Worried about solar tariffs? Don’t be. At Solar Power Northeast in Boston, a CEO panel seemed pretty optimistic about what the future was going to hold, beyond the tariff obstacle. And the overarching reason, to our ears, is solar is a way more established, mature, proven industry than even three years ago, and therefore better equipped to handle speed bumps like this.
PanelClaw CEO Costa Nicolaou, focused on the commercial and industrial segment, said he expected a “flatish” 2018, but he was the most bullish about the future. One positive trend he sees is the mix of excited, wealthy players out there looking to develop in the C&I space.
“In the nonresidential space, there’s been an uprising of well funded national, players that can finance anywhere with a fully formed national stack,” he said. “This wasn’t the case five years ago. You had small players, medium-sized players trying to become national players. That dichotomy has changed.”
This is on the heels of 20 percent growth in this segment, according to the latest analysis from GTM Research and SEIA, in what was an overall down quarter in Q3 2017.
The reason, Nicolaou says, is the learning curve of early-adopting Fortune 500 companies has now hit the point where the model for C&I solar – developed through trial and error – is no longer an unknown. This means big players like Wal-Mart or Apple are now ramping up, and others who weren’t early adopters can now easily follow those established models.
The room was polled to see how many developers had ample capital to buy projects at any stage right now, and half the room’s hands went up.
Another interesting dynamic to watch in C&I is how the tax code will change the mix of the players in the tax equity space, which was typically limited to very large multinationals.
“If tax equity becomes less abundant among that group, we think there is a good amount of built up tax equity in small to mid-sized corporations that were maybe looking at the solar space, and now that it’s much more mature, they may look at this with a lot more confidence.”
To take advantage of the approaching C&I and start to grow your company’s ability to tackle those projects, you’ll want to hear from Rick Berube, COO, Standard Solar; Thomas Bone, VP of Operations, Civic Solar, during our Tighten up: Where and how to save in labor, parts, process educational session. You’ll be able to better understand the labor equation that supports your decision-making and how to reduce supply chain costs. Register to attend the Solar Buisness Boot Camp today.