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Rueil-Malmaison (France), May 23, 2017Neoen, the premier French independent power producer and Schneider Electric, the global specialist in energy management and automation, have signed a 750 MW Conext SmartGenTM multi-year framework agreement on three continents.  The scope includes: conversion stations composed of 1500V inverters, medium voltage switchgear, transformers, and complete monitoring and control system, as well as lifecycle maintenance services.

Neoen and Schneider Electric welcome this collaboration as a major joint initiative in providing more affordable and reliable clean energy.

Neoen decided to enter a framework agreement to secure electrical design, launch grid impact studies at an early stage in the development process, and leverage volumes.  “We selected Schneider Electric after a global competitive process based on the best LCOE[1].  Having worked with Schneider Electric on the Cestas 300 MW project we were pleased with Schneider Electrics’ level of involvement, responsive service team, and track record of their high performing operating plant solutions,” explained Xavier Barbaro, CEO of Neoen.

“With a global footprint and long-term commitment in Solar, Schneider Electric delivers projects and long-term service contracts for solar power plants worldwide in an efficient way, which will continue to benefit international solar businesses such as Neoen. We decided to set-up a dedicated service team to support Neoen and their EPC partners to increase reactivity and support in this very dynamic market,” said Robert Immele, Solar Business CEO at Schneider Electric.

[1] Levelized Cost Of Energy

About Neoen

Founded in 2008, Neoen is an independent producer of electricity from renewable sources (solar, wind and biomass) and is the first private French company to attain 1000 MW of installed power. Neoen operates in France, Australia, El Salvador, Mexico, Zambia, Mozambique, Jordan, Jamaica, Portugal and Ireland. Neoen’s main shareholders are Impala SAS (owned by Jacques Veyrat), the fund Capénergie II (managed by Omnes Capital) and Bpifrance. Neoen aims to attain at least 3,000 MW by 2020.

See www.neoen.com for details

About Schneider Electric

Schneider Electric is the global specialist in energy management and automation. With revenues of ~€25 billion in FY2016, our 144,000 employees serve customers in over 100 countries, helping them to manage their energy and process in ways that are safe, reliable, efficient and sustainable. From the simplest of switches to complex operational systems, our technology, software and services improve the way our customers manage and automate their operations. Our connected technologies reshape industries, transform cities and enrich lives. At Schneider Electric, we call this Life Is On.

www.schneider-electric.com

Hashtags:  #Solar #ConextSmartGen

Read more: Neoen enters framework agreement with Schneider...

Indian solar tariffs are in a state of free fall. New record lows are created in the recent round of auctions of 500MW solar projects.

 

ACME Solar emerged as the lowest bidder followed by SBG Cleantech. The auction was a very tightly fought one with Hero Solar Energy and Renew Power missing out by 0.02 paise and 0.03 paise respectively.

Here are the details

 

Bidder's Name Tariff Bidders Quantity
ACME Solar Holdings Private Ltd 2.44 200
SBG Cleantech One Ltd 2.45 500
Hero Solar Energy Pvt. Ltd. 2.46 300
Renew Solar Power Pvt. Ltd. 2.47 500
Awaada Power Pvt. Ltd. 2.6 200
Shhapoorji Pallonji Infrastructure Capital Company Pvt. Ltd. 2.65 400
RatanIndia Solar 3 Pvt Ltd.  2.87 100
Duroc Solar 2.88 100
Orange Renewable Power Pvt. Ltd. 2.95 200
Lightsource Renewable Energy Holdings Ltd. 2.98 100
Solairedirect Energy India Pvt. Ltd. 3.08 300
Mahoba Solar (UP) Pvt. Ltd. 3.14 300
Aditya Birla Renewables Ltd. 3.18 200

 

Here is the complete list of solar parks in India along with their implementing agencies.

 

State

Solar Park Implementation Status

Name / Locataion

Capacity (MW)

In-principle Approval (Date)

Implementing Agency (SPPD)

A and N Islands

A&N Solar Park, South Andaman Dist at 1. Mithakhari, 2. Havelock Island, 

3. Neil Island, 4. Garacharama (Attam Pahar), 5. Chidiyatapu

100

21-08-2015

NTPC

Andhra Pradesh

Anantpur Ultra Mega Solar Park, Location: N.P.Kunta and P.Kothapalli, N.P.Kunta Mandal, Ananthapuramu District.

1500

28-11-2014

 AP Solar Power Corporation Pvt. Ltd. (APSPCL), A JV of SECI, APGENCO & NREDCAP

Kadapa Solar Park, Thalamanchipatnam, Ponnampalli, Rama Chandraya Palli, Dhondiam and Vaddirala villages of Mylavaram Mandal of Kadapa District

1000

28/07/2015 & 09/10/2015

Kurnool Ultra Mega Solar Park, Gani and Sakunala Villages of Kurnool Distric

1000

28-11-2014

Ananathapurumu II Solar Park, Talaricheruvu & Aluru vill. of Tadipatri Mandal of Ananthapuramu District.

500

14.01.2016

Arunachal Pradesh

Lohit Solar Park, Lohit Dist

100

29-04-2015

Arunachal Pradesh Energy Development Agency (APEDA)

Assam

Amguri Solar Park, Amguri & Sibsagar District

69

28-08-2015

JV of Assam Power Distribution Company Ltd. (APDCL), Assam Power Generation Corp. Ltd (APGCL)

Chhattisgarh

Rajnandgaon

500

29-09-2015

Chhattisgarh State Renewable Energy Development Agency (CREDA)

Gujarat

Radhanesda Solar Park, Radhanesda Vill. Vav Tehsi, District Banskantha 

700

01-12-2014

Gujarat Power Corporation Limited (GPCL)

Haryana

At Bugan in Hisar Dist., Baralu & Singhani in Bhiwani Dist., Daukhera in Mahendergarh Dist.

500

15-01-2016

Saur Urja Nigam Haryana Ltd.(SUN Haryana), A SPV between HSIIDC and HPGCL

Himachal Pradesh

Kaza Solar Park, Spiti Valley

1000

09-04-2015

HP State Electricity Board Ltd.

J&K

Mohargarh and Badla Brahmana, District Samba

100

29-09-2015

J&K Energy Dev. Agency (JAKEDA)

Karnataka

Tumkur Solar Park Vallur, Ballasamudra, Tirumani, Rayacherlu & Kyataganacherlu of Nagalamadike Hobli, Pavagada Taluk, Tumkur Dist

2000

19-03-2015

Karnataka Solar Power Development Corporation Ltd. (KSPDCL) A JV of SECI & KREDL 

Kerala

Kasargod Solar Park At Paivalike, Meenja, Kinnoor, Kraindalam and Ambalathara Villages of Kasargode Dist

200

19-03-2015

Renewable Energy Corporation of Kerala (JVC of SECI and KSEB)

Madhya Pradesh

Rewa Ultra Mega Solar Ltd.

Vill.- Badwar, Itar Pahad, Ramnagar, Barseta Tehsil- Gurh Dist- Rewa

750

01-12-2014

 Rewa Ultra Mega Solar Ltd. A JV of SECI & MPUVNL

Neemuch-Mandsaur Solar Park (Neemuch-250 MW & Mandsaur-250 MW)

500

08.06.2016, 15-01-2016 & 06-10-15, 28-09-15

Chhatarpur Solar Park at Chhatarpur Distt.

500

08.06.2016, 15-01-2016

Agar-Shajapur Solar Park (Agar-250 MW and Shajapur-250MW)

500

08.06.2016

Rajgarh-Morena Solar Park (Rajgarh-250 MW & Morena-250MW) 

500

08.06.2016, 15-01-2016

Maharshtra

Pragat Mega Solar Park, 

Taluka Sakri, District Dhule

500

29-09-2015

M/s. Sai Guru Mega Solar Power Pvt. Ltd (name changed)

Dondaicha, Dist. Dhule

500

17-12-2015

MAHAGENCO

Patoda Solar Park Taluka Patoda, Dist Beed

500

17-12-2015

M/s. Paramount Solar Power Pvt. Ltd. 

Meghalaya

Suchen & Thamar Solar Park

 Suchen & Thammar Village, East & West Jaintia 

20

04-09-2015

Meghalaya Power Generation Corporation Ltd (MePGCL)

Nagaland

Nagaland Solar Park, Ganeshnagar-Dimapur Dist (35 MW), Zhadima- Kohima Dist (20 MW), New Peren-Peren Dist (5 MW)

60

29-04-2015

Directorate of New & Renewable Energy, Nagaland

Odisha

Odisha Solar Park

Balasore, Boudh, Deograh, Kalahandi and Keonjhar

1000

28-10-2015

Green Energy Development Corporation Of Odisha (GEDCOL)

Rajasthan

Bhadla Phase II Vill.- Bhadla, Tehsil- Bap, Jodhpur

680

02-12-14 & 19-06-15

Raj. Solar Park Development Company Ltd. (RSDCL), A subsidiary of RRECL

Bhadla Phase III Vill.- Bhadla, Tehsil- Bap, Jodhpur

1000

12-12-2014

Saurya Urja Company of Rajasthan Ltd (SUCRL), A JV between GOR & IL&FS

Essel Phalodi-Pokran Solar Park 

(Phase 1A (Phalodi)- 400 MW at Distt Jodhpur & Phase-1B (Pokaran)-350 MW at Jaiselmer)

750

30/116/2015-16/NSM 

17-12-2015

Essel Surya Urja Com.of Raj Ltd. (JV of GOR & Essel Infraprojects Ltd)

Bhadla Phase IV, Village Bhadla, Tehsil Bap, Jodhpur

500

29-09-2015

Adani Renewable Energy Park Raj. Ltd. (A JVC between GOR & APEPRL)

Dawada & Rasla, Tehsil Fatehgarh and Village Nedan, Tehsil-Pokaran, Jaisalmer

421

01.02.2016

Adani Renewable Energy Park Raj. Ltd. (A JVC between GOR & APEPRL)

Tamil Nadu

Ramnathpuram Solar Park

500

11-12-2014

NF

Telangana

Gattu Solar Park Ghattu Mandal, Mehboobnagar Dist.

500

17-12-2015

Telangana New & Renewable Energy Development Corporation Ltd. (TNREDC)

Uttarakhand

Solar Park at 2 Location namely Sitarganj and Khurpia farm in U. S. Nagar Distt.

50

16-12-2015

State Industrial Development Corporation Uttarakhand Ltd. (SIDCUL)

Uttar Pradesh

UP Solar Park Jalaun, Allahabad, Mirzapur & Kanpur Dehat Districts of Uttar Pradesh

600

02-12-2014

Lucknow Solar Power Development Corporation Limited (JVC of SECI & UPNEDA)

West Bengal

Purab Medinapur, Paschim Medinapur, Bankura

500

14-07-2015

West Bengal State Electricity Distribution Company (WBSEDCL)

20000

 

Sl. No. State Solar Park Implementation Status
Name / Locataion Capacity (MW) In-principle Approval (Date) Implementing Agency (SPPD)
0 A and N Islands
A&N Solar Park, South Andaman Dist at 1. Mithakhari, 2. Havelock Island, 
3. Neil Island, 4. Garacharama (Attam Pahar), 5. Chidiyatapu
100 21-08-2015 NTPC
1 Andhra Pradesh Anantpur Ultra Mega Solar Park, Location: N.P.Kunta and P.Kothapalli, N.P.Kunta Mandal, Ananthapuramu District. 1500 28-11-2014  AP Solar Power Corporation Pvt. Ltd. (APSPCL), A JV of SECI, APGENCO & NREDCAP
2 Kadapa Solar Park, Thalamanchipatnam, Ponnampalli, Rama Chandraya Palli, Dhondiam and Vaddirala villages of Mylavaram Mandal of Kadapa District 1000 28/07/2015 & 09/10/2015
3 Kurnool Ultra Mega Solar Park, Gani and Sakunala Villages of Kurnool Distric 1000 28-11-2014
4 Ananathapurumu II Solar Park, Talaricheruvu & Aluru vill. of Tadipatri Mandal of Ananthapuramu District. 500 14.01.2016

