Problems, Forecasts and Whether or Not To Follow Elon Musk

Article RoundupIndustry Issues
Article roundup for April/May 2017!

Tax Uncertainty Disrupting Solar Deals

By Brian Eckhouse

This article calls attention to serious problems posed for solar finance by the possibility of  lower corporate tax rates under the Trump administration. Eckhouse talks about how uncertainty about corporate tax rates – as in whether they will dip below 20 or 25 percent – may jeopardize developer/investor deals. He quotes an energy finance analyst: “I’ve heard of a number of sponsors who’ve had to end deal negotiations this year because the terms would have pushed the project under water. They all blame stipulations added by fears of tax reform.”

Two Part GTM Solar Summit Keynote:

‘We Are at a Pivotal Moment in Solar Going Mainstream’
‘We Could Install 3,000 GW of Solar Power by 2035’

By Eric Wesoff

GTM senior VP Shayle Kann’s keynote speech for the recent GTM Solar Summit highlights both challenging developments and good news for the solar industry. Kann talks about the problems due to recent oversupply for upstream companies and a downturn around growth in the residential market. But he also predicts that the market is on the way to becoming mainstream in the US. He talks about significant growth globally and domestically and a diversified and comparatively affordable market. Kann also points to significant upcoming challenges for the major solar states in the next 10 to 20 years around overgeneration and depressed pricing. He argues that expanded grids and flexibility are two keys ways to ramp back up from what he calls this “duck curve.” Kann finishes with the argument that overcoming these kinds of barriers will be worth it as the global market could grow to the installation of 3,000n GW by 2035.

Residential Solar Market Turmoil Intensifies As California Declines 41 Percent in First Quarter

By Casey Anderson

Anderson discusses a 41% decline in the California residential solar market for the first quarter this year. He attributes it to changes in net metering and high solar penetration in the major markets. He also includes a list of companies “severely” impacted by the downturn with effects ranging from bankruptcy, significant strategic shifts and severe drop in stock price. While Anderson notes that this is good news for consumers, it may herald some serious challenges for the industry in the future.

Elon Musk is creating a vacuum. Is this an opportunity or a problem?

By Shawn Sinclair Smith

Smith discusses Musk’s methodology around growing in the solar market for several articles. In this last article he counsels solar installers to avoid Musk’s former approach to growth and sales. He asserts that now that Musk has pivoted to embrace a new model for Tesla/Solar City there is a small vacuum for other companies to fill around lead gen, direct sales and installations. He steps through a couple of factors in the article regarding these points but suggests caution when looking to grab new leads and new direct sales opportunities now that Tesla has gone to retail. Smith also states, “Any sales team worth its weight has kept a record of recent deals lost to SolarCity and will now be circling back to sell against the new moves of Tesla. This is an easy sell-away and installers other than SolarCity should see some increase in volume.”

Aligning the Stars: Bringing Solar Professionals Together to Improve the National Electrical Code

By Evelyn Butler

The purpose of this article is to invite solar industry professionals to take part in offering feedback and insights to the Technical Committee about how to revise the 2020 version of the model NEC. Butler reports that four organizations, SEIA, IREC, PVICC and SEI, will be mentoring folks through the process of contributing to the next code. She argues that the more professionals contribute to this process, the more standardized and streamlined the installation and inspection process will be.


Like what you read? Find out more about my solar energy copywriting.
Check out my blog, case study, white paper and ebook writing services.


Is Battery Storage a Good Bet for Solar Contractors?
Do Americans Support Net Metering?

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Get my monthly reports on the solar industry & content marketing!

For the past three years, I’ve enjoyed receiving Sara’s emails that cover many subjects related to our mission of providing practical, affordable and reliable solar solutions for a variety of clients and applications. – Brandon Leavitt, Solar Service Inc., monthly subscriber