Solar Demand Up, But Financing Remains Problematic For Now

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The appetite for solar projects in the U.S. has lagged that of market leaders like Germany and Spain, although increased federal and state subsidies have begun to take effect, and demand for solar in certain markets like New Jersey and California is heating up.

According to a new report from Pike Research, the U.S. solar market will surpass Spain in 2009 and will top Germany by 2013. However, the company adds that financing for solar projects remains elusive.

‘The weak supply of tax equity, combined with heightened credit requirements, has led to numerous project cancellations and delays nationwide, with over 75 MW, totaling $450 million, of idle projects in New Jersey alone,’ says industry analyst George Kotzias. ‘But the tide is beginning to turn, as evidenced by Wells Fargo and U.S. Bancorp, both of which have established tax-equity funds for solar projects.’

According to Pike Research, solar companies that stand to benefit most from a U.S. boom include First Solar, SunPower Corp., Suntech Power, Yingli, Akeena Solar and Real Goods Solar.

‘As soon as financing picks up, the demand is there,’ says Kotzias. ‘In addition to the increase in subsidies, module prices have dropped by as much as 50%, and installed costs have dropped over 30% over the past year,’ he adds. This combination of drivers has attracted the market entry of established developers from Europe, as well as many domestic start-ups.

Pike Research's study, ‘U.S. Solar Energy Demand Dynamics,’ analyzes government incentives, financing structures and internal rates of return on a state-by-state level. For more information on the report, visit www.pikeresearch.com.

SOURCE: Pike Research

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