5

Arunachal Pradesh Lohit Solar Park, Lohit Dist 100 29-04-2015 Arunachal Pradesh Energy Development Agency (APEDA)
6 Assam Amguri Solar Park, Amguri & Sibsagar District 69 28-08-2015 JV of Assam Power Distribution Company Ltd. (APDCL), Assam Power Generation Corp. Ltd (APGCL)
7 Chhattisgarh Rajnandgaon 500 29-09-2015 Chhattisgarh State Renewable Energy Development Agency (CREDA)
8 Gujarat Radhanesda Solar Park, Radhanesda Vill. Vav Tehsi, District Banskantha  700 01-12-2014 Gujarat Power Corporation Limited (GPCL)
9 Haryana At Bugan in Hisar Dist., Baralu & Singhani in Bhiwani Dist., Daukhera in Mahendergarh Dist. 500 15-01-2016 Saur Urja Nigam Haryana Ltd.(SUN Haryana), A SPV between HSIIDC and HPGCL
10 Himachal Pradesh Kaza Solar Park, Spiti Valley 1000 09-04-2015 HP State Electricity Board Ltd.
11 J&K Mohargarh and Badla Brahmana, District Samba 100 29-09-2015 J&K Energy Dev. Agency (JAKEDA)
12 Karnataka Tumkur Solar Park Vallur, Ballasamudra, Tirumani, Rayacherlu & Kyataganacherlu of Nagalamadike Hobli, Pavagada Taluk, Tumkur Dist 2000 19-03-2015 Karnataka Solar Power Development Corporation Ltd. (KSPDCL) A JV of SECI & KREDL 
13 Kerala Kasargod Solar Park At Paivalike, Meenja, Kinnoor, Kraindalam and Ambalathara Villages of Kasargode Dist 200 19-03-2015 Renewable Energy Corporation of Kerala (JVC of SECI and KSEB)
14 Madhya Pradesh
Rewa Ultra Mega Solar Ltd.
Vill.- Badwar, Itar Pahad, Ramnagar, Barseta Tehsil- Gurh Dist- Rewa
750 01-12-2014  Rewa Ultra Mega Solar Ltd. A JV of SECI & MPUVNL
15 Neemuch-Mandsaur Solar Park (Neemuch-250 MW & Mandsaur-250 MW) 500 08.06.2016, 15-01-2016 & 06-10-15, 28-09-15
  Chhatarpur Solar Park at Chhatarpur Distt. 500 08.06.2016, 15-01-2016
16 Agar-Shajapur Solar Park (Agar-250 MW and Shajapur-250MW) 500 08.06.2016
17 Rajgarh-Morena Solar Park (Rajgarh-250 MW & Morena-250MW)  500 08.06.2016, 15-01-2016
18 Maharshtra
Pragat Mega Solar Park, 
Taluka Sakri, District Dhule
500 29-09-2015 M/s. Sai Guru Mega Solar Power Pvt. Ltd (name changed)
19 Dondaicha, Dist. Dhule 500 17-12-2015 MAHAGENCO
20 Patoda Solar Park Taluka Patoda, Dist Beed 500 17-12-2015 M/s. Paramount Solar Power Pvt. Ltd. 
21 Meghalaya
Suchen & Thamar Solar Park
 Suchen & Thammar Village, East & West Jaintia 
20 04-09-2015 Meghalaya Power Generation Corporation Ltd (MePGCL)
22 Nagaland Nagaland Solar Park, Ganeshnagar-Dimapur Dist (35 MW), Zhadima- Kohima Dist (20 MW), New Peren-Peren Dist (5 MW) 60 29-04-2015 Directorate of New & Renewable Energy, Nagaland
23 Odisha Odisha Solar Park
Balasore, Boudh, Deograh, Kalahandi and Keonjhar
1000 28-10-2015 Green Energy Development Corporation Of Odisha (GEDCOL)
24 Rajasthan Bhadla Phase II Vill.- Bhadla, Tehsil- Bap, Jodhpur 680 02-12-14 & 19-06-15 Raj. Solar Park Development Company Ltd. (RSDCL), A subsidiary of RRECL
25 Bhadla Phase III Vill.- Bhadla, Tehsil- Bap, Jodhpur 1000 12-12-2014 Saurya Urja Company of Rajasthan Ltd (SUCRL), A JV between GOR & IL&FS
26
Essel Phalodi-Pokran Solar Park 
(Phase 1A (Phalodi)- 400 MW at Distt Jodhpur & Phase-1B (Pokaran)-350 MW at Jaiselmer)
750
30/116/2015-16/NSM 
17-12-2015
Essel Surya Urja Com.of Raj Ltd. (JV of GOR & Essel Infraprojects Ltd)
27 Bhadla Phase IV, Village Bhadla, Tehsil Bap, Jodhpur 500 29-09-2015 Adani Renewable Energy Park Raj. Ltd. (A JVC between GOR & APEPRL)
28 Dawada & Rasla, Tehsil Fatehgarh and Village Nedan, Tehsil-Pokaran, Jaisalmer 421 01.02.2016 Adani Renewable Energy Park Raj. Ltd. (A JVC between GOR & APEPRL)
29 Tamil Nadu Ramnathpuram Solar Park 500 11-12-2014 NF
30 Telangana Gattu Solar Park Ghattu Mandal, Mehboobnagar Dist. 500 17-12-2015 Telangana New & Renewable Energy Development Corporation Ltd. (TNREDC)
31 Uttarakhand Solar Park at 2 Location namely Sitarganj and Khurpia farm in U. S. Nagar Distt. 50 16-12-2015 State Industrial Development Corporation Uttarakhand Ltd. (SIDCUL)
32 Uttar Pradesh UP Solar Park Jalaun, Allahabad, Mirzapur & Kanpur Dehat Districts of Uttar Pradesh 600 02-12-2014 Lucknow Solar Power Development Corporation Limited (JVC of SECI & UPNEDA)
33 West Bengal Purab Medinapur, Paschim Medinapur, Bankura 500 14-07-2015 West Bengal State Electricity Distribution Company (WBSEDCL)
21 States and 34 Solar Parks 20000

History is created today, as the record low tariffs achieved in the auction concluded on 09.05.2017 for Bhadla Phase-IV Solar Park, Rajasthan has been broken, with even lower tariff of Rs. 2.44 per unit discovered in the auction carried out by Solar Energy Corporation of India Limited (SECI) for 500 MW capacity in Bhadla Phase-III Solar Park, Rajasthan. The park is being set up by M/s Saurya Urja Company of Rajasthan Limited, a joint venture between the Govt. of Rajasthan and M/s IL&FS Energy Development Company Limited. This tariff is fixed for 25 years with no escalation and the bidders have sought no VGF from the Government. The winners are M/s ACME Solar Holdings Pvt. Ltd. (200 MW) at a tariff of Rs. 2.44 per unit and M/s SBG Cleantech One Ltd. (300 MW), quoting a tariff of Rs. 2.45 per unit.

The entire solar power will be consumed in the State of Rajasthan and power sale agreement with the State Distribution Companies is already tied up. The developers are responsible to connect to the pooling sub-station of solar park. The developers will be paying solar park charges of Rs.45.2 lakh per megawatt towards land, connectivity (from pooling substation to state network) and other infrastructural facilities. The projects are likely to be completed in about 12-13 months.

The earlier lowest tariff of Rs. 2.62 per kWh, was discovered recently in the auction conducted by SECI for 250 MW Bhadla Phase-IV Solar Park in Rajasthan.

It is understood that this fall in solar tariffs is the result of combination of various factors, most important being the decision of the Government of India to cover solar power by SECI under the ambit of Tripartite Agreement for payment security against defaults by State distribution companies. Other factors contributing are about 7-8% higher yield in Rajasthan due to better solar radiation conditions, drop in module prices in International market, and strengthening of Indian rupee against US dollar.

For the present bid, the bids were submitted by 24 bidders for a capacity of 5500 MW which is 11 times of the bid capacity. Bid received overwhelming global response including developers from Finland, France, Saudi Arabia, Singapore and Japan. This became possible only due to constant endeavor at SECI to streamline the bidding process with highest level of transparency and integrity under the guidance of Ministry of New and Renewable Energy.

Post COP21, India’s commitment to a low carbon economy has been demonstrated via several changes at policy level which have paved a path for quickening the pace of RE adoption in India.

Read more: Expediting Renewable Energy Adoption India

Domestic solar cell and module manufacturing is way behind the country’s demand for the equipment, going by data collated by the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) in January end. Under the National Solar Mission, the government targets achieving an indigenous manufacturing capacity of 4-5 GW by 2020.

India’s import of solar cells and modules is more than 35 times its export, as per a recent study by Mercom Capital Group. Till December 2016-end, the country’s installed solar cell manufacturing capacity stood at 2,953 MW, including the 1200MW Mundra project by Adani Group. Further, the operational capacity of solar cell manufacturing is 1,448.05 MW in December-end, marginally higher than the 1,123.05 MW in June-end last year.

As far as solar module manufacturing capacity is concerned, MNRE’s data pegs the installed capacity at 8,113 MW while operational capacity is 5,286.55 MW as on December-end. This has grown from 5,848 MW of installed capacity and 4,307.55 MW of installed capacity in June 2016-end. Here too, 1,200 MW, a major chunk of the growth is attributed to the uncommissioned Adani project.

A majority of solar power projects in India will continue to prefer cheaper cells and modules from China. India imported solar equipment worth $2.17 billion (Rs 14,630 crore) in the 10 months between April 2016 and January 2017, its exports were just $60.3 million (Rs 404 crore). 

Indian solar modules comprise of only 5% of the domestic installations. Britain is the biggest importer of Indian solar modules, accounting for 31% of India’s solar exports ($18.84 million), followed by Italy and Belgium. India’s primary export markets include those which have anti-dumping laws against the Chinese manufacturers. 

Chinese modules are generally priced 20% lower than India-made modules making it difficult for Indian module manufacturers to compete with them. The further fall in the solar module prices has also been fuelling the recent free fall in the competitive biddings.

Analysts say that with a slowdown in the Chinese market, the prices are expected to fall further by 20% over next year.

 

Domestic solar cell and module manufacturing is way behind the country’s demand for the equipment, going by data collated by the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) in January end. Under the National Solar Mission, the government targets achieving an indigenous manufacturing capacity of 4-5 GW by 2020.

 

India’s import of solar cells and modules is more than 35 times its export, as per a recent study by Mercom Capital Group. Till December 2016-end, the country’s installed solar cell manufacturing capacity stood at 2,953 MW, including the 1200MW Mundra project by Adani Group. Further, the operational capacity of solar cell manufacturing is 1,448.05 MW in December-end, marginally higher than the 1,123.05 MW in June-end last year.

 

As far as solar module manufacturing capacity is concerned, MNRE’s data pegs the installed capacity at 8,113 MW while operational capacity is 5,286.55 MW as on December-end. This has grown from 5,848 MW of installed capacity and 4,307.55 MW of installed capacity in June 2016-end. Here too, 1,200 MW, a major chunk of the growth is attributed to the uncommissioned Adani project.

 

A majority of solar power projects in India will continue to prefer cheaper cells and modules from China. India imported solar equipment worth $2.17 billion (Rs 14,630 crore) in the 10 months between April 2016 and January 2017, its exports were just $60.3 million (Rs 404 crore).

 

Indian solar modules comprise of only 5% of the domestic installations. Britain is the biggest importer of Indian solar modules, accounting for 31% of India’s solar exports ($18.84 million), followed by Italy and Belgium. India’s primary export markets include those which have anti-dumping laws against the Chinese manufacturers.

 

Chinese modules are generally priced 20% lower than India-made modules making it difficult for Indian module manufacturers to compete with them. The further fall in the solar module prices has also been fuelling the recent free fall in the competitive biddings.

 

Analysts say that with a slowdown in the Chinese market, the prices are expected to fall further by 20% over next year.

Why is this issue important?

Amid growing concerns over climate change and pollution, solar power is the key to solving fossil-fuel dependency With over 65 percent of installed generation capacity in India attributable to thermal power, the production of large quantities of greenhouse gases (GHG) has raised public health concerns. And with limited domestic coal production, new thermal power plants are inevitably dependent on price-volatile coal and gas imports, leading to energy insecurity. To sustain the country’s rapid economic growth while addressing concerns about climate change and pollution, in recent years India’s federal and state governments have taken steps to tackle the growing energy crisis through the judicious use of abundantly available solar energy resources.

Read more: Implementing Rooftop Solar Projects:...

3

The 100 GW by 2022 target has created an urgency driving up the solar capacity of the country. Besides highlighting India’s step to curb carbon emissions in the UN, this move towards green energy shift has also given India the opportunity to bridge its continuously increasing gap between energy generation and demand. India’s electricity consumption per capita has reached to 1010 kWh in 2015. And with booming population, (1,326,801,576 in 2016) the power demand is expected to rise significantly in 2017. In this scenario, trusting green energy rather than limited reserves of fossil fuel can help develop India into an energy rich country. However, regardless of the environmental benefits, solar has to match the pricing structure of conventional energy to win the race, encouraging common man to opt for green energy.

