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A new set of clean tech benches are being installed in the London borough of Southwark.

The smart benches allow people to charge phones, use free WiFi, and track levels of air pollution, all powered by a solar panel.

The technology is the brainchild of Milos Milisavljevic, founder of the start-up Strawberry Energy, which is developing the bench across London. The first prototype was trialled in Canary Wharf in 2015. Since then, the company has honed the design to take up less space and use more advanced monitoring technology.

The benches are able to collect power without direct sunlight and can be stored for use during night time.

Real time data is accessible through a mobile app which provides insights into air quality, noise pollution, and other bespoke features.

Southwark Council plans to install 29 of the benches across the borough to complement existing schemes in the works. Nearby Lewisham is building 25 of the benches, along with Islington in the north, which has been trialling the benches since last year.

The leader of Southwark Council, Chancellor Peter John, said: “I welcome the arrival of these new Strawberry smart benches, they will help us to offer people in Southwark modern technology that responds to contemporary needs.”

“Council officers have been collecting air quality data from the benches; this will help us to build a picture of the problem and show us the way forward, here in Southwark,” he added.

Mr Milisavljevic said: “We’re delighted to be working in partnership with Southwark Council to extend the network of smart benches in the borough and hope the addition of new sensors will help the council and local residents have a better picture of air quality down to a street level.”

“We designed the benches with today’s Londoner in mind - providing free, solar powered phone charging, WiFi and air quality monitoring in a single, sleek piece of street furniture,” he added.

Photo Credit: Strawberry Energy

Energy giant E.ON has created a new tariff in the UK tailored to low-emission road users.

The Fix and Drive tariff provides registered electric vehicle or hybrid drivers a two-year supply of 100 per cent renewable energy and a yearly reward of £30, equivalent to 850 free miles.

The free miles are based on the assumption that 1 kilowatt hour provides 4.4 miles of drive time.

The new tariff is targeting people who traditionally have higher electricity bills, offering them a rebate, clean energy, and “competitive pricing”, according to the company.

Michael Lewis, chief executive of E.ON UK, commented: “It’s clear that the country needs an increase in electric vehicle charging points, whether at home or workplaces, in car parks or alongside leisure facilities. We’re leading the charge, with both E.ON Drive for businesses and now E.ON Fix and Drive for residential customers.”

“Sales of electric vehicles are increasing year on year and the UK is now one of Europe’s largest markets for them. Drivers need to be able to charge their cars quickly and conveniently, and for many, that means plugging in at home,” he added.

E.ON’s move is a signal that the coming together of home energy use and clean transportation is inching closer. The announcement is also the latest in the energy company’s attempts to support the transition to a low-carbon economy.

Earlier this year, it teamed up with Google to develop a service to help UK households work out the solar potential of their homes. Project Sunroof uses data from Google Earth and Maps to estimate the level of solar power untapped on roofs around the UK. An estimated 10,000 people have requested an analysis in Germany where the project has been operating since last year.

IKEA’s first-ever store in India was overwhelmed with visitors when it opened in the southern city of Hyderabad this month.

An estimated 28,000 people passed through its doors each day during its opening week, which led to queues of up to three hours.

Public enthusiasm for the global brand is expected to continue with six million visitors in its first year.

IKEA is matching that popularity with an opportunity to promote sustainability and renewable energy.

The store’s new delivery fleet will gradually transition to become fully electric, with a target of 20 per cent during the first year alone. In addition, the new store already comes fitted with 4,000 solar panels on its roof to power its operations.

IKEA is a member of both the RE100 and EV100 initiatives, which promotes the transition to a low-carbon economy. Members pledge to source 100 percent of their electricity from renewable sources and seek to make electric vehicles “the new normal” by 2030, according to organisers The Climate Group.

Jarnail Singh, India Director at The Climate Group, commented on IKEA’s commitments: “This is a significant addition to their long-term efforts on a sustainable supply chain, and it’s fantastic for customers to know that their merchandise is produced and delivered without much harm to the planet. We look forward to seeing them achieve their RE100 and EV100 goals in India, sooner than stated.”

The Hyderabad store will shortly be followed by a second outlet in Mumbai next year, with a total of 25 new stores in the country by 2025.

Along with clean energy commitments, IKEA has pledged to transform its business along circular principles. At a recent conference in Sweden, the company announced a move to using only use recycled or renewable materials in the future.

“Our ambition is to become people and planet positive by 2030 while growing the IKEA business. Through our size and reach we have the opportunity to inspire and enable more than one billion people to live better lives, within the limits of the planet” Group CEO, Torbjörn Lööf, said at the time.

The body which operates London’s historic Square Mile is introducing a new environmental scheme in the area.

The City of London Corporation has announced that new charges for on-street parking will be brought in this month to promote clean air and reduce emissions, such as nitrogen oxides and particulate matter.

The 1.12 mile area covers London’s oldest and busiest streets, and remains the heart of the UK’s financial sector.

Low emission vehicles, such as electric or hybrids, will now be charged £4 per hour while diesel and petrol vehicles will have to pay a higher amount of £5.20. All other vehicles will be charged £6.80 per hour.

Chris Hayward at the City of London Corporation, said: “We have seen other areas of London penalise worst offenders such as diesel cars. We are taking this one step further by not only applying punitive measures for these worst offenders but by supporting and encouraging motorists to consider other modes of transport and switch to cleaner vehicles in the future.”

“The Square Mile is one of London’s busiest areas, therefore, it is only right that the City of London Corporation continues to prioritise providing a safe and healthy environment for its workers, visitors and residents,” he added.

The new environmental tariffs will use the RingGo app to automatically assess the model of car and allow motorists to pay without cash.

Peter O’Driscoll, UK Country Manager for RingGo, commented: “The Government is promoting Clean Air Zones as the best way to influence motorists’ behaviour. But these take several years to set up, not to mention requiring considerable expenditure. With no physical infrastructure needed, RingGo’s Emissions Based Parking provides similar outcomes at a fraction of the cost and can be set up in a matter of weeks.”

Photo Credit: kloniwotski/Flickr

Great Britain is on the verge of abolishing the need for coal-fired power over the summer months, according to analysts.

This is one of the main headlines from a new quarterly report on the country’s energy mix.

Researchers at Imperial College London analysed official data from the National Grid over the months of April, May and June.

“For the third summer in a row, coal is edging closer to extinction in Britain,” commented lead author Dr Iain Staffell, noting that coal supplied a mere 1.3 per cent of electricity over the quarter. Its share also fell below 1 per cent for first time across June.

The times at which coal is running over summer is “at a bare minimum”, Staffell added, highlighting that plants are usually called upon to provide grid stability during periods of low demand.

The report goes on to state that Britain “likely could” run without coal all summer, given that the remaining fleet operated at only 3 per cent of its maximum capacity.

The number of coal-free days across the year is also at an all-time high with no coal power stations used for 812 hours throughout the quarter. Over 1,000 have been clocked up through July, according to a separate piece of research.

Coal’s decline in Britain has been a short and sharp affair, falling by 75 per cent over the past three years. In 2017, coal provided 5.3 per cent of total energy consumption, a historic low.

Ultimately, the switch away from coal has already happened; gas supplied 41 per cent of demand over the quarter, accounting for 82 per cent of emissions. The focus of the low-carbon transition will, therefore, take place elsewhere.

“While it would be a clear symbolic victory to remove coal from the system for entire months at a time, its impact on the climate in summer months is no longer significant,” the report concludes.

Source: Drax/Imperial College London

Leading Danish wind developer Vestas has posted revenue of 2.2 billion euros in the second quarter of 2018.

The interim results released today beat forecasts and led to a 7 per cent jump in the company’s share price.

The figures also show an order intake now at 3.8 gigawatts, an increase of 43 per cent on the previous year. The all-time high backlog represents a value of 10.2 billion euros, and combined with service agreements in place pushes the value to 23 billion euros in future earnings.

Vestas’ President and CEO Anders Runevad attributed the good news to the maturity of the wind energy market: “In the first half of 2018, the wind industry strengthened its position as the cheapest form of energy generation in many markets, which drove strong global demand. This development saw Vestas’ second quarter order intake increase 43 per cent year over year, contributing to the continued growth of our order backlog to an all-time high.”

Mr Runevad has helped turn the company around since taking up the top job in 2013. At the time, Vestas was operating at a net loss of 62 million euros.

Data released by the Global Wind Energy Council earlier this year showed the technology was in rude health; worldwide installations hit a massive 52 gigawatts in 2017, fuelled by declining costs and the push for cleaner forms of electricity.

“With long-term perspectives for renewable energy getting stronger, Vestas continues to effectively manage its costs and invest in the solutions that together will help us lead the global energy transition,” he added. 

Total investments are expected to be around 500 million euros this year due to a flurry of activity. Vestas remains the world’s largest supplier of wind turbines, but faces stiff competition since the merger of Siemens and Gamesa last year.

Photo Credit: bathyporeia/Flickr

An innovative tidal energy device which acts like a kite has completed its latest trial below the sea.

Swedish company Minesto has been developing the DG500 system off the coast of north-west Wales.

The technology, given the name Deep Green, produces renewable energy by following the course of tidal streams and ocean currents under calm conditions.

The prototype has a 12-metre wing span which is capable of producing power for around 300 homes. The kite remains tethered to the seabed and follows a figure of eight motion dictated by the tides. The speed created by the device pushes water through a turbine attached to the back, which converts it into energy.  

