Advanced Energy Perspectives

NEWS: SolarCity Tackles the Small Business Market; REV and CPP Get Industry Revved Up

Posted by Lexie Briggs

Jul 31, 2015 12:36:20 PM

    

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It’s a busy time for advanced energy! Between the imminent release of the final Clean Power Plan and New York’s vision for a 21st century electricity system coming ever closer to reality, there’s no dearth of news or excitement. Let’s begin this week with major news from an AEE member, SolarCity, which just had a record-breaking quarter.

SolarCity announced this week that it had a huge Q2, hitting 189 MW of installations. That capacity will rise even more soon, as the company announced a plan to reach a largely untapped market: small and midsize businesses. Already a leader in residential solar, SolarCity plans to offer a new financing model to appeal to small commercial customers. As reported in the LA Times, solar arrays under 100 kilowatts currently make up less than 10% of commercial installations.

Traditionally, the solar market for small and medium businesses has been difficult, but SolarCity believes it’s worth it. Greentech Media lays out the three major aspects of the plan to “crack the code on small commercial solar”: lower cost of new systems with the company’s signature “snap-together” arrays, innovative financing (more on that in a second), and using SolarCity’s own construction crews to avoid a lengthy and costly bidding war.

The financing aspect is particularly interesting. SolarCity has partnered with Renew Financial to allow firms to combine SolarCity’s financing model (third-party ownership) with a property assessed clean energy (PACE) program. Commercial PACE is not new, as CEO Landon Rive noted. What is new? “Getting the cost to where it can work.”

The business would sign a standard lease with SolarCity, which would finance the cost of installation, and the PACE program will allow the business to pay on its property tax bill. For more on PACE and innovative solar financing, check out Dan Scripps’s recent blog post.

This week New York’s Public Service Commission released its straw proposal for track two of Reforming the Energy Vision (REV). The straw proposal is “the next step in making the energy vision in New York a reality,” said AEE SVP Lisa Frantzis. It’s a program that is ambitious and laudable, Frantzis wrote with Alliance for Clean Energy New York’s Executive Director Anne Reynolds, in an Op-Ed published in the Albany Times Union this week. Track the REV proceeding on AEE’s Docket Dash by clicking here

The New York Times reported this week that the Clean Power Plan is expected to be unveiled as early as Monday. In an Op-Ed published in The Hill today, AEE CEO Graham Richard wrote that the Clean Power Plan will “only improve our electric power system.” For a more detailed look at exactly how, check out AEE’s recent reports, covering everything from the plan’s impact on grid reliability to why history shows that the Clean Power Plan will stimulate a robust industry response. Check out the full scope of reports on the Clean Power Plan on our website here.

 

 

Topics: News Update

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