Grid Parity: Current Scenario

panel 2

Solar panel prices have fallen by more than 80 per cent since 2008, and it has given the leg up for more installations. Drastic price fall of solar panels has also helped India in reaching cost parity with conventional energy sources. With technology getting cheaper, and involvement of new subsidies and incentives, solar installation will continue to get traction in the future.

However, the turning point for the Indian energy scene would be when solar would be able to generate electricity at the same or lower price than thermal power. And such a scene is not a far flung theory anymore, as solar tariff in India continues to fall below USD 0.07/ kWh. The reducing cost has made solar the preference of power companies. However, there is the question of sustainability and return on investment if the solar tariff continues to fall. With growing demand for solar, it is easy to understand that a stabilized solar tariff can attract power companies as the shift towards large-scale solar projects, increase in efficiency, and improvement in technology promises a better pay out for developers.

150kW B S Abdur Rahman Univ-1

Rooftop solar industry has also shown incredible growth contributing to raising awareness and reaching grid parity of solar. Rooftop solar growth reached more than 100 per cent in 2016 (crossing 1 GW capacity), than that of 2015, helping India to now cross 10 GW mark. New tenders amounting to 900 MW for rooftop solar systems have been introduced to be completed within 2017. Commercial and Industrial consumers are surprised to see that energy bills can be saved between 20-30% by adopting rooftop solar. And this revelation has increased Commercial and Industrial consumers in the solar sector, amounting to 63 per cent of the total solar energy consumers in 17 out of the 19 largest states in India. Although, states like Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, and Maharashtra have huge rooftop capacities (involving Commercial and Industrial consumers), the Government’s pursuit to progress on installing solar on Government buildings is also adding to the capacity nationally. Rapid demand and development in this sector is creating cost competitiveness with solar and conventional energy.

The influx of clean energy targets, pursuit towards energy decentralization, strong government-backed policies and subsidies, and technical innovation in the solar industry are leading the solar sector to ultimately reach grid parity by 2020. However, to keep the growth on track and to supplement it for a faster adoption of green energy, focus on domestic manufacturing, stabilizing solar tariff, and easy financing choices are needed.

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Read more: The Grid Parity Race: Will Solar Make It

Insights Form Solar Marketplace: More Quotes Result In Greater Purchase Probability

Latest analysis of EnergySage Solar Marketplace data reveals accelerating decrease in solar prices, and how more quotes results in a greater probability of purchase. EnergySage published its fourth semiannual Solar Marketplace Intel Report™, providing a comprehensive analysis of consumer behavior, demographics, and preferences, as well as a complete account of industry trends in the U.S. residential solar market in 2016.

This latest edition of the industry-leading report presents several new datasets and analyses including an expanded list of new states, a review of the community solar landscape, and greater insights into solar shopper demographics. According to EnergySage data, the typical solar shopper is a mid-career male in his mid-40s with interests in real estate, financial services, and home services in addition to solar energy.

This most recent report also features a new section analyzing residential solar data by utility territory. EnergySage compared the levelized cost of energy (LCOE) of solar to today’s electricity rates in territories served by Commonwealth Edison Co., Consolidated Edison (ConEd), Dominion Power, Florida Power & Light Co., Southern California Edison, and Xcel Energy. In all service areas, the LCOE of solar is lower than the 2016 residential electricity rate offered by the utility, affirming the comparative benefits of solar as a low-cost energy source.

Profile of the Typical Solar Shopper

EnergySage compiled Solar Marketplace demographic data and user preferences to develop a profile of the solar-interested consumers in 2016. The typical solar shopper is a mid-career homeowner and is interested in a variety of real estate products & home services. More than three-quarters of solar shoppers are male.

Typical EnergySage solar shopper is a mid-career homeowner, interested in financial and home services 71% of solar shoppers on the EnergySage Solar Marketplace in 2016 were between the ages of 25 and 54. In addition to the solar category, users were also in-market for a variety of products and services, including financial and investment services, residential real estate, home improvement products, and home appliances – revealing a customer segment that is extremely valuable to a range of industries.

Three out of every four solar shoppers are male 77% of 2016 users were male, a significant disparity indicating that the solar product category, while growing rapidly, still has a ways to go before it can reach true mass-market appeal in the United States.

chart

Solar prices are falling at accelerating rate

Between H1 2016 and H2 2016, gross cost per watt on EnergySage dropped by 6.25%. That is more than triple the rate of decline from the first EnergySage Solar Marketplace Intel Report from July 2014 to June 2015, and the greatest rate of decline measured in any of the reports to date. This trend may reflect improved operational efficiencies at solar companies, lower customer acquisition costs via online channels like EnergySage, increased competition, and the low cost of solar panels and inverters.

chart2

graph2

 

More quotes result in more sales

Consumers who receive offers from multiple solar installers are significantly more likely to complete a solar purchase. EnergySage users who received 5+ quotes in 2016 were nearly eight times more likely to buy than those who received only one quote. These results offer a clear message: quotes from multiple installers will increase consumer confidence, and solar shoppers should be encouraged to seek multiple quotes.

graph4

Solar shoppers are mostly male

EnergySage used Solar Marketplace demographic data to develop a profile of today’s solar-interested consumers, and found that three out of every four solar shoppers (77%) are male. This gender imbalance presents an opportunity for the solar industry to develop new messaging and outreach strategies to attract more female shoppers, and expand the product category to achieve true mass-market appeal.

“This latest report speaks to the importance of transparency and comparison-shopping in residential solar,” said EnergySage CEO and founder Vikram Aggarwal. “For the consumer, getting more quotes empowers them to make better-informed decisions. For the installer, more quotes results in increased consumer confidence, which in turn results in a higher likelihood of purchase. Comparison-shopping platforms like EnergySage make win-win situations like this possible.”

EnergySage is a leading online comparison-shopping marketplace for rooftop solar, community solar, and solar financing, and is uniquely positioned to share solar market insights. This report furthers EnergySage’s mission to support the healthy growth of the solar industry via consumer education and empowerment, price transparency, and greater information sharing among all stakeholders.


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India’s pursuit towards green energy, upholding solar as the tool to build an energy rich future has translated into nearly 12 GW cumulative installed solar capacity in 2017. Considering, that the country stood at 5 GW of capacity in 2015, it is commendable how Indian solar industry has progressed more than doubling the capacity within a bit more than a year. With set targets being achieved, India is constantly trying to increase the capacity of installation for faster green energy transition. It is a smart decision considering the demand for solar in the whole world to save the environment and reduce raising energy cost.

Solar Can save The Environment

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Global energy supply through fossil fuels have reached from 6,100 million tonnes of oil equivalent (Mtoe) in 1977 to 13,700 Mtoe by 2014. Moreover, alongside China, and the United States of America, India is one of the top coal-related CO2 emitters, speculated to contribute more than 70% of global CO2 emissions cumulatively in future. Research shows that energy-related CO2 emissions in the world will increase from 32.3 billion metric tons in 2012 to ultimately reaching 43.2 billion metric tons in 2040, if we continue using fossil fuels.

On the other hand, utilizing renewable energy has helped Japan to phase out fossil fuel usage, displaying a decline in CO2 emission by 0.4%/year. Research also suggests that increase in renewable energy (mainly solar) has reduced fossil fuel share by 22 per cent. In the same breath we need to highlight that 1 KW of green energy can reduce more than 3,000 pounds of CO2 annually. So, it is pretty clear that green energy shift is the only thing that can protect us for a dystopian energy starved future.

Pollution Curbing Solar Growth

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Although solar is growing globally, a new study has revealed that dust and particulate matter (PM) may be reducing energy yield by 17-25 per cent annually in Northern parts of India. The dust particles create a barrier between sunrays and the solar panels, reducing the exposure to the sun, thus declining energy yield. Since the simple enough technology of solar panels depend on ambiance to capture and harvest energy, ambient pollution can create significant problem for solar yield generation.

In the same breath, we can highlight that similar issues have been identified around the world. For instance, solar panels in Baghdad were seen to be producing less and less energy due to dust particles blocking the sunrays and creating a layer over the panel. Even a fine layer of dust, practically unnoticeable on the solar panels are shown to decline the energy generation by 18.74% annually. Studies also show that poor air quality was the reason behind 15-25% yield loses in Singapore in 2013.

The Solution

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At this point of discussion, it is crystal clear that pollution is not just an eminent threat to our environment, it is also halting solar growth, which is the only viable option for us to build an energy rich future. In order to ensure continued efficiency of performance for the solar power system, the best possible solution would be to frequently clean the panels, wiping out the barrier created of fine dust particles that are rarely visible to the naked eye. As studies show a whopping 50 per cent increase on energy generation after every clean up, the process would be more than enough to solve the yield reduction problem.

In an ideal world, we all would have taken aggressive steps to phase out fossil fuel much sooner than expected, to help clean, green, solar grow. But in the present circumstances, the best alternative would be to increasingly adopt solar energy with a futuristic outlook, and bearing in mind the broader benefits that it would entail, including the environmental implications. Hopefully, with the phenomenal growth of solar and renewable energy across the globe, the use of fossil fuels could become a distant memory in time, for green energy (mainly solar) to acquire the mainstay position.

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India Ratings and Research (Ind-Ra) estimates that INR560 billion out of total debt of INR1,730 billion could be refinanced at a lower borrowing cost across various infrastructure sub-sectors in its portfolio till FY19. Also, there could be a shift in the type of instruments issued for the purpose of raising capital in the sector largely to the capital market instruments, namely bonds, from the conventional term loans.

Ind-Ra estimates that for each 1% reduction in interest rate, the incremental surplus as a % of cash flow available for debt service would be highest in toll roads, followed by solar and wind energy. This could mainly be because the interest burden on these sectors is high as most of these projects are in the ramp-up stage.

Solar energy projects owing to their stable revenue profiles and better counterparties and toll road projects with reasonable track records and stronger sponsors and longer tail period, than other sub-sectors, appear to be the ideal candidates for refinancing. Though Ind-Ra expects a replacement of banks loans by bonds, traction will be witnessed through infrastructure investment trusts.

Also, Ind-Ra observes that the benefit of interest rate reduction will be the least for the annuity sector, followed by the thermal power sector, because refinancing risk has already been factored in at the time of initial funding for the former and due to minimal improvement in persistent issues in the latter.

An estimated INR45 million/project/year is projected to be the surplus for FY18, based on the average interest rate reduction of around 65bp witnessed for Ind-Ra rated entities across various infra sectors. The debt service coverage ratio is likely to improve 0.04x in FY18 across infra sectors.

The strong payment security mechanism from the counterparty in the recently concluded auctions for 750 MW of solar projects in Rewa Solar Park, Madhya Pradesh, will enable fund raising at competitive rates, says India Ratings and Research (India Ratings). The agency believes that the reduced risk from the counterparty because of payment security mechanisms is one of the levers for the steep fall in tariffs quoted by the bidders.

The new payment security mechanism includes the state government payment guarantee, payment security fund (about 35-40% of revenue at plant load factor of 22%) and a deemed generation compensation for the grid unavailability, in addition to the regular letter of credit. Low tariff will also incentivise the offtakers to pay on-time. Notwithstanding the new payment structure, in the event of the tariffs not being commensurate with the capital cost - reminiscent to the aggressive bids seen in the road sector – will stress the coverage ratios of these projects. Thus the cost of funding and lower solar panel prices (fallen by ~28% yoy) are critical factors for the sharp fall in solar bids.

While the state guarantee and payment security fund (PSF) provides a cushion,however it is imperative to know the terms for invocation of the guarantee and the replenishment of PSF. In the event of guarantee invocation or tapping of PSF after a substantial delay in payments – beyond 60 days – the players could be forced to avail working capital facilities and bear the related financial costs.

In another development, Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI) is now included as a beneficiary in the tripartite agreement with the Reserve Bank of India, Government of India and the states. This development will allow withholding of central assistance to states in case of a default to SECI. As a result, SECI’s future bids are likely to fall to lower tariffs than earlier. The reduced counterparty risk will aid in curtailing the borrowing costs for these projects.

Evolving Security Mechanism A Positive

Though solar projects relatively enjoy stable receivable days from most counterparties, the underlying risk from the weak financial profile of most distribution utilities remain. Certain distributionutilities however exhibit different payment days for different generation assets (thermal and wind) and this pattern among discoms provides limited comfort in assessing the reliability of the offtakers. Thus the inclusion of SECI as a beneficiary in the tripartite agreement gains significance in providing reliability of collections.

