015 model portfolio has heavy exposure to not only clean energy, but income stocks (6 out of 10) and foreign stocks (4 out of 10.)  Despite this the stormy market for all three, the portfolio delivered admirably. 

Chinese clean energy entrepreneurs worth $9.13 billion in 2015 are starting to turn heads — the wildcatters of solar energy. To some extent, they’re riding the froth of Chinese equity markets. The Shanghai Stock Exchange Composite Index is up about 40 percent since Jan. 1, compared with an increase of about 3 percent for the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index.

Auctions on Ebay