Minesto’s chief operating officer David Collier commented on the technology’s progress: “This is a very significant step towards our ultimate goal of proving the complete DG500 system. I am very proud of the team as this accomplishment has been made possible only by the hard work and endeavour of everyone that has been involved in the design and development of the Deep Green technology over a number of years.”

Minesto plans to continue its programme of commissioning the device to verify its ability to generate electricity in a timely and efficient manner.

“The commissioning efforts have been performed in a safe and robust manner, which is especially important considering the many innovations involved in this first-of-its-kind project,” he added.

The company was awarded £11 million in 2015 from the European Union’s Regional Development Fund to help develop the Deep Green technology, accounting for 43 per cent of overall costs. The funding has been essential to advancing the project, according to the developers.

In a recent video, project controller Oishan Roberts commented: “We’re looking for a solution to replace fossil fuels. This project that we have now will be the start of what could potentially be one of the largest tidal sites in the world.”

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Photo Credit: Minesto

Healthy soils are key to tackling food hunger and climate change, says the UN’s food agency.

Graziano da Silva, head of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), made the argument at a recent conference in Brazil.

"Although soils are hidden and frequently forgotten, we rely on them for our daily activities and for the future of the planet," the FAO Director-General said.

The UN agency has identified 10 threats to soils which can directly impact food security, biodiversity and reducing carbon emissions. These include the level of erosion, acidification, nutrient imbalance, and salinization.

These issues are non-trivial in a world where 815 million people are suffering from a lack of available food.

"Soil degradation affects food production, causing hunger and malnutrition, amplifying food-price volatility, forcing land abandonment and involuntary migration-leading millions into poverty," he said.

Da Silva pointed out that soils play a huge role in capturing and storing carbon dioxide, preventing the gas from being released into the atmosphere. Soils contain more carbon than all trees and vegetation above ground. The maintenance and extension of the Earth’s soil carbon stock should, therefore, be a priority.

Soils also prevent pollutants from reaching the food chain and our river systems by acting as a filter on these contaminants.

"Let us make make soils a vehicle of prosperity and peace, and show the contribution of soils to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals," he concluded. 

In 2016, the FAO conducted the first major global assessment of soil health, which found that 33 percent of land is “moderately to highly degraded”. The report argues that greater sustainable soil management “can increase nutritious food supply, provide a valuable lever for climate regulation and safeguard ecosystem services.”

Costs from coastal flooding in Europe could hit almost 1 trillion euros by 2100, according to researchers.

The new study from the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre estimated the costs to vary widely, between 93 billion and 961 billion euros a year, depending on the response from European nations. Current costs are estimated at 1.25 billion euros.

Rising sea levels caused by growing global temperatures will directly impact the volume of water on the oceans. In addition, ice melting from Greenland and Antarctica will also increase coastal flooding, making these events stronger and more widespread.

“Climate change is the main driver of the future rise in coastal flood losses,” the researchers state in the article. Other factors, such as costal migration and urbanization, were seen to decline with time.

The scientists used a sophisticated assessment tool which pooled together different datasets on the level of possible exposure to flooding. These included shoreline, tides, and historical storm surges, which provided a degree of accuracy close to 100 metres.

102,000 people are currently exposed to coastal flooding every year around European coasts. Climate change is expected to increase this to between 1.5 and 3.65 million by the end of the century.

Separate research has found that ice loss in Antarctica has tripled in the past five years, reaching an annual figure of 219 billion tonnes.

To combat the problem, climate adaptation plans need to be in place and stronger levels of investment. Unless measures are taken now the risks from flooding could be “unprecedented”. Flood defences need to be installed that can withstand sea levels ranging from 0.5 to 2.5 metres, the academics concluded.

The article is published in the journal Nature Climate Change.

New research has found that companies which invest on the basis of environmental concerns often receive higher returns.

The study from risk analysts Axioma tracked the performance of portfolios which had incorporated environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors into their investment strategies.

An estimated 80 per cent of leading companies now use ESG metrics to support their investments, up from only 20 percent in 2011.

Data was compiled on the performance of ESG investments over the past nine years for developed markets in Europe, Japan and the US. While the market was slow to start and sometimes underperformed, a notable change has occurred in the past three to five years.

“Our analysis indicates that, in general, increasing exposure to ESG rarely underperforms the market, and often outperforms the market, especially during the last few years,” said lead author Anthony Renshaw.

There are some exceptions, such as in the US prior to 2016 and Japan until 2015 when ESG did marginally worse, otherwise it has either matched or done better than traditional factors, the data suggests.

However, analysts caution that ESG investing remains in its infancy with regulatory changes also impacting the degree of confidence in the data.

The market for sustainable investment is evolving at a rapid pace, helped by stronger growth in the market and policy efforts on the national level. Green bonds, for example, are expected to increase by 30 per cent in 2018 alone, reaching $200 billion.

The European Union is taking an active role in making sustainable finance a key pillar of the sector; in March, it unveiled a long-awaited action plan to accelerate these changes. New rules have since been released which could force investors to disclose how they are accounting for environmental and climate risks in their investment decisions.    

An innovative trial to capture carbon dioxide could be used in alcoholic drinks.

The Drax power company is working on new clean technology, called bioenergy carbon capture and storage (BECCS), at a former coal plant in the north of England.

If the trial is a success the carbon produced in burning biomass could be used in a variety of other industries, including beer production.

It is estimated that one tonne of carbon dioxide could be stored each day, enough to be used in 32,000 pints of beer, or 5.7 million over the six-month trial.

Drax has already held meetings with the British Beer & Pub Association to discuss the possibility. The beverage industry was recently impacted by a European-wide shortage of available carbon dioxide, used to provide the fizz in alcoholic drinks, among other things.

Will Gardiner, Drax Group CEO, commented: “This pilot not only has the potential to ensure the UK meets its climate targets, but for the carbon captured to also help to keep the nation’s beer from going flat – and we’d certainly raise a glass to that.”

Brigid Simmonds, CEO of British Beer & Pub Association, said: “Beer is the nation’s favourite alcoholic beverage and on average pubs serve as much as 10 million pints of beer per day, so the recent shortfall of CO2 was most unwelcome. We hope that these discussions with Drax Group and the potential to increase access to a new source of CO2 in the UK will help ensure that a shortage does not happen again.”

Drax operates the largest power plant in the United Kingdom, consisting of four units which have historically burnt coal. In recent years, the company has converted three of the units to burn wood pellets instead. The final plant is currently undergoing the same upgrade to use renewable power.

The Labour Party in Scotland has upped the ante on climate change targets, outlining a plan to reduce emissions to net-zero by 2050.

The new target stands as a riposte to the Scottish Government, which set out its own ambitious emissions targets in May.

The government bill plans to raise the emissions target to 90 percent by 2050, up from the 80 percent UK-wide target first established by the Climate Change Act in 2008.

The 90 per cent target was seen as “at the limit of feasibility”, according to climate advisers, but was criticised in some quarters as not doing enough to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement.

Claudia Beamish, Labour’s shadow minister for climate change, said the draft bill was too timid.

“It is our duty to step up for global climate justice and Scottish Labour’s climate policy addresses these obligations while giving Scotland time to adapt for the workforce and communities,” she added.

Interim targets have also increased under Labour’s plan, from 66 per cent in the draft bill to 77 per cent by 2030.

Gina Hanrahan of Stop Climate Chaos said: “It’s great to see Scottish Labour back calls for the upcoming Climate Change Bill to include a target to end Scotland’s contribution to climate change by 2050 at the latest and increased action over the next decade.  It’s now up to all parties in the Scottish Parliament to come together, as they did in 2009, to ensure we continue to be amongst the world leading nations in tackling climate change. 

By 2015, Scotland had achieved a 38 per cent reduction on 1990 levels, meaning it was on course to reach its original target of 42 per cent by 2020. However, its draft targets increase this ambition to 56 per cent, piling on the pressure over the next two years.

Photo Credit: Pschemp/CC

Sungrow the Leading providers of PV Solar Inverter Company has opened its regional office in the Kolkata and also successfully organized road show technical seminar of the year 2018 with its unique mobile showroom to better understand solar system & its products.

Energy Storage has been getting a lot of attention lately – but why is it so important?

The world´s largest bifacial solar project was connected as part of a 100 MW installation end of 2017 in Golmud in China´s western province of Qinghai.

PROJECT TEAM: EPC—Joule Energy, joule-energy.com; owner—Boviet Solar USA, bovietsolarusa.com; developer— Hecate Energy, hecateenergy.com

DESIGN & INSTALLATION LEAD: Corey Shalanski, senior PV engineer, Joule Energy

Solar projects are designed as per certain design principles.

North American utilities should be mindful of future competition

A new report from shows Energy Cloud investments made by global utilities now exceed those in the traditional utility value chain.

As utility investments shift from traditional large-scale generation toward distributed renewables, energy services, or software to manage distributed energy resources (DER) in the Energy Cloud, there is an increasing pressure on the industry to innovate. : According to a new report from , European utilities lead the charge in Energy Cloud investments in 2016 and 2017.

“Energy Cloud investments are exceeding in the traditional value chain, with much of the activity being driven by utilities headquartered in Europe,” says Stuart Ravens, principal research analyst with Navigant. “With increased investments related to new technologies and DER, the pressure to innovate is a strategic imperative for utilities to succeed in the future.”