Threat of Grid Uncertainty Partially Addressed

In light of grid curtailment faced by wind projects in few states and also by solar projects in Tamil Nadu, the development of providing deemed generation benefits for grid non-availability is a positive development. India Ratings had highlighted this in the report ‘Market Wire: Grid Curtailment Contagion Puts Pressure on Credit Profiles of Renewable Energy Projects’.

However, Ind-Ra believes that it may be unsustainable for the off-takers to carry this risk as the distribution utilities do not operate the grid. The responsibility of grid operation lies with the loaddespatch centres within the constraints posed by the transmission infrastructure and load-generation balancing. Thus, the onus of enabling evacuation also lies with the open access provider and network operator. Clarity in responsibilities and contractual incentives and penalties will ensure that all the stakeholders (including off-takers, open access providers and network operators) are aligned towards the goal of uninterrupted evacuation for renewable power.

Bids Reach New Lows

Auction for implementing 750MW in Rewa Solar Park was concluded at INR2.970-/kWh, INR2.979 and INR2.974 for three units of 250MW each, with 5 paise per year escalation for first 15 years. Offtakers are Delhi Metro Rail Corporation and Madhya Pradesh Power Management Corporation Ltd. The previous low in terms of tariffs of INR4.34/kWh was offered by Fortum of Finland was exactly a year ago in January 2016. Rewa Ultra Mega Solar Limited, which is developing the Rewa solar park, is a joint venture of SECI and Madhya Pradesh Urja Vikas Nigam Limited. Land acquisition and evacuation are the responsibility of the solar park, thus mitigating significant risks for the project developers. The low tariffs discovered makes the solar projects highly competitive in merit order, as the variable charges of marginal power for most states lie above INR3.5/kWh. - Contributed By ICRA

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Indian solar industry has scaled great heights surpassing 10 GW in 2017, from a meagre 10 MW in 2010. Even without huge industrial muscles that other countries keep on flexing, India braved all odds showing continued growth in the solar vertical. From 2015 to the beginning of 2017, Indian solar sector has successfully doubled its solar capacity (5GW in 2015- 10GW in 2017), earning commendations in the global podium and inspiring developing countries to venture ahead. Obviously, Hon’ble Prime minister Shri Narendra Modi created the urgency in the green energy shift by announcing development of 100 GW solar-installed capacity by 2022, which served as the ignition for upward growth that the Indian solar sector is displaying. And it is easy to understand that this much needed boost will bring numerous opportunities.

However, the obvious question surfacing from this equation is- ‘whether the opportunities will be for domestic manufacturers or not?’ The legitimacy or relevance of this question is absolute, since Indian solar reliance and the foundation of an energy rich future is closely tied to the improvement of domestic manufacturers (for details on how domestic manufacturing and Indian solar success is connected click here). Therefore, it is important to understand how this growth is shaping our future.

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Understanding the Glitches

Subsidies and rebates on capital expenditures, additional one-time allowance, tax-free grants, and acceptance to foreign investments have helped domestic manufacturing to flourish in India. And continuous support from the Indian Government (through a plethora of policies) has led these initiatives into success. However, India is spending more in importing solar modules (USD 980 million) than gaining from exporting them (USD 50 million, Sept 2016). This is surprising since India wants to claim a sizable portion of the global solar market and kick back the profits (of exports) for socio-economic reform. Chinese module suppliers have increased their market share in Indian PV market to 75 per cent from 50 per cent last year. And recent market analysis reveals that 8 out of top 10 module suppliers in the Indian market are Chinese. All of this points towards growth devoid of domestic manufacturing progress, which is another way of saying ‘a sound yet unstable solar energy future for India’.

China can produce and sell solar modules at a price range cheaper by INR 5-6 per panel than domestic products (aggressive pricing is the main reason behind India importing Chinese modules), because of volume scale, cheap energy and access to low-cost capital. Additionally, the lack of a uniform quality control for solar modules in India makes it easier for China and other foreign suppliers to introduce low quality modules in our energy mix. Low quality imported modules will untimely add extra expenses in repair or replacement processes, slowing down ‘power for all’ initiatives and affect the trust on the green energy shift.

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The Remedy

To ensure India’s vision of self-reliance besides reaching 100 GW target, Government should consider placing MIPs (minimum import price) on imported solar modules. Foreign solar players are selling their modules in India at a lower rate than their actual (global) price. And as India lacks a uniform quality assessment regulation, importers are finding it very easy to dump low quality modules in the market. This practice is recognized by the industry leaders as ‘e-waste dumping’. Having scale and Government subsidies, Chinese solar players can afford to sell their modules at a lower cost than domestic companies do; ultimately, curbing demand for domestic modules and shrinking Indian solar growth.

However, making sure that imported modules cannot be sold in the Indian market below a certain price limit, can bottleneck low quality product access in the country; and help domestic manufacturers to compete on a level playing field. We can look at EU’s MIP imposition on imported solar equipment for example. European Union has changed the MIPs from time to time, going back and forth from 0.56 Euro/Wp to 0.53 Euro/Wp to maintain a healthy demand for domestic manufacturers.

India uses MIPs to regulate the access of imported steel in its market, to safeguard the domestic manufacturers and sellers. Moreover, judging from domestic steel manufacturers’ recent request to Government for continuation of MIPs, we can speculate that it has benefited the industry. The same can be done for the solar industry, mirroring EU’s steps to utilize International trade and competition rules to create a standard quality for import modules and assuring a better future for nation’s solar industry.

Imposing MIP is just one of the many remedies that can help India’s internal solar growth to centralize industry within borderlines. Current growth has paved a path for a better future, but domestic manufacturing is needed to turn the possibilities into reality.

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Schneider Electric Energy Storage Solutions

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At its core an Energy Storage System (ESS) is comprised of three major components each bearing equal importance. The battery which is the energy container; the Power Conversion System (PCS) or inverter which interfaces the DC battery system to the AC power system; and the Power Plant Controller (PPC) which governs, monitors and executes the intended functions of the energy storage application.

Although we have no choice but to accept that the battery is the consumable component, the balance of system of an ESS should not be regarded as such. While heavy emphasis is typically placed on the choice of battery technology, it is important to understand that poor selection of the other two core components can severely impact the performance, lifetime and return on investment of the ESS. In this article we will seek to shed some light on the importance of the PCS and the PPC.

The Power Conversion System (inverter)

The PCS can be subjected to brutal utilization as it may be expected to handle varying power levels in both directions 24 hours per day. The stresses imparted on the PCS can easily make it the weakest link.

When procuring a PCS, system owners should select power conversion technology that is designed for high reliability and availability, and up to three decades of service life. It is also essential that the equipment can be operator maintained, tracked, and managed. The PCS should be designed with grid support functionality and should facilitate upgrades as the energy ecosystem advances.

Owners and operators should favor flexible and easily transportable architectures that can be repurposed as needs evolve. Most importantly, they should choose suppliers that will stick around for the long haul.

 The Power Plant Controller

Many are of the opinion that an energy storage control system is not difficult to implement. This outlook is based on assumptions that the hardware can be assembled from off-the-shelf components, and that there is an abundance of skilled software programmers to create algorithms. Energy storage is a critical power application and as such controlling it is by no means a trivial task.

Some argue that since ESS controls is a new technology sector, there are no real industry experts or veterans. On the contrary, those with experience in critical industrial and power systems controls are indeed the experts who can utilize equipment and best practices from those applications to create solid energy storage control platforms. It is imperative that control system providers have the means and experience to address important factors such as redundancy and cybersecurity.

All considered, system owners should select the ESS control provider based on demonstrated success and experience in related critical power control systems and industrial automation. They should also consider the longevity and staying power of the provider they choose.

The bottom line is that the PCS and Plant Controller are just as important to the ESS as is the battery. A poor choice of one or both of these two core components can result in an unprofitable and dysfunctional ESS that will be fraught with recurring repair and replacement costs.

For more information about Energy Storage, visit us at booth 520 at Energy Storage North America 2016 in San Diego from October 4-6.

Want to learn more about Energy Storage? Watch the video here.

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Living at the edge of the grid, a distant community in Western Australia experienced severe power quality and uptime issues. Bush fire, a natural disaster common in the area knocked down the poles and overhead lines, with a high cost for the local utility to restore and maintain. Thomson Solar and Schneider Electric partnered to create a solution by powering the community with a standalone off-grid system. This solution is replicable to all small and mid-size dwellings living at the edge of the grid suffering from power-quality issues and where utilities must invest a large amount to maintain the commitment of reliable power for a small customer base.

As the homeowners were electing not to reconnect to the local utility grid, the system had to meet certain operating standards. The goal was to generate electricity on-site independently of the grid, using storage to assist in operating large three-phase loads while also providing power at night and during cloudy conditions. The system was designed to provide grid autonomy, yet with no undue inconvenience for the homeowners.

Schneider Electric provided a solution at a fraction of the cost of replacing power poles and overhead lines. The entire system is self-contained, and was deployed in a short time frame to restore power to the site. It shows that solar energy can be more cost-effective. This, in short, is the promise of standalone energy systems.

Read our full case study to learn more about this project, and why the Conext XW inverter charger was chosen for this project.

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No decision has more impact on the system cost and performance than the choice of inverters as this dictates design constraints for much of the balance of system. Today, system designers have more options than ever when architecting solar systems. While this may seem like a great advantage, these options necessitate an ever-growing number of decision points in the design process.

Before selecting brand or model the designer must first choose the macro level class of inverters, central or three phase string inverters. Until recently, the normalized price of string inverters (as measured in $/W) was much higher than central inverters, making the decision to use central inverters for utility-scale quite straightforward. That unit price gap has greatly diminished, resulting in a heightened debate on the relative merits of central and string inverters, often without empirical data to support the arguments.

The jury is still out on which is the so-called “best solution” and likely for good reason as the overall system size has such a significant impact on the relevant answer. In my article for Renewable Energy World, I analyzed the relative merits of central and string inverters in a typical system in North America.

The analysis is limited to the relative costs of central and string inverters for utility-scale projects in North America in three areas: CAPEX, inverter service life and true cost of service.

Read article on RenewableEnergyWorld.com or view in-depth version with further analysis of utility-scale system performance requirements and operating efficiency here.

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Renewable energy, for three years running, has accounted for more new power generation capacity installed worldwide than all other sources combined. In 2015, over USD 270 billion were invested in solar PV and wind power, boosting capacity by 47 GW 63 GW respectively. This capacity is expected to only grow and efforts are now focusing on implementing an innovative enabling framework to integrate these technologies at the scale needed. But that is not a simple task and questions still remain: what technologies and tool are part of the power sector transformation? What still needs to be developed? And how can IRENA assist?

Adnan Z. Amin, IRENA Director-General“[For developing countries] I think the only solution is a renewable solution”— Adnan Z. Amin, IRENA Director-General“The transformation of the energy sector towards a renewables-based one is moving forward at an accelerated pace. Nowhere is this revolution more evident than in the power sector,” said Adnan Z. Amin, IRENA Director-General, at the opening Ministerial Roundtable, Towards an Economy Fuelled by Renewable Power: Innovation for the Next Stage of the Power Sector Transformation, held on 14 January 2017 at IRENA’s 7th Assembly.

Government officials from around the world gathered to discuss the ongoing power sector transformation, and converse with prominent executives from the energy industry on its future development and outlook.

New challenges

Francesco Storace, CEO of Enel“An average 10-year-old wind farm in Europe would produce 50-70% more power with today’s technology” — Francesco Starace, CEO of Enel

Integrating high shares of variable renewable energy in power systems, is a challenge not only from the perspective of securing the power supply, but also from the perspective of how to manage the surplus power from these sources.

Peder Andreasen, President of ENTSO-E“Don’t wait for future renewable technologies, go for it today. We can easily reach fifty, sixty, seventy percent of variable renewables in the energy mix” — Peder Andreasen, President of ENTSO-E

In some countries at certain times, variable renewable power generation exceeds demand. Windy days in Denmark can produce 116% of the domestic power demand, and a share as high as 140% was reached in July 2015. In Portugal, wind power produced up to 65% of domestic power demand on some days in December 2015. On 8 May 2016, 95% of Germany’s domestic power demand was supplied by solar PV and wind power, and exports of electricity surged.

