A total of 16 solar companies from various parts of the industry have established the truSolar Working Group. The consortium plans to address project risks through the development of uniform standards that will facilitate lower transaction and capital costs, and improve project finance liquidity within the commercial and industrial solar segment.
The founding members of truSolar, led by Distributed Sun and DuPont Photovoltaic Solutions, include ABB, Assurant Inc., Mosaic, PanelClaw, SMA America, Standard & Poor's, Booz Allen Hamilton, Rocky Mountain Institute, the U.S. National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and Sandia National Laboratories.
According to truSolar, less than 5% of the U.S.' 6,500 banks and lending institutions are actively involved in financing solar projects due to ongoing concerns about – and misunderstanding of – industry risks. Despite a robust market for solar installations, lenders struggle to efficiently underwrite loans in this field.
In response to this problem, members of the truSolar Working Group are convening to develop uniform standards for solar project screening, rating and underwriting. These standards are intended to help market participants more accurately forecast asset performance throughout the lifespan of a solar project.
The consortium will engage industry leaders representing key component and counterparty risk factors that best inform an industry-standard screen through which a wide range of business methods, analysis tools, and related products and services from varying companies can be applied.
The initiative has been designed to foster best practices and help educate the marketplace on performance, credit and deal term risks, and encourage more reliable decision systems that tie into an industry-adopted credit screen.
truSolar will be administered by an independent organization, serving as the primary facilitator and credit screen developer, with financial institutions scheduled to be announced by the end of this month. Distributed Sun will beta test these new practices to establish a proven, de facto commercial standard. The framework will be transferred to a standards body in 2014 and made available as open-source to the entire industry.