According to the report, to prepare for Navigant’s vision of the Energy Cloud , utilities, stakeholders, and vendors must innovate technologically. In addition, North American utilities should plan to compete with Europe and others and steer away from known obstacles in the innovation process.

This Navigant Research report, , examines utility investment activity, with a focus on preparing for a competitive future. The study compares the number of Energy Cloud and traditional investments made by utilities and examines why Energy Cloud investments now exceed those in the traditional utility value chain. It also provides detailed recommendations on how the utility industry can create an environment in which innovation can thrive. An Executive Summary of the report is available for free download on the .

Contact: Stefanie Bradtner

+49.221.270.70.142

* The information contained in this press release concerning the report, Implementing Innovation Strategies for Utilities, is a summary and reflects Navigant Research’s current expectations based on market data and trend analysis. Market predictions and expectations are inherently uncertain and actual results may differ materially from those contained in this press release or the report. Please refer to the full report for a complete understanding of the assumptions underlying the report’s conclusions and the methodologies used to create the report. Neither Navigant Research nor Navigant undertakes any obligation to update any of the information contained in this press release or the report.

Thanks to considerable cost reductions in photovoltaic modules, solar energy holds increasing appeal for use in the mobility sector. Depending on the type of application, even diesel fuel for trucks can be replaced by photovoltaics to some extent.

The TPedge concept reduces the material and production costs of PV modules, since encapsulation foils and the lamination process are no longer needed. At the same time, the aging stability of the PV module increases appreciably. In the project “TPedge,” researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with their partners have developed processes so that the innovative PV modules can be manufactured on an industrial scale.

India has been actively supporting solar energy power plants and with a target of 100GW of solar power by 2022, this support is poised to be continual. The solar prices however, on other hand have been falling continually over years (Figure 1) which could be contributed to various factors.

The new central distributed inverter comes equipped with the MPPT combination box designed specially for bifacial modules, capable of supporting an increase in the maximum operating current up to 12.5A and a current gain of over 30 percent on the back side of the panel. Image: Sineng Electric

In last few years solar technologies are developed with the exponential rate, whether it is solar storage, Net metering, Remote monitoring or any other segment, but the prime focus of technology is, How to increase the efficiency of the solar panel.

In many ways electricity is the perfect commodity.  From the consumer’s perspective there’s no telling the difference between the quality of a unit of electricity sourced from different power plants of a similar generation type, or for that matter even between units of electricity sourced from different power plants of vastly differing generation types.

Mr Vikash Vohra

Director - Sales & Marketing

SAPA



Challenges faced by company while managing supply chain?

The Challenges are manifold, primarily it is difficult to get accurate forecasts from customers as the lead times are very aggressive due to a lot of uncertainty in the solar industry.

In a typical installation for a solar power plant, aluminium structures require a lot of components and subcomponents which can differ depending on the system being installed on the layout. For example, our Short Rail System comprises of four sub-components, whereas the Additional Tilt System comprises of 7 sub-components. Then add the fact that you require a combination of two or more systems to be applied to the same site. This may seem easy to manage if you are servicing only a handful of projects, however in Sapa, we pride ourselves on servicing multiple projects, large and small, each one with a strict deadline and requiring customized solutions.

Being part of the World’s Largest Aluminium Solutions Company, we have a robust production system to ensure quick turnaround for large volumes. We have inherently reduced the lead time by ensuring ready materials are always in stock for downstream processes of coating and fabrication, all are under a single roof. In addition to the above, we keep ample stocks of subcomponents and accessories, which are imported from Mounting Systems GmBH, Germany.

The standardization of the clamps & subcomponents is another engineering advantage we have for all our products and services all the modules available in the market.

Implementing TQM to maintain quality of the product?

As the Industry Leader, we recognize the importance of compliance and quality in delivering high-value products to customers. All of our manufacturing sites maintain certification standards set by our Hydro Quality System. Being the World’s Largest Aluminium Solutions Company, a lot of our customers are looking for the same quality of products as is received by their counterparts in other countries. Focusing on such specific needs from our customers, we follow the same global quality policies and adopt similar quality maintenance techniques while manufacturing as our other plants in Europe & North America. Total Quality Management (TQM) is an integral part of every process and best quality practices like 5S, Genesis and six sigma are thoroughly followed to achieve customer satisfaction.

How can companies ensure better quality management while manufacturing?

In manufacturing, quality is a process that ensures customers receive products free from defects and meet their needs. Quality must be built in the fundamental of any organization. While manufacturing the challenges are to have control of the processes, this could be achieved by constantly monitoring the process using statistical process control and measurement system analysis. Failure mode effective analysis and control plans help to keep process in the control proactively. Continuous training and motivating employees in the organization for improving the quality builds quality from grassroot. Every day, daily management L1 meeting monitoring quality helps to ensure that all process is in control. Implementation of ISO 9001 Quality System, conducting internal audits and regular management review meeting provides top management focus directly on quality. Total productive maintenance helps the machines and equipments to perform more reliable. Advanced quality planning and production part approval process helps to develop products without defects.

Quality is the standard of the organization.

 

Mr. Bhavesh Modi,

Director,

Sanelite

  • What are the challenges faced by the company in managing the supply chain?
    As most of the people in the industry are aware, this business is capital intensive. You need a huge working capital even if running a comparative smaller industry. Hence the turnaround time which is the time you invest for a product or a project and the time you realize the money must be as short as possible. While there is little issue with the PV modules supply chain, it becomes bigger with the EPC, as there are lot of dependencies on the external factors. There are government agencies involved, Discoms involved, and a whole lot of different suppliers from different sectors. Aggravating the pain are the incentives and subsidies offered by the government for which there is no timeline and no commitment. All in all, it’s all about the turn-around time, the shorter it is, the better you can manage your supply chain.
  •  How you are implementing TQM in order to improve the quality of your products?
    Quality is an integral part of life for all of us at Sanelite. Sanelite Group itself while spread in many verticals stands on the sole pillar of quality. India being a lucrative market, very few people understand the importance of the quality and the value it provides the customer. Very few people understand that the solar projects come with a lifelong promise. And when you commit to the lifetime promise, you cannot afford to deteriorate quality of products. At Sanelite Solar, we take utmost care to provide our customers with the best quality products. We deploy thorough QC procedures and stringent quality checks to maintain TQM. At every stage of the lifecycle, right from raw materials till packaging of the product, right from gathering requirements through commissioning, quality is the principal lived. An important thing to note here that the earlier a defect is identified, the least costly its solution is.
  • How can companies ensure a better quality management while manufacturing?
    Quality is a virtue by itself, and it needs to be lived. For instance, every personnel at our manufacturing facility – labour, engineer, technician, manager, everyone – follows a quality manual. Whatever work they do has a defined set of quality checks to be done, and they are evaluated regularly. The key is that every person being involved in the lifecycle of the product should know his contribution towards the product they are creating, and know the quality standards the product is set to achieve – be it checking raw materials, processing them, operating machines, product testing or packaging.

Mr. Manik Garg,

Director,

Saatvik Green Energy



What are the challenges faced by the company in managing the supply chain?

   Managing the supply chain of any company requires constant coordination between various departments within the organisation as well as all the people involved in a transaction. Since the promoters have an experience in the manufacturing sector of over 30 years, we directly implement their learnings with some customisation to the industry. Given that there are so many raw materials to be procured to assemble solar panels, it becomes very important to restrict the number of vendors, which not only helps maintain the timeline of raw material procurement, but also improves quality. When the product is ready, one of the major challenge that prevails across the industry is to serve the customers located in the other part of the country, due to high transpiration costs. We are overcoming this challenge by building a network of warehouses across states, to help assist regular demand.

How you are implementing TQM in order to improve the quality of your products?

     People. Process. Precision. We work on these three principals to ensure TQM in our organisation. People are the most important resource in any organisation, and we go an extra mile to make sure that our people are performing to their maximum abilities at all times. We conduct regular training and personal guidance sessions for all our staff, to ensure that they are satisfied both at work, and outside work. If processes are well defined and easy to understand, it leaves no room for error. Not only do we comply with ISO, but we have also implemented SAP H4 HANA which helps in automating a lot of manual processes, for superior records and quality implementation. If your people and processes are sorted, precision comes naturally, and we are a very quality conscious company, hence precision plays a very important role. To assist our people and processes, we have all necessary quality control/inspection equipment both in-line and in the laboratory, to ensure precision in our production for highest quality products.

How can companies ensure a better quality management while manufacturing?

    While the basis to have quality management is to install quality inspection tools and equipment in the manufacturing process. Starting from incoming quality control to finished product quality check, various machines can be installed. More important is to train to the people working on these machines, to help achieve the purpose of these machines. Adequate off the job and on the job training to all employees is a prerequisite for better quality. Most important is to set the internal standards as to what is acceptable or not. If the criteria of rejection is kept very basic, the production process will definitely churn out some defective products. Hence, it is a comprehensive process, and depends on the vision of the management. Our values of sustainability and integrity dictate that we follow a strict quality policy, for long term relations with our esteemed customers.

TRENDS - STRUCTURE AND TRACKER

Jayesh S Dhodapkar, Key Account Manager, Sapa Extrusion India Pvt Ltd

  • What are the latest technology trends in PV Structures and Trackers Industry?