Innovative flexibility options

Rainer Baake, State Secretary of Germany“We need flexibility, and storage is one flexibility. New storage technology that can bridge periods of two weeks.” — Rainer Baake, State Secretary of Germany

Energy experts and country representatives agreed that a holistic innovation approach is needed to tackle this challenge. Innovations ranging from technology to market design and business models all have a role to play. Part of the solution lies in implementing innovative flexibility measures in the power system, including additional cross-border interconnections, electricity storage systems, demand side management strategies, and advanced weather forecasting.

Luiz Augusto Barroso, President of Empresa de Pesquisa Energética“We like renewables because their short construction time is a hedge against economic uncertainty” — Luiz Augusto Barroso, President of Empresa de Pesquisa Energética

Luiz Barroso President of Brazil’s Energy Research Company, explained the country’s use of renewable energy auctions and biofuels, and highlighted how hydro and renewables can be used to leverage both technologies, something recently explored in IRENA’s market analysis of Latin America.

Barroso highlighted that although financing is available, risk allocation and business models are everything to tap these resources. “We like renewables because their short construction time is a hedge against economic uncertainty,” he told the Ministerial Roundtable, while explaining that currency risk can be an issue in emerging economies.

The outcomes of the Ministerial Roundtable was reported back to the Assembly, and will further feed into IRENA work, particularly IRENA’s two alternating biennial activities regarding the power sector transformation; the IRENA Innovation Week, which was last held in 2016; and the Innovation landscape report for the power sector transformation, which is expected to come out later this year. They will highlight not only technological innovations, but the market, regulatory, and business model changes that are making the up-scaling of variable renewables possible.

To learn more about innovation, check out IRENA’s innovation outlook reports on offshore wind power, advanced liquid biofuels, and renewable mini-grids.

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Spurred by ambitious national commitments, international agreements and rapid technological progress, governments are increasingly choosing renewable energy to expand their countries’ power infrastructures. In 2014, renewables provided 23% of power generation worldwide, and with the adoption of more ambitious plans and policies, this could reach 45% by 2030.

Amid this accelerating transition, the variability of solar and wind energy — two key sources for renewable power generation — presents new challenges. It also raises questions, like ‘How do you power a country when the wind isn’t blowing or the sun isn’t shining?’ and ‘How does variable power fit with the delivery of reliable electricity?’

“Energy planners have always had to deal with variability and uncertainty to some extent, but the challenges that variable renewable energy (VRE) poses to the power sector are in many ways distinct,” says Dolf Gielen, Director of IRENA’s Innovation and Technology Centre. “Pro-active planners, in both developed and developing economies, should aim to address these challenges directly, starting with today’s long-term investment choices.”

IRENA’s new report, Planning for the renewable future: Long-term modelling and tools to expand variable renewable power in emerging economies, released during the 2017 World Future Energy Summit, offers guidance to energy decision makers and planners on large-scale integration of variable renewables into the power grid. It also advises energy modellers on practical VRE modelling methodologies for long-term scenario planning.

Modelling reality

“Various modelling tools are available to support long-term scenarios, defined as periods covering 20 to 40 years into the future, and we discuss these tools in depth in the report,” says Asami Miketa, a programme officer for Energy Planning at IRENA’s Innovation and Technology Centre. “Energy policy-making has always benefited from quantitative scenarios created with modelling tools, as they help define long-term policy goals and determine optimal economic investment pathways.”

Solar PV power and wind power for a summer and winter week in Europe, compared to a time slice approximation with 16 time slicesSolar irradiance has distinct daily and seasonal patterns. This is less the case for wind, particularly on a daily basis, as its patterns are often influenced by the prevailing local meteorological conditions at a given time.

The report’s first half, which is devoted to guiding decision makers in the transition to VRE, underlines the need for an internally consistent approach — with clear parameters and policy goals that are aligned across planning priorities over different time horizons. “Feedback among planning processes as well as different stakeholders must be taken into account when assessing high shares of VRE in a power system,” says Miketa. “This is to accommodate for spatial and operational issues that could change the cost-effectiveness of long-term planning scenarios, like the need for greater flexibility in a system or even additional transmission capacity.”

Long-term models used for planning VRE are covered in the report’s second half. Models need to account for a wide range of long-term investment implications of VRE deployment. Practical approaches, tools and data have already been developed in some markets to address issues like generation adequacy, flexibility, location siting, and the stability of a power system. The report advises countries to start simple with VRE planning and to take a strategic approach to advance the scope and quality of their models.

“Though solar and wind power have now become cheap, taking advantage of these technologies requires careful planning and modelling,” says Miketa. “This report, and IRENA’s guidance, should help emerging economies to set themselves on a path towards sustainable development with renewables.”

To learn more about variable renewable energy planning and modelling, read the report on IRENA’s website.

Read more: Planning for Solar and Wind

Over a billion people in rural and peri-urban areas live without electricity, and another 2.9 billion rely on traditional fuels (like firewood) for cooking and heating. The Sustainable Development Goals recognise that bringing affordable electricity access to these people will enable increased productivity, higher incomes, improved food and water security, enhanced access to healthcare and education, and a host of other benefits towards developing communities and raising people out of poverty.

But what’s the best way to sustainably bring electricity access to people and gain this myriad of benefits in a timely manner? Off-grid renewables offer one approach that fulfils these needs and is both economical and good for the environment.

How off-grid renewables can be best integrated into national electrification strategies and maximise socioeconomic benefits, was the focus of discussion at IRENA’s 7th Assembly’s Ministerial Roundtable, Catalysing off-grid renewable energy deployment – Towards universal electricity access and the attainment of SDGs, held on 15 January 2017 in Abu Dhabi.

Adnan Z. Amin, IRENA Director-General“A few years ago, off-grid renewables were a social charity. Today it’s a business, and entrepreneurs are delivering energy access now.” — Adnan Z. Amin, IRENA Director-General

“Renewable energy provides a unique opportunity to reconcile multiple sustainable development objectives while offering a viable solution for catalysing socio-economic development,” said Adnan Z. Amin, IRENA Director-General, at the opening of the discussion. “Off-grid solutions can empower rural communities to catalyse local economies, increase incomes, escape the poverty trap, and contribute to the development of resilient and sustainable energy infrastructure.”

Convening thought leaders in the sector

The Ministerial Roundtable discussion was complemented by insights from a high-level panel constituting key international (e.g. African Development Bank, Sustainable Energy for All) and private sector (e.g. Mobisol, SELCO, Azuri Technologies) actors. The dynamism of the discussion was remarkable and it was clear that the question is not why but how — how to deploy off-grid solutions faster and at scale.

Several governments recognized the substantial socio-economic benefits on offer and the advantages offered by off-grid solutions in terms of scale, pace and livelihood-impact, and demonstrated the will, targets, and plans to support off-grid renewable energy deployment.

Harish Hande, Managing Director of SELCO“We need to look at off-grid in the manner that it delivers services, not electricity.” — Harish Hande, Co-Founder of SELCO

Speakers said that to accelerate the pace of off-grid renewable energy deployment, planners need to rethink solutions and approaches for electrification, and develop integrated planning processes that consider the viability of grid-based and off-grid solutions — this will promote that adequate electricity access be delivered sustainably and timely. They emphasised that governments need to look at access from a ‘delivery of services’ perspective and not the number of Mega-watts alone, and that focusing on education, health and productive end-uses will enable customisation of energy solutions and maximise socio-economic impacts.

These outcomes from the Ministerial Roundtable echoed those from last September’s the 3rdInternational Off-grid Renewable Energy Conference (IOREC).

Creating an ecosystem to accelerate deployment

Thomas Duveau, Mobisol’s Head of Business Development“All the small businesses that I know in sub-Saharan Africa can be powered by solar.” — Thomas Duveau, Mobisol’s Head of Business Development

“Ensuring access to modern energy is critical for achieving sustainable development goals,” said Tone Skogen, Norway’s State Secretary and moderator of the Roundtable. Efforts are needed to accelerate the pace of off-grid renewable energy deployment, and this requires an enabling environment hinged on tailored policy and regulations, customised financing and business models, capacity building, and innovative technology solutions.

As touched upon in the previous day’s Legislator’s Forum, policies and regulations play a central role in promoting off-grid renewable energy development. At IOREC 2016,  IRENA released a major report focusing on policy and regulatory design for mini-grid development, along with a report focusing on ongoing and future technology innovations in renewable mini-grids..

Ali Ahmad Osmani, Afghanistan’s Minister of Energy and Water“Least developed countries have two big challenges: energy quantity and quality. Governments need to focus on speeding up accessibility.” — Ali Ahmad Osmani, Afghanistan’s Minister of Energy and Water

The discussion during the Ministerial Roundtable highlighted that besides the generation technology, innovation on the appliance side, including those for productive uses (e.g. welding machines, agro-processing equipment) and public services (e.g. healthcare equipment), have the potential to transform the lives of millions with new economic possibilities and social inclusion. As an example, IRENA’s earlier work demonstrated the wide range of benefits that could be realized from deploying decentralised renewable energy solutions in the agri-food chain.

Michal Kurtyka, Undersecretary of State of Poland’s Ministry of Energy“Local mobilisation of renewables is important to get not just electricity, but education and health services too.” — Michal Kurtyka, Undersecretary of State of Poland’s Ministry of Energy

Access to affordable and long-term financing for end-users and entrepreneurs was highlighted as key for catalyzing growth in the off-grid renewable sector. In particular, the importance of unlocking asset-based financing for rural consumers and levering on microcredit delivery was emphasised to be important. The importance of innovative financing tools, including provision of guarantees for de-risking private sector investments and local currency loans, was also highlighted.

The development of technical capacity unanimously came across as key for ensuring that technology solutions are adapted to local conditions. These capacities need to be developed across the value chain, including among regulators, financing institutions and communities.

Building partnerships towards a common objective

The Ministerial Roundtable concluded with an emphasis on the importance of partnerships and collaboration. In achieving the objective of universal access to electricity, partnerships and international cooperation, as well as peer-to-peer learning will be key to maximise efficiency and impact of efforts and resources.

Rachel Kyte, Chief Executive Officer of Sustainable Energy for All“I’m heartened by how the conversation here has changed. This is not development as usual. This is different.” — Rachel Kyte, Chief Executive Officer of Sustainable Energy for All

The outcomes of the Ministerial Roundtable were reported back to the Assembly, and will further feed into IRENA’s future work on policy and regulatory analysis, entrepreneurship promotion, data and information gathering, tools development and country-level support.

To learn more about off-grid renewables, check out IRENA’s recently released key findings and recommendations from its International Off-grid Renewable Energy Conference.

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At a media frenzied event last March, electric car manufacturer, Tesla, unveiled its Model 3. Priced to compete with conventional fossil-fuelled vehicles, it attracted over 325,000 reservations within a week.  The hype built around this vehicle, and several other fast and slick electric cars, is but a symptom of a much larger and growing movement across the motor vehicle industry, to cut the transport sector’s oil addiction and switch to electric power.

Globally the stock of electric vehicles is on the rise, and in 2015 more than one million electric vehicles were on the road. That number grew to more than two million in 2016, with China, the US, and several European countries leading the way in uptake.

“There are many factors that have led to this surge in uptake. Strong technological progress, the implementation of policies, and cost reductions, particularly in batteries, have all played a part,” says Dolf Gielen, Director of IRENA’s Innovation and Technology Centre. “Despite on-going battery performance improvements and cost reductions, electric vehicles still face obstacles, and overcoming them will be key to getting electric vehicle adoption to move forward.”

Moving forward

IRENA’s newly released technology brief on the state of Electric Vehicles, suggests four concurrent general strategies to maximise their benefits. These strategies include increasing electric vehicle deployment; providing sufficient charging equipment for more electric vehicles; decarbonising electricity generation with more renewable energy; and integrating electric vehicles into renewable energy-powered grids.

“The public already perceives electric vehicles as providing an excellent driving experience, and new models being introduced this year and next, will have much greater driving range than most of today’s. But finding ways to encourage people to switch to electric, is still necessary,” says IRENA analyst Francisco Boshell. “Strong policies to reduce the cost of electric vehicles, provide driving and parking advantages, and ensure sufficient recharging infrastructure, will likely be needed for at least another five to ten years, to have a chance for rapid sales growth and to achieve target stock levels by 2030.”Projections of electric vehicle sales required to meet IRENA estimates, shown with the global passenger car sales by market, 2015-2030

In IRENA’s renewable energy transport roadmap, The Renewable Route to Sustainable Transport, the Agency estimates that there could be as many as 160 million electric vehicles on the road by 2030 (about 10% of the passenger car fleet). They would not just serve to lower levels of air pollution in cities, but also provide significant battery capacity in some markets to support variable renewable energy — like wind and solar — at significantly larger scale.

