Developments in the Solar World 2017…..
Two developments made 2017 anything but typical.
First, and from our point of view, one of the biggest changes in 2017, was the decision by SolarCity and Vivint to stop marketing leased systems in Maryland and move to a sales model instead. The plummeting value of SRECs in Maryland is probably the reason for this change, in my opinion. The so-called “free” systems model apparently doesn’t work profitably for the leasing company without homeowners surrendering high-value SRECs in addition to federal and state incentives, and without the companies’ ability to aggregate the leased installs to take advantage of accelerated depreciation. It was a sweet deal for the leasing companies – for consumers, not so much in my opinion. Certainly they were never free systems.
The second really big story this year was the complaint filed with the International Trade Commission by Suniva and SolarWorld alleging they were the victims of unfair trade practices and asking for tariffs to be placed on imported solar modules and cells. The fact that both companies are majority owned by foreign concerns makes this too rich, but the process went forward. The reviewing panel ruled that there was some validity to the claims and forwarded recommendations to the White House for final action. Mr. Trump can basically take whatever action he wants, and estimates on what the final result will be are all over the place. It does seem likely that there will be tariffs of some sort, though. The decision is expected in January 2018
Everyone in the solar industry not employed by Suniva or SolarWorld seems to agree that this action will negatively impact the industry. The big commercial integrators will be hit hardest, but even small residential systems will likely go up in price as a result of Suniva and SolarWorld attempting to get solar consumers to pay for their failed business practices. No matter what the final ruling is, most in the industry think that Suniva is not likely to come back and that SolarWorld will re-emerge in one form or another.
Excerpts Taken: from Washington Post
From: Richmond Times Dispacth