In today’s industry, a commercial or an industrial consumer of solar power expects the generation to be maximum with minimal to nil effect on the tariff. Keeping this basic motto in mind, all the structure manufacturers are working on reducing the weight of the structures, both on rooftops as well as ground mount without any compromise on the strength.

At Sapa, we are closely working with our partners “Mounting Systems Gmbh” in Germany to continuously innovate designs for rooftop structures that require additional tilt as well as structures that are flat mounted on metal sheds. Factors like structural stability and clearance from the metal shed for heat dissipation play a vital role. In addition to these factors, our structures factor in installation flexibility by offering mounting clamps suitable for any framed module.

Some of the structure manufacturers in Europe are developing FRP based structures which would be lighter than aluminium or steel, but will have cost implications.

  • What are the current price trends that structures and trackers industry follow?

Prices of structures are directly affected by the metal price index London Metal Exchange. Currently, the prices of most of the metals like aluminium (Structures and module frames), iron/steel (Structures) and Copper (Cables) are at a 7 year high. We are expecting the prices to remain stable with minor fluctuations at least till the first half of 2018.

Modules being 60 % of the total solar project cost an additional safeguard duty (as applicable), would not only affect the project directly, but also the BoS suppliers like structure and cable manufacturers. Currently, structures account for about 10 % of the project cost (including installation) and is the third most costly item in the complete project. Developers and EPCs are expecting a price reduction of at least 15 % over the current prices in order to sustain the project execution. With the price in metal trending bullish, value engineering the structure design is a probable option.

  • Since the projects are increasing in numbers, how has the demand outlook changed for the sector?

With an ambitious target of 40 GW on rooftop solar (by 2022) set by the government, day-by-day increasing number of EPCs, developers and OEMs are entering into the solar market. Given the number of projects going on simultaneously across different states for a single EPC as well, it is important for installers to complete the project quickly and move on to the next site. Supply chain of structures plays a huge role here as they need to be installed first, be it a ground mount or a rooftop solar project.

We at Sapa realised this need of the market well in advance and started regulating stocks of individual products, based on comprehensive analysis of previous data available. Based on the type of product, project capacity and the location of the project, the material can be supplied within a week of the order receipt. In addition to that, we have developed distributors across India, who can cater to local requirement in order to reduce the transit time and thereby support the project execution time.

STORAGE AND SMART SOLAR TECHNOLOGIES

"With Recent Advancements In Energy Storage Technology, How Will Indian Solar Sector Shape Up?"

Pg18 Perspective Sujoy Ghosh Country Head First Solar India

Mr.Sujoy Ghosh, Country Head, First Solar, India

2017 is shaping up to be a record year for solar PV installations worldwide as well as in India. We have also witnessed sub 2cents/kwhr tariffs in auctions in Saudi Arabia and Mexico for projects that are expected to be commissioned over the next 24-30 months, thereby creating a further compression in the overall value chain that needs to be met by equipment suppliers, financing agencies and the service providers (engineering, procurement and O&M).  Hence the companies that continue to focus on reducing costs, increasing scale and lowering their cost of capital/cost of doing business would be able to sustain through these times. Specifically on the PV module technology, the focus would remain on lowering of cost of production by either optimizing manufacturing processes, and/ or leveraging economies of scale. Also with the transition to more installations between the two tropics, there would be equal focus on long term reliability under harsher climates (hot and humid) and quality and consistency of processes would be under increased scrutiny from the end users. 1500V inverters would probably increase their market share as plant owners try to exploit every ounce of optimization feasible in order to achieve lower LCOE’s, while the scale of the blocks increase due to average increase in project capacities. 2018 would also see a an increased focus on hybridization of PV systems with storage or other forms of generation as grid capacity congestion issues begin to start becoming noticeable with the growth in both solar and wind in the recent past.

Pg18 George John mytrah

Mr. George John,Head -Mytrah Global Services,Mytrah Energy

Reverse bidding has become a norm in the renewable energy sector. The low tariffs especially pertaining to Solar sector can be attributed to the decreasing cost of solar modules due to advancement in technology. However, it is noteworthy that even today, most of our capacity comes
from Chinese manufacturers. The heavy emphasis by the government on ‘Make In India’ initiative is expected to drive the domestic manufacturers into building capacities to compete with the Chinese manufacturers. This would increase the self-reliance of the Solar sector by reducing dependencies.Intermittence in energy supply has been an age-old characteristic of renewable energy sector. Although Solar provides a more predictive forecast based on seasonality and time of the day, the power generation remains intermittent. The increasing global awareness on Battery storage and the technological innovations in this sector is bound to impact the Solar sector in the coming year. A successful breakthrough in terms of balancing the capacities and cost will make Solar sector more profitable in future. With Global companies such as Tesla overlooking Battery Storage innovations,this future might not be too far away.From an investment standpoint, Rooftop Solar has gained momentum and this trend is expected to continue into 2018. Rooftop Solar has seen investment from small scale investors as well, since it provides energy security coupled with government incentives.Another interesting trend we expect to see in Solar sector, especially in the near future, is the rise of smart grid solutions and Hybrid models using both wind and solar power generation. The increasing use of digitalization has already reached the Solar sector and we expect to see increased efficiencies because of this.In conclusion, 2018 will be an interesting year for Solar sector from supply chain point of view as well the enhanced efficiencies.

Pg17 Perspective SIndicatum

Mr. Devin Narang Country Head-India Sindicatum Renewable Energy Company.

Globally, India has probably the most robust policies in place for all forms of Renewable energy. What can be expected in 2018 borrows heavily from the initiatives the Government has in store for the sector. Specific targets and a well-defined roadmap to achieving them are encouraging. Addition of power generation capacity – especially through solar parks; building of domestic manufacturing capacities; refinements in Solar Policy (for utility scale & rooftop systems) and Bid Document – in particular, with regard to applicable duties and taxes; resolution of State-specific project development bottlenecks; and enhanced bankability of projects -  these are some initiatives in the offing by the Government. Technology, on the other hand has also grown steadily, reflecting in increased component efficiencies at competitive prices. However, with regard to PV modules, prices are expected to pick up from the lows seen hitherto while stabilizing at the optimum. Although the Indian market is nascent when it comes to Storage, it would be interesting to see how solar projects combined with storage sustain in the long run. Finally, two (interconnected) aspects that need concerted initiative from different stakeholders are: creation of energy demand and ensured energy offtake. Schemes such as ‘Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana’ (DDUGJY) and ‘Ujwal Discom Assurance Yojana’ (UDAY) have been important enabling factors from a macro perspective. Such developments have spurred growth in the sector – which stands at 15GW plus installed capacity on date. The achievement of 100GW of solar isn’t far.

Deployment of utility-scale Renewable Energy, particularly Wind and Solar Power, has progressed rapidly over the last few years despite recent challenges.

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Mr. Vivek Mishra Executive Director Meghraj Capital Advisors Private Limited
 
I foresee Solar attracting maximum investment in the next five years. Solar is the thrust area for GOI for achieving RE targets. The Ecosystem required for its growth has been put in place. The project risks and their mitigation strategies are known.  Solar because of viable tariffs and matured technology has attracted the interest of investors.  
 
The Government of India has set a renewable energy target of 175 GW to be achieved by 2022 of which solar will contribute 100 MW. India’s RE capacity at the end of FY17 was about 57 GW with wind contributing more than half of it, but Solar is gaining ground steadily. If the RE target has to be achieved, the current RE capacity has to triple in the remaining five years. As expected, major capacity contribution has to come from Solar (both IPP and rooftop), where the capacity has to increase at least nine times. In order to facilitate this, Government has put in place conducive policies & programmes (Eg. Solar Park and JNNSM), introduced infrastructure initiatives such as Green Corridors for evacuation from solar rich regions, created a demand push through increased solar RPO (from 2.5% to 8%) for obligated entities, promotion of solar pumps and other solar products, created capacity through Surya Mitra Program and facilitated development of indigenous manufacturing capability through Make in India and push to solar R&D. Government has exempted solar projects from environmental clearances and has facilitated the acquisition of land through Solar Parks. So far 34 Solar Parks in 21 states with a total capacity of 20,000 MW have received in-principle approval under Phase I of the initiative and under Phase II additional 20,000 MW has been approved.
 
Solar rooftop is attractive for Commercial and Industrial consumers as their retail tariffs are considerably higher than the cost of generation in most of the states. These consumers have added significant capacity under capex model. For residential consumers the payback period is still high; however, in future as retail tariffs increase, the solar rooftop will be an attractive proposition for them as well. 
 
It has been estimated that Solar will require investment of around INR 4800 billion, if it has to achieve the target. Fortunately the ever decreasing generation cost, established technology and growing demand has attracted strategic and financial investors, venture capitalists, private equity and pension funds. This has led to flow of investment and adoption of low cost financial innovations such as green bonds.  The solar industry is expected to mature with consolidation and see emergence of professionally managed relatively firms.
 
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Mr. Rahul Goswami, Managing Director, Greenstone Investment Bank
 
Greenstone expects utility scale solar and wind projects to continue to dominate the renewable energy investment sector in India over the next five years. We believe this will be driven by a number of factors:
 
First, the cost of electricity from solar and wind projects has achieved grid parity and the long-term trend suggests that costs will continue to decline. Consequently, we do expect substantial tenders for additional capacity and for utilities to increase their focus on integration and management. 
 