“Electric vehicles create a paradigm shift for both the transport and power sectors,” explains Boshell. “They can support variable renewable power growth through optimised charging schemes such as time-variable smart charging, and vehicle to grid electricity supply.”

Electric benefits

Replacing conventional vehicles with electric ones comes with many benefits, including reduced noise pollution, and zero tailpipe emissions — meaning less local air pollution. Depending on the power generation of the city or region, electric vehicles can also lower carbon dioxide emissions and so play a role in averting climate change.

“Governments should also consider promoting electric two-wheelers and electric buses as a way of reducing pollution and noise in populated and urban regions,” says Nicholas Wagner, coordinator of IRENA’s transport analysis. Worldwide, the external costs of air pollution relating to the use of fuels in the transport sector were in the range of USD 460-2,400 billion in 2010, and this could increase 40 per cent by 2030.

Connecting electric vehicles to the grid expands ‘demand side management’ options — using smart grids to give customers control and make well-informed decisions on their consumption of electricity — that can help customers shift their electricity loads during peak periods. For residential consumers, demand side management enables them to be informed about when they can cheaply consume electricity, saving both energy and money.

For this reason, some countries are taking steps to increase the number of charging stations in their territory. In 2016, over 8,000 public and private charging stations were installed in Beijing, China. The city has plans to install 435,000 more by 2020.

techbrief-ev-fig2Source: Adapted from Probst et al, (2011)

Developing the methods and understanding for how to best charge, aggregate and control electric vehicle load on the grid, is still a fundamental and on-going issue, according to the report. But eventually smart-charging will be able to support distribution and grid management, and ultimately improve the operation of electric vehicles.

To learn more about sustainable solutions in the transport sector, IRENA is developing a transportation series that includes Biofuels for Aviation, Biogas for Road Vehicles and Renewable Energy Options for Shipping.

Read more: Enabling Variable Renewables and Driving Down...

Mercom Capital Group, llc, a global clean energy communications and consulting firm, forecasts global solar installations to reach 66.7 GW with China, the United States, Japan and India to make up the top four solar markets this year.

Click here to get the full report: http://bit.ly/MercomSolarApr2016Form

“Solar installations are forecasted to grow year-over-year globally despite recent headwinds in the sector with solar stocks, yieldcos, bankruptcies and the negative perception surrounding solar public companies. Solar has grown from just 2.6 GW in 2007 to a forecasted 66.7 GW in 2016 showing impressive resiliency along the way as it becomes one of the fastest growing new generation sources around the world,” commented Raj Prabhu, CEO and Co-Founder of Mercom Capital Group.

China installed 15.1 GW of solar in 2015, retaining its top spot as the largest solar installer in the world. Mercom forecasts China to install 18.5 GW in 2016. The additional 5.3 GW installation quota combined with the expected rush to meet FiT deadlines in the first half of the year should help China exceed 2015 installation numbers. China’s Q1 2016 installation figures of 7.14 GW confirm that it is off to a fast start. China recently reduced the FiT by up to 11 percent based on regions. To address the subsidy payment issues and raise additional revenue, the renewable energy surcharge has been increased by 27 percent, and an on-grid power tariff for commercial and industrial customers has been reduced to tackle shortages in the renewable energy fund. To address curtailment issues, the government has proposed a policy of guaranteed purchase of renewable power which it plans to implement gradually. 

The unexpected extension of the U.S. Investment Tax Credit (ITC) in December last year has completely changed the dynamics of the U.S. solar market. Mercom forecasts a conservative 13.5 GW of solar installations in 2016 as vendors are indicating a slower first quarter - at least in terms of new projects - as developers are taking their time to line up suppliers and negotiate contracts. This of course may change in the second half of the year.

Japan is expected to install around 10.5 GW of solar this year. Its current solar installation goal is 28 GW by 2020. Japan cut the feed-in tariff in March of 2016 by 11 percent. While the country started off with an overly generous FiT in 2012 of ¥42 (~$0.387)/kWh, it is now down to ¥24 (~$0.221)/kWh. Japan continues to struggle with grid connection, curtailment issues, and an undeveloped pipeline. Of the approved pipeline, only about 15 percent has been installed. Japan is also looking to implement solar auctions in order to cut subsidy costs.

India is expected to install over 4 GW in 2016 which will bring it to the fourth spot globally. India currently has a pipeline of over 21 GW under development and in pending auctions as the country targets its installation goal of 100 GW by 2022. Aggressive bidding in its recent auctions has caused some concerns to the viability of these projects due to unrealistic low bids. The latest India update can be found here.

The top three solar markets in Europe are again expected to be the U.K., Germany and France.

Proliferation of solar auctions around the world is an important development over the last 12 months with subsidy costs from solar becoming an issue in many countries. Germany completed three auctions in 2015, the U.K. and Japan are looking at a similar model, France is conducting solar auctions, and China is also contemplating auctions. India and South African solar policies are primarily based on auctions while Brazil and Mexico are also largely auction-based.

Subscribers to Mercom’s weekly Solar Market Intelligence Report will have access to the full report. To become a subscriber, visit: https://secure.campaigner.com/CSB/Public/Form.aspx?fid=1120345

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://mercomcapital.com/market_intelligence.php.

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Residential/commercial funds bring in $1.36 billion in Q2 2016, debt and public market financing slump continues

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 of 2016. 

To learn more about the report, visit: http://bit.ly/MercomSolarQ22016

Total corporate funding, including venture capital funding, public market and debt financing into the solar sector in Q2 2016 fell to $1.7 billion this quarter,  a 41 percent drop compared to the $2.8 billion raised in Q1 2016. Year-over-year total corporate funding was down significantly compared to $5.9 billion in the second quarter of last year.

“The solar industry continues to experience weakness in terms of financing activity, and corporate funding in Q2 2016 was at its lowest level in three years,” said Raj Prabhu, CEO and Co-Founder of Mercom Capital Group.

Global solar VC funding (including private equity) saw a large decline this quarter with $174 million in 16 deals compared to $406 million in 23 deals in Q1 2016. Year-over-year (YoY) VC numbers were slightly better compared to Q2 2015 with $142 million in 24 deals.

Solar downstream companies raised the most (64 percent) VC funding in Q2 2016 with $112 million in seven deals. A large part of the total came from the $100 million raised by Silicon Ranch from private equity firm Partners Group.

Other VC deals this quarter included the $20 million raised by Tigo Energy, 1366 Technologies’ $15 million raise, and the $12.5 million raised by Sol Voltaics. A total of 21 VC investors participated in funding deals.

Solar public market financing in Q2 2016 came to $179 million in four deals compared to $94 million in four deals  in the first quarter of 2016 and $2.3 billion in 12 deals in Q2 2015.

Announced debt financing came to $1.3 billion in 12 deals in Q2 2016 compared to $2.3 billion raised in 19 deals in Q1 2016 and $3.4 billion in 14 deals in Q2 2015.

The top large-scale project funding deal in Q2 2016 was the $588 million secured by Engie for its 100 MW Kathu CSP solar project located in Northern Cape Province of South Africa. Connor, Clark & Lunn Infrastructure, Samsung Renewable Energy and Six Nations of the Grand River Development secured $482 million for their 100 MW Grand Renewable solar project. DE Shaw Renewables received a $226 million syndicated loan for its 100 MW North Star solar project.  Suzhou GCL New Energy secured a loan of $200 million for the construction of Hubei Jiangling Sanhu solar project and Hefei Changfeng Mingcheng Reservoir solar projects (60 MW). Mytrah secured a $175 million loan for the development of a portfolio of solar and wind projects in the company's pipeline.

It was a good quarter for residential and commercial solar funds, led by SolarCity, Mosaic, and Sunnova Energy, with $1.36 billion in 11 deals in Q2 2016, a 36 percent increase over the $1 billion raised in six deals in Q1 2016. Of the $1.36 billion announced in Q2 2016, $800 million went towards the lease model and $555 million went to loan funds. Since 2009, almost $20 billion has gone into residential/commercial solar funds.

There were 17 solar M&A transactions in the second quarter of 2016 compared to 14 in Q1 2016. Almost half of the M&A transactions involved solar downstream companies with eight deals, which was followed by BOS companies with five.

Sungevity announced a merger with Easterly Acquisition Corp, a blank check company traded on Nasdaq in a deal valued at $357 million.

There were 38 large-scale solar project acquisitions (13 disclosed for $1.9 billion) in Q2 2016, compared to Q1 2016 with 50 transactions (22 disclosed for $1.2 billion). More than 2 GW of solar projects were acquired in the second quarter compared to the 2.4 GW in the previous quarter.

The largest disclosed project acquisition by dollar amount in Q2 2016 was the $1.4 billion acquisition of 1,140 MW (solar 994 MW and wind 146 MW) renewable energy project pipeline of Welspun Renewables Energy by Tata Power Renewable Energy, a Tata Power subsidiary. NextEnergy Solar Fund, a UK-based investment fund, acquired a portfolio of five solar projects totaling 84.3 MW for $140 million. United PV (Changzhou) Investment, a wholly owned subsidiary of United Photovoltaics Group, acquired a 99 percent equity interest in Guodian Wulateqianqi Photovoltaics Power from Forty-eighth Research Institute of China Electronics Technology Group for $75 million, which gave them a 50 MW solar project located in Inner Mongolia. 8point3 Energy Partners, a yieldco formed by First Solar and SunPower acquired an interest in the 40 MW Kingbird solar project located in Kern County, California, from First Solar, for $60 million. Sky Capital America, a wholly owned U.S. subsidiary of Sky Solar, acquired 22 operating solar projects in California and one operating solar project in Massachusetts for a combined 22 MW from Greenleaf-TNX and SunPeak Universal Holdings for $57 million.

Mercom also tracked 196 new large-scale project announcements worldwide in Q2 2016 totaling 11.3 GW.

About Mercom Capital Group

Mercom Capital Group, 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://mercomcapital.com/market_intelligence.php.

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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 of 2016. 

 

Total corporate funding, including venture capital funding, public market and debt financing into the solar sector in Q2 2016 fell to $1.7 billion this quarter, approximately a 41 percent drop compared to the $2.8 billion raised in Q1 2016. Year-over-year total corporate funding was down significantly compared to $5.9 billion in the first quarter of last year.

Read more: Total Corporate Funding in the Solar Sector...

Smart Grid companies receive $222 million; Battery/Storage companies receive $125 million; Energy Efficiency companies raise $86 million

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 Smart Grid, Battery/Storage and Energy Efficiency sectors for the second quarter of 2016.

To get a copy of the report, visit: http://bit.ly/MercomSGQ22016

Smart Grid

Venture capital (VC) funding (including private equity and corporate venture capital) for Smart Grid companies doubled with $222 million in 15 deals compared to $110 million in 14 deals in Q1 2016. Year-over-year (YoY), funding also doubled compared to Q2 2015 when $104 million was raised in 18 deals.The top VC funded Smart Grid related technology companies included Vivint Smart Home, which raised $100 million from tech investor Peter Thiel and investment firm Solamere Capital; ChargePoint, which raised $50 million from Linse Capital, Braemar Energy Ventures, Constellation Energy, Statoil Energy Ventures, Envision Ventures, Jan Klatten, Michael Liebreich, and Rick Wagoner; AutoGrid Systems, which raised $20 million from a consortium of global investors including Energy Impact Partners, Envision Ventures, Envision Energy and E.ON; Origami Energy, which brought in $19.5 million from Cambridge Innovation Capital, Octopus Ventures, and Fred Olsen-related companies; and lastly Comfy secured $12 million in funding from Emergence Capital, CBRE Group, Microsoft Ventures, Claremont Creek Ventures, and Westly Group.

There were 46 VC investors that participated in Smart Grid deals in Q2 2016 compared to 22 in Q1 2016. Smart Grid Communication technologies, including Home Automation, had the largest share of VC funding with $123 million, a substantial increase from the $31 million raised in four deals in Q1 2016.

There was one debt financing deal announced in the second quarter of 2016 for $3 million, compared to $214 million in two debt & public market financing deals in the previous quarter.

There were three M&A transactions for Smart Grid technologies in Q2 2016 (one disclosed) compared to two transactions (one disclosed) in Q1 2016.

Battery/Storage

VC funding for Battery/Storage companies doubled with $125 million in 10 deals in Q2 2016 compared to $54 million in 10 deals in the previous quarter. Year-over-year funding in Q2 2016 was in line with Q2 2015, which had $126 million in 13 deals. 

