Category Archives: Solar

Q1 2021 Solar Installations Top 5MW

Q1 2021 Solar Installations Top 5MW

The U.S. installed 5 gigawatts (GWdc) of solar PV capacity in Q1 2021 according to a recent report. The U.S. Solar Market Insight Q2 2021 report from Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) and Wood Mackenzie also noted that the U.S. solar market surpassed 100 gigawatts (GWdc) of installed electric generating capacity, reaching 102.8 GWdc. This capacity is sufficient to power 18.6 million American homes. 

In addition, solar accounted for 58% of all new electricity-generating capacity added in the U.S. in Q1, with wind making up the majority of the remaining capacity. 

2021 Q1 solar additions represent a new Q1 record and a 46% increase over Q1 2020. Utility-scale projects account for a majority of these installations, with a Q1 record of 3.6 GW. Residential solar sales also continued to grow, with 905 megawatts (MW) added in Q1 2021, an 11% increase over the same period last year. The commercial sector grew 19% over the same period of 2020, while community solar declined 15%.

According to Wood Mackenzie, the solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC) will continue to be highly influential and will drive record growth and investment over the next three years. Their forecast calls for 160 GW of solar to be installed from 2021 to 2026, bringing total installed PV solar capacity to more than 250 GW by the end of 2026.

Rising Costs May Impact Future Installation Rates

The report also notes rising costs in the solar industry as a potential limitation on growth. While average solar system prices remained relatively stable over the last six months, certain key inputs, including polysilicon, steel, aluminum, semiconductor chips, copper and other metals, are facing supply constraints. Though not yet factored into system costs, it is possible that these components cause price increases later this year. 

Commercial Solar Sees Substantial Room For Growth

The commercial solar market, which consists of on-site solar installations for businesses, non-profits and governments, has grown unevenly in recent years. The report cites evolving capital markets and financing tools as limiting growth. However, as a wider swath of business types gain access to financing, growth will persist in the commercial segment. Meanwhile, sustained adoption by large companies with aggressive clean energy goals will help push the segment to record levels in 2021. With less than 1% of commercial electricity demand served by on-site solar, there remains significant opportunity for growth in this segment.

Solar Project Financing Structure Comparison for Tax Equity Investors

Solar Project Financing Structure Comparison for Tax Equity Investors

By far the most common financing structure we see for solar tax equity is the power purchase agreement (PPA). That appears to be changing, however, as solar leases become more common. Though there is ample information available to solar customers about how various financing options compare, solar tax equity investors should also take time to… Continue Reading

Clean Energy and Cannabis Linked by New Illinois Regulations

Clean Energy and Cannabis Linked by New Illinois Regulations

The State of Illinios recently enacted regulations that require medical and recreational cannabis producers to meet strict energy and water usage limitations. As a result of these regulations, clean energy and cannabis will be linked inextricably in the state. Windmill Capital Management first wrote about the benefits of distributed clean energy resources, particularly cogeneration, for… Continue Reading

Corporate Tax Planning with Solar Tax Equity

Corporate Tax Planning with Solar Tax Equity

Solar tax equity has been growing steadily in popularity since the expansion of the energy investment tax credit in 2008. With the value of the investment tax credit (“ITC”) stepping down for projects that commence construction after 2019, now is a particularly good time to assess whether banks and corporations can benefit from tax planning… Continue Reading

U.S. Solar 2 Million Strong

U.S. Solar 2 Million Strong

The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) announced last week that U.S. solar installations reached the two million mark. U.S. solar reached this significant milestone just three years after surpassing the one million installation threshold in 2015. Forecasts predict three million U.S. solar installations by 2021 and four million by 2023. Windmill Capital Management sees the… Continue Reading

Overcoming Hurdles for Continued Growth in ESG Investing

Overcoming Hurdles for Continued Growth in ESG Investing

Sustainable investing has gained significant momentum as a critical investor consideration. Growth of ESG has corresponded to an increase in investor ESG awareness, greater corporate reporting of non-financial ESG measures, and demonstrated outperformance from ESG strategies. According to a recent report from BNY Melon, the continued growth of ESG is dependent on investors, corporations and… Continue Reading

Renewables Growth Impeded by Outdated Electricity Market Rules

Renewables Growth Impeded by Outdated Electricity Market Rules

Declining costs and growing consumer demand are driving expansion in U.S. renewable energy, particularly wind and solar. This growth is being limited, however, by outdated wholesale and distribution market rules, according to a recent report from the Wind Solar Alliance. “Customer-Focused and Clean: Power Markets for the Future” makes a number of keen observations about… Continue Reading

Alternative and Renewable Energy for the Cannabis Industry

Alternative and Renewable Energy for the Cannabis Industry

Windmill Capital Management does not have a direct stake in the legal cannabis industry.  We do, however, see that cannabis and renewable energy have quite a bit in common.  Notably, both industries are relatively new to institutional investors and are subject to broad misinformation.  We also believe that both cannabis and alternative energy are important… Continue Reading

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