Second, there is substantial existing capital available to fund projects. Several established platforms have sufficient capital lient the appetite to grow substantially. Additionally, the sector continues to witness increasing interest from international groups. 
 
Third, transmission capacity is sufficient to absorb an additional 10 GW+ of intermittent generation based on feedback from industry consultants. Consequently, assuming the other areas can be appropriately managed (such as land acquisition), we do not see significant near term transmission hurdles for renewable energy. 
 
Ultimately, the utility scale renewable energy markets have matured substantially and our expectation is that robust capacity addition will continue over the next five years. 
 

Developers face varied challenges in building and managing a rooftop solar asset portfolio and some of the key challenges have been highlighted below.

Issuances of bonds, non-convertible debentures (NCDs) included have been witnessing record volumes for past 3 years.

Impact Of GST On Solar Sector

Key Driving factors for falling bids in india

Funding into Battery Storage companies was up in the first half

Mercom Capital Group, llc, a global clean energy communications and consulting firm, released its report on funding and mergers and acquisitions (M&A) activity for the Battery Storage, Smart Grid, and Energy Efficiency sectors for the second quarter (Q2) and first half (1H) of 2018. 

Total corporate funding (including venture capital funding, public market, and debt financing) in 1H 2018 was down with $2.4 billion raised compared to $2.8 billion raised in 1H 2017, a 14 percent decrease year-over-year (YoY). The decline in funding in 1H was due to lower funding activity in Smart Grid and Efficiency categories while funding increased in the Battery Storage sector. 

Global VC funding (venture capital, private equity, and corporate venture capital) for Battery Storage, Smart Grid, and Efficiency companies in 1H 2018 was 18 percent lower with $839 million compared to over $1 billion raised in 1H 2017. 

In Q2 2018, VC funding for Battery Storage, Smart Grid, and Efficiency companies decreased to $367 million in 27 deals compared to $472 million in 23 deals in Q1 2018. Funding amounts were 33 percent lower YoY compared to the $591 million raised in 24 deals in Q2 2017.

To get a copy of the report, visit: http://bit.ly/MercomSGQ22018

Battery Storage

VC funding for Battery Storage companies in 1H 2018 was 12 percent higher with $539 million compared to the $480 million raised in 1H 2017. 

Top 5 VC deals in 1H 2018: $80 million raised by Stem, $71 million raised by sonnen, $65 million secured by Ionic Materials, Durapower’s $40 million, and $40 million raised by Ice Energy. A total of 34 VC investors participated in Battery Storage funding in 1H 2018. 

Announced debt and public market financing activity in the first half of 2018 ($142 million in five deals) was 10 percent higher compared to the first half of 2017 when $129 million was raised in nine deals. 

There were four announced Battery Storage project funding deals in 1H 2018 bringing in a combined $34 million compared to $5 million in two deals in 1H 2017. 

In 1H 2018 there were a total of eight (one disclosed) Battery Storage M&A transactions, compared to two transactions (one disclosed) in 1H 2017. There were four Battery Storage M&A transactions in Q2 2018. By comparison, there were four Battery Storage M&A transactions in Q1 2018 and one transaction in Q2 2017. 

In the first halves of 2018 and 2017, there were two Battery Storage project M&A transactions each. There were two Battery Storage project M&A transactions in Q2 2018. By comparison, there were no Battery Storage project M&A transactions in Q1 2018 and two transactions in Q2 2017. 

Smart Grid

VC funding for Smart Grid companies in 1H 2018 was 56 percent lower with $135 million compared to the $304 million raised in 1H 2017. 

In Q2 2018, VC funding for Smart Grid companies decreased to $60 million in four deals compared to $75 million in seven deals in Q1 2018. The funding amount was 57 percent lower YoY compared to $139 million raised in eight deals in Q2 2017. 

Top 5 VC deals in 1H 2018: $55 million raised by Smart Wires, $27 million raised by Bidgely, $20 million secured by Husk Power Systems, Mnubo’s $17 million, $6 million raised by Simple Energy. A total of 19 VC investors participated in Smart Grid funding in 1H 2018. 

Announced debt and public market financing for Smart Grid companies came to $1.3 billion in two deals in 1H 2018 compared to $9 million in one deal in 1H 2017. 

In 1H 2018 there were a total of five Smart Grid M&A transactions (all undisclosed), compared to 13 transactions (three disclosed) in 1H 2017. There were four Smart Grid M&A transactions in Q2 2018. By comparison, there was one Smart Grid M&A transaction in Q1 2018 and six transactions in Q2 2017. 

Efficiency

VC funding for Energy Efficiency companies in 1H 2018 was 32 percent lower with $165 million compared to the $242 million raised in 1H 2017. 

In Q2 2018, VC funding for Efficiency companies decreased to $67 million in six deals compared to $98 million in four deals in Q1 2018. Funding amounts were 131 percent higher YoY compared to $29 million raised in six deals in Q2 2017. 

Top 5 VC deals in 1H 2018: $61 million and $36 million raised by ecobee in two separate deals, $27 million secured by Carbon Lighthouse, Redaptive’s $20 million, and $10 million received by Petros PACE Finance. A total of 20 VC investors participated in Energy Efficiency funding in 1H 2018. 

Announced debt and public market financing activity in the first half of 2018 ($212 million in two deals) was 88 percent lower compared to 1H 2017 when $1.7 billion was raised in nine deals. 

Property Accessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing deals in 1H 2018 came to $694 million in three deals compared to $668 million in same number of deals in 1H 2017. 

In 1H 2018 there were a total of three Efficiency M&A transactions (all undisclosed), compared to five transactions (two disclosed) in 1H 2017. There were two Efficiency M&A transactions in Q2 2018. By comparison, there was one Efficiency M&A transaction in Q1 2018 and Q2 2017 each. 

To get a copy of the report, visit: http://bit.ly/MercomSGQ22018

 

About Mercom Capital Group

Mercom Capital Group, llc, is a global communications and research and consulting firm focused on cleantech. Mercom delivers market intelligence and funding and M&A reports covering Battery Storage, Smart Grid and Energy Efficiency, and Solar, and advises companies on new market entry, custom market intelligence and strategic decision-making. Mercom's communications division helps companies and financial institutions build powerful relationships with media, analysts, local communities, and strategic partners. About Mercom: http://www.mercomcapital.com. Mercom's clean energy reports: http://store.mercom.mercomcapital.com/page/.

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The electricity sector attracted the largest share of energy investments in 2017, sustained by robust spending on grids, exceeding the oil and gas industry for the second year in row, as the energy sector moves toward greater electrification, according to the International Energy Agency’s latest review of global energy spending.

Mercom Capital Group, llc, a global clean energy communications and consulting firm, released its report on funding and merger and acquisition (M&A) activity for the solar sector in the second quarter and first half of 2018. Total corporate funding (including venture capital funding, public market, and debt financing) in the first half (1H) of 2018 was up with $5.3 billion raised compared to the $4.6 billion raised in 1H 2017, a 15 percent increase year-over-year (YoY). 

Corporate funding increased in Q2 2018 with $2.8 billion in 34 deals compared to the $2.5 billion in 44 deals in Q1 2018. Year-over-year funding in Q2 2018 was about 102 percent higher compared to the $1.4 billion in Q2 2017.

To learn more about the report, visit: http://bit.ly/MercomSolarQ22018

 “The first half of 2018 has been a roller-coaster for the solar industry marked by uncertainty due to Trump tariffs followed by the recent Chinese subsidy pullback,” commented Raj Prabhu, CEO of Mercom Capital Group. “Though financial activity was better compared to the same period last year, the market is still sorting out the winners and losers that would come out of a potential slowdown in Chinese demand, which is expected to result in an oversupply situation and eventual price crash in components across the globe.”

Global VC funding (venture capital, private equity, and corporate venture capital) for the solar sector in 1H 2018 was 36 percent lower with $458 million compared to the $716 million raised in the first half of 2017. 

In Q2 2018, VC funding for the solar sector increased to $298 million in 12 deals compared to $161 million in 22 deals in Q1 2018. The funding amount was 133 percent higher YoY compared to the $128 million raised in 23 deals in Q2 2017. 

Top VC deals in 1H 2018 included: $112 million raised by Wunder Capital, $100 million raised by Sunnova, $55 million secured by Off-grid Electric, Sunlight Financials’ $50 million, $25 million raised by d.light design, and the $23 million raise by Solaria. A total of 42 VC investors participated in solar funding in 1H 2018.

Solar public market funding in 1H 2018 was higher compared to the first half of 2017 with $1.25 billion raised in 12 deals compared to $934 million in 19 deals in 1H 2017, a 33 percent increase. Public market financing into the solar sector rose to $1.1 billion in eight deals in Q2 2018 compared to just $103 million in four deals in Q1 2018, and $473 million raised in six deals during Q2 2017. 

Announced debt financing activity in the first half of 2018 ($3.6 billion in 32 deals) was 22 percent higher compared to the first half of 2017 when $3 billion was raised in 33 deals. Most of that increase was due to two securitization deals: Vivint solar raised $466 million through asset back notes and Dividend Finance secured $105 million in a similar deal. 

Large-scale project funding in the first half of 2018 saw $7.96 billion announced for 98 projects compared to 1H 2017 when a record $7.4 billion was raised in 81 project funding deals.

Announced residential and commercial solar funds totaled $625 million in 1H 2018 compared to $1.8 billion in the same period of 2017.