VC funding in Q2 2016 was spread across six Battery/Storage sub-technologies: lithium-ion batteries, sodium-based batteries, energy storage systems, lead-based batteries, energy storage management software and thermal energy storage.

The Top 5 Battery/Storage VC funding deals were: Nexeon with $43.3 million from PUK Ventures, Imperial Innovations, Invesco Perpetual, Wacker Chemie and Woodford Investment Management; Aquion Energy with $33 million; Stem with $15 million from Mithril Capital Management, Greenvision Technologies (brand name Relicell) with $8 million from Vintage Energy & Resources; and Silatronix with $8 million from Hitachi Chemical and Inabata.

Twenty investors participated in Battery and Storage funding in Q2 2016 compared to eight in Q1 2016. Lithium-ion Battery companies raised the most funding with $51.3 million in three deals.

Announced debt and public market financing for Battery/Storage technologies came to $65 million in two deals in the second quarter of 2016, compared to $28.5 million in two deals in Q1 2016. Plug Power and FuelCell Energy closed on a long-term loan facility for $40 million and $25 million respectively with Hercules Capital.

There were four M&A transactions for Battery/Storage companies in Q2 2016 two of which disclosed financial details. In Q1 2016, there were two M&A transactions, neither disclosed transaction details. The largest M&A deal in the second quarter of 2016 was the $1.1 billion acquisition of Saft by Total.

Efficiency

There was a sharp decline in VC funding for Energy Efficiency technology companies in Q2 2016 with $86 million in nine deals compared to $211 million in 14 deals in Q1 2016. In a YoY comparison, VC funding for Efficiency companies in Q2 2015 was $211 million with twice as many deals with 18. 

The top VC funded company in Q2 2016 was Thermondo which raised over $25.6 million in funding from: Global Founders Capital, E.ON, Holtzbrinck Ventures, IBB, and Picus Capital, followed by tado° which raised $23 million in funding from Inven Capital, Electric Imp which raised $21 million in funding from Rampart Capital and Redpoint Ventures and Kyulux which raised $13.5 million from Samsung Venture Investment, Samsung Display, LG Display, Japan Display, JOLED, top tier Japanese venture capital funds and a Japanese government affiliated venture fund.

Eighteen investors participated in Energy Efficiency VC deals in Q2 2016 compared to 31 in the previous quarter.

Announced debt and public market financing in the Efficiency category peaked in the second quarter of 2016 with $1.75 billion in seven deals. In Q1 2016 there were two debt deals for $238 million.

There was one initial public offering (IPO) in the Efficiency category by Philips Lighting, which accounted for $959 million.

In Q2 PACE Financing totaled $762 million including $512 million in PACE Securitization deals from three transactions. Top deals included the $305.3 million raised by Renovate America, through its seventh securitization of PACE bonds; $250 million credit facility secured by Ygrene Energy Fund to support the expansion of its PACE program investments and $123 million raised by Renew Financial through its second securitization of residential PACE bonds.

M&A transactions in the Efficiency sector doubled in the second quarter of 2016 with seven transactions (three disclosed) compared to three transactions in Q1 2016 of which only one disclosed details. The top deal was the $532 million acquisition of Opower by Oracle. Another notable deal was the merger of Dividend Solar and Figtree Financing.

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 Smart Grid, Battery/Storage & 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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Read more: Smart Grid, Battery/Storage and Efficiency...

Residential/commercial funds bring in $1.1 billion

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 third quarter of 2016. 

To learn more about the report, visit: http://bit.ly/MercomSolarQ32016

Total corporate funding, including venture capital, public market and debt financing into the solar sector in Q3 2016 was up to about $3 billion in 45 deals, compared to the $1.7 billion in 32 deals in Q2 2016.

“Funding levels bounced back across the board compared to a weak Q2 but they are still well below last year’s totals,” commented Raj Prabhu, CEO and Co-Founder of Mercom Capital Group. “The combination of slower than expected U.S. demand, the overcapacity situation coming out of China, and global hyper-competitive auctions leading to lower margins has affected the entire supply chain and most of the solar equities are in the red year-to-date. The exception has been the rebound of some of the yieldcos.”

Global VC funding (including private equity) for the solar sector almost doubled in Q3 2016 with $342 million in 16 deals compared to the $174 million raised in the same number of deals in Q2 2016.

Solar downstream companies raised $273 million in eight deals compared to $112 million in seven deals in Q2 2016. The largest share came from the $220 million raised by Solar Mosaic, a provider of residential solar loans, from Warburg Pincus, Core Innovation Capital and Obvious Ventures.

Other top VC deals this quarter included the $47 million raised by Heliatek, $20 million raised by BBOXX, $15 million raised by d.light, and the $10 million each raised by Morgan Solar and Off-Grid Electric.

Solar public market financing in Q3 2016 came to $880 million in five deals, including one IPO, compared to $179 million in four deals in Q2 2016. In Q3 of 2015, public market financing totaled $1.8 billion.

The first solar IPO this year was recorded by BCPG, a solar downstream company for $166 million.

Debt financing came to almost $1.8 billion in 24 deals in Q3 2016 compared to 12 deals in Q2 2016 for $1.3 billion. Year-over-year, $4.1 billion was raised in 22 deals in Q3 2015.

The top large-scale project funding deal this quarter was Magnetar Capital’s raise of $397 million to refinance its 135 MW UK solar projects portfolio. Sinogreenergy raised $200 million to develop a portfolio of up to 550 MW of solar projects in Taiwan. SunPower secured a $199.7 million syndicated loan for its 100 MW Pelican Solar Project in Chile. Gunkul Engineering secured $115.8 million in a syndicated loan for the construction of the 31.75 MW Sendai Okura solar project in Japan. Fotowatio Renewable Ventures received $103.4 million in project financing for the 50 MW solar PV project in northern Jordan.

Residential and commercial solar funds raised in Q3 2016 came to $1.1 billion in five deals compared to $1.36 billion in 11 deals in Q2 2016. Of the $1.1 billion announced this quarter, $760 million went towards lease and $333 million went to loan funds. So far this year, close to $3.5 billion has been raised in 22 deals. During the same period last year, more than $5 billion was raised in 21 deals.

There were 18 solar M&A transactions in Q3 2016 compared to 17 in the previous quarter. Solar downstream companies accounted for half of the transactions (nine), followed by manufacturers with five. Four acquisitions involved SunEdison companies this quarter as a result of the company filing for bankruptcy and selling off parts of its business.

There were 55 large-scale solar project acquisitions (24 disclosed for $1.3 billion) compared to Q2 2016 which had 38 transactions (13 disclosed for $1.9 billion). About 2.6 GW of solar projects were acquired in Q3 2016 compared to 2 GW in the previous quarter.

The largest disclosed transaction was the $218 million acquisition of a 24 percent stake in Desert Sunlight Investment Holdings’ 550 MW solar project in California (called Desert Sunlight Solar Energy Center) by NextEra Energy Partners. Solar Partnership Capital acquired 152 MW of solar projects from Sky Solar Japan for $165 million. Integrated Asset Management acquired a portfolio of 30 solar projects totaling 34 MW in Italy for $141.4 million. 8point3 Energy Partners, a yieldco company formed by First Solar and SunPower, acquired SunPower's 49 percent stake in its 102 MW Henrietta Solar Project in California for $134 million. Macquarie Group and BRUC Capital acquired a 37 MW solar project pipeline including 27 individual projects in Japan from IBC SOLAR for $101.2 million.

Mercom tracked 185 new large-scale project announcements worldwide in Q3 2016 totaling 9.2 GW. 

About Mercom Capital Group

Mercom Capital Group 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://mercomcapital.com/market_intelligence.php.

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Read more: Total Corporate Funding in the Solar Sector...

$625 million goes to Battery Storage residential and commercial project funds

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 Smart Grid, Battery Storage and Energy Efficiency sectors for the third quarter of 2016.

To get a copy of the report, visit: http://bit.ly/MercomSGQ32016

Smart Grid, Battery Storage and Efficiency companies raised $102 million in venture capital funding (including private equity and corporate venture capital) in Q3 2016. The top funded company was an Efficiency company, ecobee, a manufacturer of a Wi-Fi-enabled smart thermostat, with $35 million raised from Amazon Alexa Fund, Thomvest and Relay Ventures. Skeleton Technologies, a developer and manufacturer of ultracapacitors, raised $14.5 million from FirstFloor Capital, UP Invest and Harju Elekter in the second largest deal. Sense, a developer of a home energy monitoring system, rounded out the top three, with $14 million raised from Shell Technology Ventures, Energy Impact Partners, Capricorn Investment Group, Prelude Ventures, CRV and Bolt.

Smart Grid

Venture capital (VC) funding (including private equity and corporate venture capital) for Smart Grid companies came to $11 million in seven deals in the third quarter of 2016, the lowest amount of VC funding for a quarter since Mercom began tracking funding activity. In Q2 2016, $222 million went into 15 deals. In a year-over-year (YoY) comparison, $81 million went into 12 deals in Q3 2015.

There were seven VC investors that participated in Smart Grid deals in Q3 2016, compared to 46 in Q2 2016. 

There was one debt financing deal announced in the third quarter of 2016 for $250,000, compared to $3 million in one debt financing deal in Q2 2016. 

There were eight M&A transactions for Smart Grid technologies in Q3 2016 (two disclosed) compared to three transactions (one disclosed) in Q2 2016.

Battery Storage

VC funding for Battery Storage companies declined sharply with $30 million in nine deals compared to $125 million in 10 deals in Q2 2016 as significant funding activity this quarter shifted to Battery Storage project funds this quarter. YoY funding in Q3 2016 was lower than Q3 2015, which had $96 million in nine deals.

VC funding in Q2 2016 was spread across six Battery Storage sub-technologies: supercapacitor, lithium-based batteries, energy storage management software, energy storage systems, thermal energy storage and flow batteries.

Twenty-two investors participated in Battery and Storage funding in Q3 2016. There were 20 investors in Q2 2016.

Announced debt and public market financing for Battery Storage technologies totaled $51.6 million in three deals this quarter, compared to $40 million in one deal in Q2 2016. FuelCell Energy raised $40 million through the sale of shares and warrants. Electrovaya secured a loan of $10 million, and Ixous raised $1.6 million in debt funding.

It was a record quarter for Battery Storage residential and commercial project funds which totaled $625 million in four deals, compared to $175 million raised in two deals in Q2 2016. Tabuchi America raised $300 million in project financing for residential solar-plus-storage installations in the residential sector’s only project fund. On the commercial side, Advanced Microgrid Solutions secured $200 million in funding from Macquarie Capital. Stem, a provider of commercial behind-the-meter energy storage systems, announced an investment of up to $100 million from Starwood Energy Group. Sharp’s Energy Systems and Services Group, a division of Sharp Electronics Corporations (the U.S. subsidiary of Osaka-based Sharp Corporation) and a developer of a behind-the-meter energy storage system for peak demand reduction for commercial and industrial building owners, announced $25 million in funding for solar coupled with its SmartStorage energy storage solution.

Since 2013, $1.1 billion has been raised in Battery Storage project funds.

There were three M&A transactions from Battery Storage companies in Q3 2016, none of which disclosed financial details. In Q2 2016, there were four M&A transactions, two of which disclosed transaction amounts. In a YoY comparison, there were three transactions in Q3 2015.

Efficiency

VC funding for Energy Efficiency technology companies fell again this quarter with $61 million in five deals compared to $86 million in nine deals in Q2 2016. In a YoY comparison, VC funding for Efficiency companies in Q3 2015 was much higher with $316 million in 17 deals.

Seventeen investors participated in Energy Efficiency VC deals in Q3 2016 compared to 18 in the previous quarter.

Announced debt and public market financing in the Efficiency category came to $328.2 million in two deals in Q3 2016, one of which was Renovate America’s eighth securitization deal for $320.2 million. Renovate America is a provider of residential Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing in the U.S. for energy efficiency solutions. In Q2 2016 there were seven debt deals for $1.75 billion, including three securitization deals totaling $512 million.

There were two M&A transactions in the Energy Efficiency sector in the third quarter, compared to seven in Q2 2016. Both transactions were from lighting companies; they did not disclosed transaction details.

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 Smart Grid, Battery Storage & 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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Read more: Smart Grid, Battery Storage and Efficiency...

Solar Demand Outlook Improves for 2017 with 70 GW 

Mercom Capital Group, llc, a global clean energy communications and consulting firm, forecasts global solar installations to reach 76 GW in 2016. Solar installations to hit 70 GW in 2017.

