The U.S. solar market will surpass Spain in 2009 and will top Germany by 2013, but financing for solar projects remains elusive.
The appetite for solar projects in the U.S. has lagged market leaders like Germany and Spain; however, 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 “U.S. Solar Energy Demand Dynamics,” a new report from Pike Research, the U.S. solar market will surpass Spain in 2009 and will top Germany by 2013. However, 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,” said George Kotzias, industry analyst. “But the tide is beginning to turn, as evidenced by Wells Fargo and U.S. Bancorp [both establishing] tax equity funds for solar projects.” In Pike Research’s analysis, solar companies that stand to benefit most from a U.S. boom include First Solar, SunPower, Suntech, Yingli, Akeena, and Real Goods Solar.
“As soon as financing picks up, the demand is there,” said 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. This combination of drivers has attracted the market entry of established developers from Europe, as well as many domestic startups.”
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