In 1H 2018 there were a total of 46 solar M&A transactions, compared to 41 transactions in 1H 2017. There were 27 solar M&A transactions in Q2 2018. By comparison, there were 19 solar M&A transactions in Q1 2018 and 12 transactions in Q2 2017. Of the 27 total transactions in Q2, 16 involved solar downstream companies, six involved PV manufacturers, three were equipment manufacturers, and two involved BoS companies.

There were 117 large-scale project acquisitions in 1H 2018 totaling 11.6 GW compared to 101 project acquisitions totaling 10.9 GW in the first half of 2017.

Investment firms and funds were the most active acquirers in 1H 2018, picking up projects totaling 4 GW.

There were 269 companies and investors covered in this report. It is 78 pages in length and contains 78 charts, graphs, and tables.

 To learn more about the report, visit: http://bit.ly/MercomSolarQ22018

 

About Mercom Capital Group

Mercom Capital Group, llc, is a global communications and consulting firm focused exclusively on clean energy and financial communications. Mercom’s consulting division advises cleantech companies on new market entry, custom market intelligence and overall strategic decision making. Mercom’s consulting division also delivers highly respected industry market intelligence reports covering Solar Energy and Battery Storage/Smart Grid/Efficiency. Our reports provide timely industry happenings and ahead-of-the-curve analysis specifically for C-level decision making. Mercom’s communications division helps clean energy companies and financial institutions build powerful relationships with media, analysts, government decision makers, local communities and strategic partners. For more information about Mercom Capital Group, visit: http://www.mercomcapital.com. To get a copy of Mercom’s popular market intelligence reports, visit: http://eepurl.com/cCZ6nT

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Mercom Capital Group, llc, a global clean energy communications and consulting firm, released its report on funding and mergers and acquisitions (M&A) activity for the Battery Storage, Smart Grid, and Energy Efficiency sectors for the first quarter of 2018.

To get a copy of the report, visit: http://bit.ly/MercomSGQ12018

Battery Storage

Corporate funding in Battery Storage came to $299 million in 12 deals compared to $154 million in six deals in Q4 2017. In a year-over-year (YoY) comparison, $80 million was raised in 10 deals in Q1 2017. 

Venture capital (VC) funding (including private equity and corporate venture capital) raised by Battery Storage companies in Q1 2018 jumped to $299 million in 12 deals from $151 million in five deals in Q4 2017 due to some large deals in the quarter. Year-over-year, funding was significantly higher compared to the $58 million raised in eight deals in Q1 2017. 

The top five VC funded Battery Storage companies this quarter were: Stem, which raised $80 million from Activate Capital; Ionic Materials secured $65 million from Dyson, Samsung, A123, Hitachi, Renualt, Nissan, and Mitsubishi; Durapower secured an investment of $40.18 million from Banpu Infinergy Company and K-IX Ace; Battery Energy Storage Solutions (BESS) received ~$38.5 million in funding from Santander Corporate & Commercial; and $34 million was raised by Solid Energy.

Fifteen investors participated in Battery Storage funding this quarter with Energy Storage Systems companies raising the most. 

There were four M&A transactions involving Battery Storage companies in Q1 2018 and the financial details of the transactions were not disclosed. In Q4 2017 and Q1 2017, there was one M&A transaction each that did not disclose a transaction amount. 

Smart Grid

Corporate funding in Smart Grid came to $1.3 billion in nine deals compared to $796 million in 12 deals in Q4 2017. In a YoY comparison, $164 million was raised in 14 deals in Q1 2017. 

VC funding for Smart Grid companies increased 79 percent in Q1 2018 with $75 million in seven deals compared to $42 million in nine deals in Q4 2017. In a YoY comparison, in Q1 2017 $164 million was raised in 14 deals. 

The top VC funded Smart Grid companies included: Bidgely, which secured $27 million from Georgian Partners, Khosla Ventures, E.ON, innogy, and Constellation Technology Ventures; Husk Power Systems received an equity investment of $20 million from Shell Technology Ventures, Swedfund International, and ENGIE Rassembleurs d’Energies; and Mnubo raised $16.5 million from HSB Group. 

Fifteen investors participated in Smart Grid VC funding rounds this quarter with SG Communications companies raising the most. 

A combined $1.3 billion was raised in two debt financing deals in Q1 2018, compared to $754 million raised in three deals in Q4 2017. 

One M&A transaction was announced in Q1 2018 and it did not disclose a transaction amount, compared to eight transactions (two disclosed) in Q4 2017. In a YoY comparison, there were seven M&A transactions in Q1 2017. 

Efficiency

Corporate funding in Energy Efficiency came to $104 million in five deals compared to $916 million in 14 deals in Q4 2017. In a YoY comparison, $514 million was raised in 17 deals in Q1 2017. 

VC funding raised by Energy Efficiency companies in Q1 2018 remained steady at $98 million in four deals compared to $95 million in 10 deals in Q4 2017. In a YoY comparison, $213 million was raised in 14 deals in Q1 2017. 

The Top Efficiency deals included: $61 million raised by ecobee from Energy Impact Partners and eight institutional investors including Thomvest, Relay Ventures, and the Amazon Alexa Fund; the $27 million raised by Carbon Lighthouse from GRC SinoGreen Fund, JCI Ventures, SV Tech Ventures, EBay founder Pierre Omidyar’s Ulupono Initiative, Ekistic Ventures, Tom Steyer’s Radicle Impact Partners, former General Motors Vice Chairman Steve Girsky, and Tesla Chief Technology Officer Jeffrey B. Straubel; and the $10 million received by Petros PACE Finance from former Major League Baseball player Alex Rodriguez and his investment firm A-ROD.

Fifteen investors participated in VC funding this quarter. Within the sector, Temperature Control companies brought in the most funding. 

Debt and public market financing for Efficiency companies fell to $6 million in one deal this quarter compared to $621 million in three deals in Q4 2017. 

In Q1 2018, there was one M&A transaction (transaction details not disclosed) while in Q4 2017, there were three M&A transactions (all undisclosed). In Q1 2017, there were four M&A transactions in the Energy Efficiency sector, two of which disclosed transaction details. 

To get a copy of the report, visit: http://bit.ly/MercomSGQ12018

About Mercom Capital Group

Mercom Capital Group, llc, is a global communications and research and consulting firm focused on cleantech. Mercom delivers market intelligence and funding and M&A reports covering Battery Storage, Smart Grid and Energy Efficiency, and Solar, and advises companies on new market entry, custom market intelligence and strategic decision-making. Mercom's communications division helps companies and financial institutions build powerful relationships with media, analysts, local communities, and strategic partners. About Mercom: http://www.mercomcapital.com. Mercom's clean energy reports: http://store.mercom.mercomcapital.com/page/

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Sector adds record 167 gigawatts (GW) of generating capacity, expands 8.3% in 2017

Mercom Capital Group, llc, a global clean energy communications and consulting firm, released its report on funding and merger and acquisition (M&A) activity for the global solar sector in the first quarter of 2018. Total corporate funding (including venture capital funding, public market, and debt financing) into the solar sector in Q1 2018 fell 65 percent quarter-over-quarter (QoQ) to $2 billion from the $5.7 billion raised in Q4 2017. Year-over-year (YoY), Q1 2018 funding was 38 percent lower than the $3.2 billion raised in Q1 2017.

To learn more about the report, visithttp://bit.ly/MercomSolarQ12018

“After a strong fourth quarter in 2017, financial activity slowed again in Q1 2018 to the post-tariff announcement levels of last year as uncertainties and a lack of clarity in the markets took a toll on investments,” commented Raj Prabhu, CEO of Mercom Capital Group. “The bright spot during Q1 was a record-high number of solar project acquisitions, proving that solar power generation is a sought-after asset class.” 

Global VC funding (venture capital, private equity, and corporate venture capital) for the solar sector fell 75 percent QoQ to $161 million in 22 deals compared to the $639 million raised in 30 deals in Q4 2017. The amount raised was also lower YoY compared to the $588 million raised in 23 deals in Q1 2017. 

The majority of the VC funding raised in Q1 2018 went to solar downstream companies with $124.5 million in 18 deals.

The top VC deals in descending order included: $55 million raised by Off Grid Electric, $25 million raised by d.light design, $23 million secured by Solaria Corporation, $12.5 million raised by Renewable Properties, $11 million raised by Kiran Energy Solar, and M-KOPA’s $10 million deal. A total of 30 VC investors participated in solar funding in Q1 2018. 

Solar public market financing came to $103 million in four deals in Q1 2018, a steep decline QoQ from the $657 million raised in 10 deals in Q4 2017. It was also significantly lower YoY than Q1 2017 when $461 million was raised in 13 deals. Sky Energy had the only solar IPO in Q1 2018. 

Announced debt financing totaled $1.8 billion in 17 deals during the first quarter of 2018. In a QoQ comparison, 23 deals were announced in Q4 2017 for a total of $4.4 billion. YoY, $2.2 billion was raised in 25 deals in Q1 2017. Most of the debt raised in Q1 2018 was by solar downstream companies. 

Large-scale project funding announced in Q1 2018 totaled $2.7 billion in 58 deals, down from $3.7 billion in 49 deals announced in Q4 2017. In a YoY comparison, $2.6 billion was raised in 33 deals in Q1 2017.

