This article really caught my attention yesterday. The US Department of Energy is guaranteeing $2.6 Billion (yes, billion) in a loan that Bank of America will make to NRG Utility and Prologis - one of the largest commercial real estate owners in the country - to put solar on acres of flat-roofs and use that energy for subject buildings as well as selling the power back to the grid or other local consumers.
This is an important development, in my analysis, for 3 reasons:
- The sheer size of the project is important and shows the growth of our industry. If deployed in 2010, for example, the entire project would have been a ridiculous 43% of the US Solar market!!! OK, so you know this will be a multi-year effort, but even so, the key point is that solar investments are heading into the billions, and no longer in the millions. This continues to show the real progress of our industry.
- The model of generating some electricity that will be used by the subject buildings and some that will be fed back to the grid as income is an interesting development. Many in the solar industry are necessary proponents of local generation vs. centralized generation. What I like about this project is that it shows the economics of both generation models working together. Now if we can just get those arcane utility regulations changed....
- The marquee power - most in the industry know that large financial players have been taking renewable finance seriously for some time, but to have the largest bank in the country deploy this volume of capital into the renewable energy industry will mean that other, smaller players will look to the industry as an investment vehicle and capital will be easier to come by in the industry.
All good things in my estimation. If you're an installer in Maryland - you should already be thinking about projects like this, as you have much friendlier regulations.