Click here to get the full report: http://bit.ly/MercomSolarNov2016Form

“Global solar demand will overshoot most forecasts made earlier this year due to an unprecedented level of activity in China,” said Raj Prabhu, CEO and Co-Founder of Mercom Capital Group. "Record installations in China followed by a slowdown resulted in an oversupply situation, which led to a module price crash. Low module prices are helping demand recovery going into 2017.”

Rather than a slowdown as expected earlier, global solar demand outlook has improved for 2017 as steep module price declines have triggered a rebound in China in anticipation of the next round of tariff cuts. In fact, this latest rebound has stabilized module price declines somewhat. Similar demand recovery due to improved project economics is expected in other markets.

After installing 15.1 GW in 2015, China overshot its 2016 installation goal of 18.1 GW in the first half of 2016 alone with approximately 22 GW installed as developers rushed to complete projects before the country’s June 30 tariff deadline. Demand fell after the tariff cuts, which triggered a drop in solar module prices resulting in an oversupply situation. Spot module prices have fallen approximately 30 percent YTD and about 21 percent since June. Due to unprecedented installation levels, China’s National Energy Administration is looking at a 27 percent reduction in the country’s solar installation target from 150 GW to 110 GW by 2020.

Mercom’s forecast for the U.S. solar market in 2016 is approximately 13 GW. The forecast is mostly unchanged from our earlier estimates as channel checks have consistently indicated slower than expected activity after the ITC extension was announced in December 2015. A substantial number of large-scale projects have been postponed to 2017 due to the absence of an impending ITC deadline.

The U.S. market is projected to grow about 78 percent year-over-year in 2016. Utility-scale solar projects continue to drive the U.S. solar market with an estimated pipeline of more than 30 GW. Power purchase agreements (PPAs) are being signed at lower and lower prices and rapid module price declines due to the oversupply situation in China are expected to stimulate activity in the U.S. even more as project IRRs improve. All of this could lead to a strong 2017 for the U.S.

The unexpected election of Donald Trump has left the market questioning if it will be impacted by the results. While the U.S. Clean Power Plan, President Obama’s signature climate change policy, may be the first casualty, the ITC extension will likely remain due to the bipartisan nature of how the extension was passed and the fact that the solar sector employs more than 200,000 citizens.

Japan and India will follow China and the U.S. as the third and fourth largest markets this year. India has a chance to move up to the third spot in 2017 based on its current project pipeline. Japan is expected to install 10.5 GW this year. The tariff revisions coming up in Japan in April 2017 could be steep. Reverse auctions and regulations are also expected in April 2017 as Japan moves toward auctions in an effort to reduce subsidy bills. India is expected to install about 4 GW this year and double that in 2017. The Indian solar market is largely driven by auctions and has a robust 20 GW pipeline.

The European market continues to decline with only the U.K., Germany and France expected to install more than 1 GW in 2016. In 2017, France and Germany are the only European markets forecast to  install more than a gigawatt.

Australia is expected to install approximately 1 GW in both 2016 and 2017.

Other solar markets to watch include Latin America, an important growth market led by Mexico, Chile and Brazil, and the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, which is also a significant up and coming market especially after the collapse of oil prices. South Africa and Saudi Arabia are forecast to show significant growth.

Subscribers to Mercom’s weekly Solar Market Intelligence Report will have access to the full update. To become a subscriber, visit: http://bit.ly/MercomSubscribe

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://mercomcapital.com/market_intelligence.php.

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Read more: Mercom Forecasts 76 GW in Global Solar...

$4.9 Billion Raised by Residential and Commercial Solar Funds, VC Funding Reaches $1.3 Billion

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 2016.

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 $9.1 billion, compared to $25.3 billion in 2015, a 64 percent drop. 

To learn more about the report, visithttp://bit.ly/MercomSolarQ42016

“It was a challenging year for solar companies in terms of fundraising even as demand is expected to reach an all-time high,” commented Raj Prabhu, CEO and Co-founder of Mercom Capital Group.  “However, 2017 looks better than expected as lower module prices are expected to boost installation levels,” he added.

Global VC investments came to $1.25 billion in 77 deals in 2016, compared to $1.1 billion in 83 deals in 2015. 

Solar downstream companies accounted for 80 percent of the VC funding in 2016, with $985 million of the $1.3 billion raised. Investments in PV technology companies came to $97 million and thin-film companies brought in $95 million. Balance of Systems (BoS) companies raised $37 million. Service providers raised $24 million. In one deal each, the CPV category raised $10 million and the CSP category raised $2.3 million. 

Among the Top VC deals in 2016, the largest was the $300 million raised by Sunnova Energy, followed by the $220 million raised by Solar Mosaic. Origis Energy and Silicon Ranch each raised $100 million. 

There were 100 investors that participated in funding rounds in 2016, with five involved in multiple rounds: Energy Access Ventures, ENGIE Rassembleurs d’Energies, International Finance Corporation (IFC), KawiSafi Ventures, and Neo Solar Power.

Public market financing was lower this year with $1.8 billion in 27 deals, compared to the 2015 record of $6 billion in 38 deals. There were three IPOs which brought in $230 million – they were BCPG (a subsidiary of Bangchak Petroleum), Azure Power, and Ripasso Energy. Four yieldcos raised public market financing. There was no IPO activity by yieldcos in 2016.

Debt financing in 2016 totaled $6 billion compared to the $18.3 billion in 2015. There were three securitization deals in 2016 totaling $387 million. SolarCity raised a total of $234.6 million in two securitization deals and Shenzhen Energy had one securitization deal for $152 million.

Announced large-scale project funding in 2016 came to $9.4 billion in 133 deals this year, compared to 2015 with $11.6 billion in 124 deals. A total of 153 investors funded about 5.9 GW of large-scale solar projects this year.

The top investors for large-scale project funding were Santander, which invested in eight projects, followed by Bpifrance, Natixis and NORD/LB which invested in five projects each.

There was a total of $4.9 billion raised in 30 residential and commercial solar project funds in 2016 compared to $5.7 billion raised in 24 funds in 2015. SolarCity, Sunrun, Solar Mosaic, Spruce Finance, and Tabuchi Electric were the top fundraisers in 2016. Since 2009, solar residential and commercial firms offering lease, PPA and loans have raised more than $22.5 billion. In the last three quarters of 2016, loans made up almost 47 percent of residential/commercial funds announced.

There were 68 corporate M&A transactions in the solar sector in 2016 compared to 81 transactions in 2015. Solar downstream companies were involved in 38 of these transactions. BayWa r.e., DNV GL, Golden Concord Holdings, and Voltalia acquired two companies each. The largest and the most notable transaction in 2016 was the $2.1 billion acquisition of SolarCity by Tesla Motors.

There were a record 218 large-scale solar project acquisitions for more than 12.2 GW, compared to 2015 when 12.7 GW changed hands in 204 transactions. 

Mercom also tracked 133 large-scale project announcements worldwide in Q4 2016 totaling 5.8 GW and 826 project announcements totaling 40.4 GW for all of 2016.

To learn more about the report, visithttp://bit.ly/MercomSolarQ42016

About Mercom Capital Group

Mercom Capital Group, llc, is a global research and communications firm focused 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://mercomcapital.com/market_intelligence.php.

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Read more: Total Corporate Funding in Solar Sector Comes in...

Smart Grid companies bring in $389 million; Battery Storage companies secure $365 million; Energy Efficiency companies receive $528 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 Smart Grid, Battery Storage and Energy Efficiency sectors for 2016.

To get a copy of the report, visit: http://bit.ly/MercomSGQ42016

Smart Grid

Venture capital (VC) funding (including private equity and corporate venture capital) for Smart Grid companies dropped to $389 million in 42 deals, compared to $425 million in 57 deals in 2015. Total corporate funding, including debt and public market financing, came to $613 million compared to $527 million in 2015.

The top VC funded companies in 2016 were Vivint SmartHome, which brought in $100 million, ChargePoint which raised $50 million, followed by AutoGrid, mPrest, Powerhive and Smart Wires each raising $20 million. 

Eighty-two investors funded Smart Grid companies in 2016, compared to 103 in 2015. Top VC investors in 2016 included Total Energy Ventures, Envision Ventures, and GE Ventures. 

Smart Grid Communications companies, including Home and Building Automation technology companies, attracted the largest share of VC funding in 2016 with $154 million in 11 deals, followed by plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV) Smart Charging companies and Vehicle to Grid (V2G) companies with $83 million in four deals.

There were five debt and public market financing deals announced in 2016 for Smart Grid companies for a total of $224 million. There were no IPOs announced in 2016 for Smart Grid companies.

There were 15 Smart Grid M&A transactions (four disclosed) for $2.4 billion in 2016. The top disclosed transaction was the $1.7 billion acquisition of Xylem by Sensus. Other disclosed transactions included Southern Company’s acquisition of PowerSecure for $431 million, Centrica’s acquisition of ENER-G Cogen International for $208 million, and Norvestor Equity’s acquisition of Eneas Group’s for $89.2 million.

Battery Storage

VC funding for Battery Storage companies fell marginally to $365 million in 38 deals compared to $397 million in 37 deals in 2015. Total corporate funding, including debt and public market financing, came to $540 million compared to $676 million in 2015.

Energy Storage System companies received the most funding with $146 million followed by Lithium-based Battery companies with $79 million.

The top VC funded companies included sonnen which raised $85 million, Nexeon raised $43.3 million, Sunverge Energy brought in $36.5 million, Aquion Energy raised $33 million, and Eos Energy Storage raised $23 million.

Sixty-two VC investors participated in Battery Storage deals in 2016 compared to 57 in 2015.

Debt and public market financing for Battery Storage companies fell to $175 million from the $279 million raised in 2015. There were no IPOs announced in 2016 for Battery Storage companies. 

Although VC funding into battery storage companies declined, a significant amount of funding went into energy storage project funds which received a total of $820 million in seven deals compared to $30 million in three deals in 2015.

There were 11 M&A transactions (three disclosed) for Battery Storage companies in 2016, compared to 11 M&A transactions (four disclosed) in 2015. The most notable transaction was Total’s acquisition of Saft for $1.1 billion.

Efficiency

VC funding for the Energy Efficiency sector fell sharply, bringing in $528 million in 33 deals compared to $852 million in 67 deals in 2015. Total corporate funding, including debt and public market financing, was $3.8 billion, compared to $2 billion in 2015.

The top VC funded companies were Ygrene Energy Fund, which raised $95 million, followed by Renew Financial with $70 million, ecobee with $35 million, and UrbanVolt brought in $32.9 million. 

Efficiency Finance companies captured the most funding with $256 million in seven deals. A total of 72 investors participated in funding deals compared to 129 investors in 2015. Four investors in 2016 were involved in multiple deals; Prelude Ventures participated in three deals and EnerTech Capital, LL Funds, NGEN Partners had two deals each.

Energy Efficiency companies raised nearly $3.2 billion in debt and public market financing. Financing in Energy Efficiency is also moving toward project funding. Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing totaled $2.3 billion in 12 deals in 2016 compared to $1.1 billion in seven deals in 2015. There were nine securitization deals in 2016 for nearly $1.8 billion compared to seven securitization deals for $802 million in 2015. Securitization deals have now exceeded $2.8 billion in 16 deals since 2014.

There was one IPO in 2016; Philips Lighting, a provider of energy efficient LED lighting products, systems and services, raised $959 million in its IPO.

M&A activity in the efficiency sector in 2016 dipped with 14 transactions (five disclosed). In 2015, there were 45 M&A transactions (22 disclosed).

The largest disclosed transaction was the $532 million acquisition of Opower by Oracle. Other important transactions included the acquisition of Daintree Networks by GE subsidiary, Current and Wipro EcoEnergy’s acquisition by Chubb Alba Control Systems, an indirect subsidiary of United Technologies.

To get a copy of the report, visit: http://bit.ly/MercomSGQ42016

About Mercom Capital Group

Mercom Capital Group, llc, is a global communications and research firm focused on healthcare information technology, cleantech and financial communications. Mercom delivers highly respected industry market intelligence reports covering Smart Grid, Battery Storage & Efficiency, Solar Energy and Health IT/Digital Health. Our reports provide timely industry happenings and ahead-of-the-curve analysis specifically for C-level decision making. Mercom’s consulting division advises companies on new market entry, custom market intelligence and overall strategic decision-making. Mercom’s communications division helps 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://mercomcapital.com/market_intelligence.php.

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Read more: Smart Grid, Battery Storage and Efficiency...
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