Just one residential and commercial solar fund was announced in Q1 2018 (for $400 million), compared to $213 million raised in three funds in Q4 2017. During the same quarter of last year (Q1 2017), $630 million was raised in six funds. 

There were 19 solar M&A transactions announced in Q1 2018 compared to 13 transactions in Q4 2017 and 29 transactions in Q1 2017. Of the 19 total transactions in Q1 2018, 10 involved solar downstream companies. 

There were 80 large-scale solar project acquisitions (16 disclosed for $1.9 billion) in Q1 2018 compared to 67 transactions (26 disclosed for $3.7 billion) in Q4 2017. In a YoY comparison, 49 transactions (18 disclosed for $1.9 billion) were announced Q1 2017. About 7.7 GW of large-scale solar projects were acquired in Q1 2018 compared to 5.8 GW acquired in Q4 2017. There were 20 investment firms and funds that acquired 24 projects in Q1 2018, totaling 1.2 GW, followed by utilities and IPPs where 13 companies picked up 30 projects totaling 1.3 GW. Twelve Project developers acquired 14 projects for 3.4 GW during the quarter.

There were 328 companies and investors covered in this report. It is 87 pages in length, and contains 64 charts, graphs and tables.

To learn more about the report, visit: http://bit.ly/MercomSolarQ12018

About Mercom Capital Group

Mercom Capital Group, llc, is a global communications and consulting firm focused exclusively on clean energy and financial communications. Mercom’s consulting division advises cleantech companies on new market entry, custom market intelligence, and overall strategic decision making. Mercom’s consulting division also delivers highly respected industry market intelligence reports covering Solar Energy and Smart Grid technology. Our reports provide timely information on industry happenings and ahead-of-the-curve analysis for C-level decision makers. Mercom’s communications division helps clean energy companies and financial institutions build powerful relationships with media, analysts, government decision makers, communities, and strategic partners. For more information about Mercom Capital Group, visit: http://www.mercomcapital.com. To receive a copy of Mercom’s popular weekly market intelligence reports, visit: http://eepurl.com/cCZ6nT.

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Battery Storage companies secure $714 million; Smart Grid companies bring in $422 million; and Energy Efficiency companies receive $384 million

Mercom Capital Group, llc, a global clean energy research and communications firm, released its report on funding and mergers and acquisitions (M&A) activity for the Battery Storage, Smart Grid, and Energy Efficiency sectors for 2017. 

To get a copy of the report, visit: http://bit.ly/MercomSGQ42017

In 2017, a combined $1.5 billion was raised by Battery Storage, Smart Grid, and Energy Efficiency companies, an increase from the $1.3 billion raised in 2016.

Battery Storage

In 2017, VC funding into Battery Storage companies almost doubled to $714 million raised in 30 deals from the $365 million raised in 38 deals in 2016, largely due to the $400 million Microvast deal. Total corporate funding, including debt and public market financing, rose to $890 million compared to $540 million in 2016. 

Energy Storage Downstream companies received the most funding with $68 million followed by Lithium-based Battery companies with $65 million.

The top VC funded companies included: Microvast Power Systems with $400 million, Battery Energy Storage Solutions (BESS) with $66 million, Forsee Power brought in $65 million, Advanced Microgrid Solutions (AMS) raised $34 million, and Primus Power raised $32 million.

Eighty-six VC investors participated in Battery Storage deals in 2017 compared to 62 in 2016.

In 2017, announced debt and public market financing for Battery Storage companies remained steady at $177 million raised in 12 deals compared to $175 million generated by eight deals in 2016.

Three project funds totaling $446 million were announced in the Battery Storage category in 2017, compared to $820 million raised in 2016 in seven deals.

Nine Battery Storage project funding deals were announced in 2017 totaling nearly $2.1 billion. By comparison, just $33 million was raised in four deals in 2016.

There were six M&A transactions in the Battery Storage category in 2017, of which only two disclosed transaction amounts. In 2016 there were 11 M&A transactions, three of which disclosed transaction amounts.

Smart Grid

VC funding in the Smart Grid sector rose to $422 million in 45 deals in 2017, compared to $389 million raised in 42 deals in 2016. Total corporate funding, including debt and public market financing, came to $1.2 billion compared to $613 million in 2016.

The top VC funded companies in 2017 were ChargePoint, which brought in $82 million and $43 million in two separate deals, Actility which received $75 million, Brilliant which secured $21 million, and Particle and Urjanet each raising $20 million.

Eighty-eight investors funded Smart Grid companies in 2017, compared to 82 in 2016. Top VC investors in 2017 included: ABB Technology Ventures, Braemar Energy Ventures, Chrysalix Venture Capital, Clean Energy Finance Corporation, Energy Impact Partners, EnerTech Capital, GE Ventures, innogy, National Grid, Obvious Ventures, and Siemens.

Smart Charging of plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV), vehicle-to-grid (V2G) companies, had the largest share of VC funding in 2017 with $155 million in 10 deals, followed by Demand Response companies with $94 million in four deals.

In 2017, five debt and public market financing deals totaling $774 million were announced, compared to $224 million raised in five deals in 2016. There were no IPOs announced for Smart Grid companies in 2017.

There were 27 M&A transactions recorded in the Smart Grid sector (just seven of these deals disclosed transaction amounts) in 2017 totaling $2.5 billion. In 2016 there were 15 transactions (four disclosed) for $2.4 billion. The top disclosed transaction was the $1.1 billion acquisition of Aclara by Hubbell.

Efficiency

VC funding for the Energy Efficiency sector fell to $384 million in 38 deals in 2017 compared to $528 million in 33 deals in 2016. Total corporate funding, including debt and public market financing, was $3.3 billion, compared to $3.8 billion in 2016.

The top VC funded companies were View, which raised $100 million, followed by Kinestral Technologies with $65 million, RENEW Energy Partners with $40 million, Power Survey and Equipment brought in $24 million, and Stack Lighting with $16 million.

Efficient Home/Building companies captured the most funding with $172 million in five deals in 2017. A total of 51 investors participated in funding deals in 2017 compared to 72 investors in 2016. Energy Impact Partners was the most active investor in 2017. 

In 2017, debt and public market financing announced by Energy Efficiency companies fell to $2.9 billion in 16 deals compared to the $3.2 billion raised in 16 deals in 2016. 2017 saw seven Property Accessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing deals bring in more than $1.6 billion compared to 12 deals that brought in $2.3 billion in 2016. 

There were two securitization deals in 2017 for nearly $581 million compared to nine securitization deals for $1.8 billion in 2016. Securitization deals have now exceeded $4.5 billion in 24 deals since 2014. 

M&A activity for the Efficiency sector in 2017 dropped to 10 transactions, three of which disclosed transaction amounts. In 2016, there were 14 M&A transactions with five that disclosed transaction amounts. 

The largest disclosed transaction was the $526 million acquisition of LEDvance by a Chinese consortium consisting of IDG Capital, MLS, and Yiwu. 

To get a copy of the report, visit: http://bit.ly/MercomSGQ42017

About Mercom Capital Group

Mercom Capital Group, llc, is a global communications and research and consulting firm focused on cleantech. Mercom delivers market intelligence and funding and M&A reports covering Battery Storage, Smart Grid and Energy Efficiency, and Solar, and advises companies on new market entry, custom market intelligence and strategic decision-making. Mercom's communications division helps companies and financial institutions build powerful relationships with media, analysts, local communities, and strategic partners. About Mercom: http://www.mercomcapital.com. Mercom's clean energy reports: http://store.mercom.mercomcapital.com/page/.

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Mercom Capital Group, llc, a global clean energy communications and consulting firm, has released its annual report on funding and merger and acquisition (M&A) activity for the solar sector in 2017. 

Total global corporate funding into the solar sector, including venture capital/private equity (VC), debt financing, and public market financing raised came to $12.8 billion, a 41 percent increase compared to the $9.1 billion raised in 2016.  

To learn more about Mercom’s 2017 Solar Funding and M&A Report, visit: http://bit.ly/MercomSolarQ42017

"A strong fourth quarter pushed overall funding higher in 2017. Higher installation levels around the world, the lack of threat to the solar investment tax credit, lower than expected tariff recommendation by U.S. ITC, strong debt financing activity, and over a billion dollars in securitization deals helped the solar industry have a much better year in terms of financial activity compared to 2016. After several challenging years, most of the solar securities were up in 2017 reflecting overall positive sentiments around the solar industry even as several Chinese manufacturers decided to go private. Of course, all this could change swiftly if President Trump decides to impose higher tariffs in the trade case," commented Raj Prabhu, CEO and Co-Founder of Mercom Capital Group. 

Global VC investments came to $1.6 billion in 99 deals in 2017, up 30 percent from the $1.3 billion raised by 78 deals in 2016 - led by several large private equity deals in India.  

Solar downstream companies accounted for 85 percent of total VC funding in 2017, bringing in $1.4 billion of the total $1.6 billion raised. Thin-film companies brought in $106 million while service providers raised $47 million. 

Investments in PV technology companies came to $40 million and Balance of Systems (BoS) companies raised $36 million. The concentrated solar power (CSP) category raised $8 million and the concentrator photovoltaics (CPV) category received $6 million. 

The top VC/PE deals reported in 2017 included a deal for $200 million signed by Lightsource Renewable Energy. ReNew Power also had two deals of $200 million each, followed by Greenko Energy Holdings which raised $155 million. Hero Future Energies raised $125 million and CleanMax Solar raised $100 million. Overall, five of the top six solar VC funding deals in 2017 came from India.

There were 162 VC/PE investors that participated in funding rounds in 2017, with eight involved in multiple rounds: Engie, Avista Development, DSM Venturing, InnoEnergy, Innogy, International Finance Corporation (IFC), Shell, and Techstars. 

Public market financing was flat in 2017 to $1.7 billion raised in 33 deals from $1.8 billion raised in 27 deals in 2016. Three IPOs were logged during the year that raised a combined total of $363 million for Canadian Solar Infrastructure Fund, New Energy Solar Fund, and Clenergy. 

Announced debt financing in 2017 surged to $9.5 billion compared to $6 billion in 2016. There were six securitization deals in 2017 totaling $1.3 billion. Securitization deals surpassed the $1 billion for the  year, a first. 

Large-scale project funding announced in 2017 reached a $14 billion raised in 167 deals, compared to $9.4 billion raised in 133 deals during 2016. A total of 161 investors funded about 20.5 GW of large-scale solar projects in 2017 compared to 5.9 GW funded by 153 investors in 2016. 

The top investors in large-scale projects included Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC), which invested in 13 projects, followed by Santander with eight deals, and Commonwealth Bank of Australia and Siemens Financial Services with six deals each. 

$2.4 billion was raised by 16 residential and commercial solar project funds in 2017 which was down 50 percent compared to $4.9 billion raised by 30 funds in 2016. The top fundraisers were: Sunlight Financial, Sunnova, Solar Mosaic, SolarCity, and Spruce Finance. Since 2009, solar residential and commercial firms offering leases, PPAs, and loans have raised more than $24.8 billion in lease and loan funds. 

There were 71 corporate M&A transactions in the solar sector in 2017, up slightly from 68 transactions recorded in 2016. Solar downstream companies were involved in 51 of these transactions. Engie acquired three companies while BayWa, Brookfield Asset Management, Horizon Solar Power, Siva Power, Solar Spectrum, and Sonnedix acquired two companies each. The largest and the most notable transaction in 2017 was the $1.6 billion acquisition of FTP Power (sPower) by AES and Alberta Investment Management (AIMCo) from Fir Tree Partners.

Project acquisitions jumped up 67 percent as a record 228 large-scale solar projects with a combined capacity of more than 20.4 GW were acquired in 2017, compared to 2016 when 12.2 GW changed hands in 218 transactions. 

Mercom also tracked 187 large-scale project announcements across the globe that totaled 10.6 GW in Q4 2017 and 922 large-scale project announcements totaling 50.1 GW for all of 2017.

To learn more about Mercom’s 2017 Solar Funding and M&A Report, visit: http://bit.ly/MercomSolarQ42017

 

About Mercom Capital Group

Mercom Capital Group, llc, is a global communications and consulting firm focused exclusively on clean energy and financial communications. Mercom’s consulting division advises cleantech companies on new market entry, custom market intelligence, and overall strategic decision making. Mercom’s consulting division also delivers highly respected industry market intelligence reports covering Solar Energy and Smart Grid. Our reports provide timely industry happenings and ahead-of-the-curve analysis specifically for C-level decision making. Mercom’s communications division helps clean energy companies and financial institutions build powerful relationships with media, analysts, government decision makers, local communities, and strategic partners. For more information about Mercom Capital Group, visit: http://www.mercomcapital.com. To get a copy of Mercom’s popular market intelligence reports, visit: http://eepurl.com/cCZ6nT.

The prices attained in recent auctions are influenced by several factors

The importance of quality infrastructure across the solar value chain

Various Instruments For India’s Clean Energy Support Measures 

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Credits: IRENA REMap India Paper 2017

Mercom Capital Group, llc, a global clean energy communications and consulting firm, has released its latest quarterly report on funding and merger and acquisition (M&A) activity for the Battery Storage, Smart Grid, and Energy Efficiency sectors during the third quarter and first nine months of 2017. 

To get a copy of the report, visit: http://bit.ly/MercomSGQ32017

Mercom found that, in the first nine months (9M) of 2017, $1.23 billion was raised by Battery Storage, Smart Grid, and Efficiency companies, up from $910 million raised in 9M 2016.

Battery Storage

In Q3 2017, VC funding for Battery Storage companies dropped to $83 million in seven deals compared to $422 million raised in 10 deals during Q2 2017. A year earlier, $30 million was raised in nine deals in Q3 2016. In 9M 2017, $563 million was raised in 25 deals compared to $209 million raised in 29 deals in 9M 2016. 

The top VC funded Battery Storage companies in Q3 2017 were: Advanced Microgrid Solutions, which raised $34 million from Energy Impact Partners, Southern Company, DBL Partners, GE Ventures, AGL Energy, Macquarie Capital, and former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger; Romeo Power, which raised $30 million; and Gridtential Energy, which secured $11 million from 1955 Capital, East Penn Manufacturing, Crown Battery Manufacturing, Leoch International, Power-Sonic, The Roda Group, and the company's chairman, Ray Kubis. 

In all, 16 investors participated in Battery Storage funding in Q3 2017 with Energy Storage Downstream companies raising the most. 

The third quarter saw two debt and public market financing deals in Battery Storage totaling $45 million compared to $107 million raised in seven deals in Q2 2017. In 9M 2017, $174 million was raised in 11 deals compared to six deals that brought in $120 million in 9M 2016. 

There was one M&A transaction involving a Battery Storage company in Q3 2017 compared to three M&A transactions in Q2 2017. In the first nine months of 2017, there were five transactions (two disclosed), down from nine transactions (two disclosed) in 9M 2016. Two Storage projects were also acquired in Q3 2017.

Smart Grid

VC funding for Smart Grid companies in Q3 2017 totaled $76 million in 14 deals, compared to $139 million raised in eight deals in Q2 2017. In a year-over-year (YoY) comparison, $11 million was raised in seven deals in Q3 2016. In 9M 2017, $380 million was raised in 36 deals compared to $343 million raised in the same number of deals in 9M 2016. 

Top VC funded Smart Grid companies included: Particle, which secured $20 million from Spark Capital, Qualcomm Ventures, and previous investors; INTEREL, which raised $11.9 million in funding from Jolt Capital; Roost, which received $10.4 million in funding from Aviva Ventures, Desjardins Insurance, and Fosun RZ Capital; Tritium, which secured $8 million from entrepreneur Brian Flannery; and Innowatts, which raised $6 million from Shell Technology Ventures, Iberdrola Ventures - Perseo, and Energy & Environment Investment. 

In all, 28 investors participated in Smart Grid VC funding rounds in Q3 2017, with SG Communications companies raising the most. 

A total of $11 million was raised in one debt financing deal in Q3 2017 compared to the $9 million raised in one deal in Q2 2017. In 9M 2017, $20 million was raised in two deals compared to $217 million raised in four deals in 9M 2016. 

There were six M&A transactions (two disclosed) in Q3 2017. In Q2 2017, there were six transactions (two disclosed). In 9M 2017, there were 19 transactions (five disclosed) compared to 13 transactions (four disclosed) in 9M 2016. 

Efficiency

VC funding raised by Energy Efficiency companies in Q3 2017 came to $47 million in eight deals compared to $29 million raised in six deals in Q2 2017. In a YoY comparison, $61 million was raised in five deals in Q3 2016. In the first nine months of 2017, $289 million was raised by Energy Efficiency companies in 28 deals compared to $358 million raised in the same number of deals in 9M 2016. 

The Top VC deals in the efficiency category included: Power Survey and Equipment, which received $24 million in funding from EnerTech Capital, Investissement Quebec, Cycle Capital Management, Fonds de solidarite FTQ, and BDC Capital; Corvi, which received a $10 million strategic investment from Hero Enterprise; and Deco Lighting, which secured $8 million in funding from Siena Funding. 

In all, nine investors participated in VC funding in Q3 2017. Within the sector, Efficiency Components companies brought in the most funding. 

Announced debt and public market financing for Energy Efficiency technologies plunged to $615 million in four deals in Q3 2017 compared to the $1.4 billion raised in six deals in Q2 2017. In 9M 2017, $2.3 billion was raised in 13 deals compared to the same amount raised in 11 deals in 9M 2016. 

There was one Property Accessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing deal in Q3 2017 for $205 million versus three deals in Q2 2017 that raised $668 million. In 9M 2017, $873 million was raised in four deals compared to the $1.3 billion raised in six deals in 9M 2016. 

There were two M&A transactions (one disclosed) involving Energy Efficiency companies in Q3 2017, up from just one undisclosed transaction in Q2 2017. For the first nine months of 2017, there were seven transactions (three disclosed), down from 12 transactions in 9M 2016 (four disclosed).

To get a copy of the report, visit: http://bit.ly/MercomSGQ32017

 

About Mercom Capital Group

Mercom Capital Group, llc, is a global communications and research and consulting firm focused on cleantech. Mercom delivers market intelligence and funding and M&A reports covering Battery Storage, Smart Grid, and Energy Efficiency and Solar and advises companies on new market entry, custom market intelligence and strategic decision-making. Mercom's communications division helps companies and financial institutions build powerful relationships with media, analysts, local communities, and strategic partners. About Mercom: http://www.mercomcapital.com. Mercom's clean energy reports: http://store.mercom.mercomcapital.com/page/.

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