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The Senate could introduce a new change for solar/wind tax equity investors. Yesterday, the Senate recorded a party-line 52-48 vote to begin a 20-hour debate period after which the Senate will begin voting for final amendments. Notably, although the Senate bill preserves solar and wind tax credit and commence-construction rules, it also includes a "base erosion tax" that ignores tax credits below a minimum level for some taxpayers, particularly investors that make deductible payments to foreign affiliates. We've heard that this could reduce some investor demand for tax equity by as much as 50%. That said, we understand that an amendment supportive of renewable tax credits has potential and could avert this downside scenario for the solar & wind sectors. If the Senate bill passes, the House and Senate will start reconciling the separate bills.
If you’re still digesting the most recent recommendation by the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) on Section 201 module tariffs, this article is a good summary of what they recommended to the President a couple weeks ago. The gist is that the ITC is recommending a 5 year tariff on both cells and modules starting at 30% in year one above 1 GW and declining each year. It was less severe than anticipated, but it’s still only a recommendation. I (unfortunately) don’t have a crystal ball on what Trump will do, but one possible scenario is the tariff he sets could be higher which could have an upward effect on prices early next year. The President has to issue his ruling by Jan 12. If it’s the same as the ITC recommendation, it goes into effect Jan 27; if different then it will go into effect in April 2018. Call anytime if you’d like to chat about it.
Just when everyone is breathing a sigh of relief that pricing uncertainty is behind us, I still believe that everything is still very uncertain until the International Trade Representative holds his own hearing on December 6th
and makes his recommendation to Trump. This person is a Cabinet level official and his recommendations will probably
carry more weight with Trump than the ITC recommendations. My own view is that there will be a new trade tariff on
imports from most countries but some may be excluded under existing Free Trade Agreements. And the price impact
will be in the 10 cent range but from a cost of $0.38 for the imported modules which will produce an import price
post tariff of the existing $0.48/watt. Others are predicting post-tariff pricing of perhaps $0.52/watt. But this is really
still a guess until Trump makes his final decision. We should know that in mid-January with an effective date for the
new tariff of the end of January or early February.
This article is further evidence that mono high efficiency panels will prevail in the future. The confluence of automation and AI has yielded fully automated factories to be the standard (listen up Solar World), so new jobs will not be derived from solar manufacturing. Go to https://www.pv-magazine.com/2017/06/26/neo-solar-power-inaugurates-200-mwp-taiwan-solar-module-fab/. Even amongst industry insiders, Neo Solar Power or NSP is virtually unknown. Aten Solar is one of the few if any distributors that carries their poly line of 60 and 72 modules.
UL certified the product last week, which should allow Elon Musk to keep his promise to roll the product out this summer. Receiving UL’s Class A certifications should allow Solar Roof installations to face fewer objections from local permitting bodies in the United States, allowing easier deployment in more locations. Tesla started taking orders for the Solar Roofs earlier this month. Thanks to his cagey phrasing, non-solar specific analysts have argued that the Solar Roof will cost less than a traditional roof installation. A close reading of Musk’s promise, however, reveals that it will be less expensive over time because of the savings homeowners will have on electricity. Musk also claims to have the best warranty in the industry, saying that the Solar Roof will last “the lifetime of your house, or infinity, whichever comes first.” The Solar Roof system includes a Tesla Powerwall battery, which costs around $5,000. The first Solar Roof tiles will be gray smooth glass and black textured glass and installations will be done on a first-ordered, first-installed basis in the United States. According to Tesla, customers will have a worry-free installation process, with the company removing the existing roof and then designing, permitting, installing and maintaining the Solar Roof. Based on this snippet from a PV Magazine article, I would be interested to hear from you on whether this will take a large slice of the residential fixed module market.
Energy Secretary Rick Perry is cooking up a case to stifle further federal support of renewable wind and solar energy. He’s ordered a suspiciously sourced staff study that is aimed to paint renewables as an unreliable source for the nation’s electric grid.
The study, due June 23, seeks to determine whether federal tax and subsidy policies favoring renewable energy have burdened “baseload” coal-fired generation, putting power grid reliability at risk. It is being spearheaded by Energy Department political appointee Travis Fisher, who’s associated with a Washington policy group that opposes almost any government aid for renewable energy. This is the same person who in 2015 report for the Institute for Energy Research that called clean energy policies “the single greatest emerging threat” to the nation’s electric power grid, and a greater threat to electric reliability than cyber attacks, terrorism or extreme weather.
Please go ahead and read the article and let me know your take. . Here is my two cents, why is the DOE, through Perry so keen to understand the view points of how renewables is threatening coal base load? Has anyone seen a research study commissioned by the DOE on how renewables enhances grid reliability, decreases co2 emissions and has brought 200k plus jobs?
The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) claims an estimated 88,000 jobs, about one-third of the current U.S. solar workforce, would be lost next year if Suniva gets trade protections the company proposed in its petition with the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC). The Georgia-based manufacturer asked the ITC to place a tariff on imported solar cells and set a price floor for virtually all imported panels, arguing that the company cannot compete with cheap foreign imports. Suniva, which, ironically is majority owned by a Chinese firm, filed the petition after declaring bankruptcy in April, and SEIA vowed to lead the fight against the case. In its petition, Suniva has proposed an initial import tariff of $0.40/W per cell and a minimum import price of $0.78/W per module. SolarWorld Americas joined Suniva as a co-petitioner in the case in late May, but it is unclear what trade remedy the Oregon-based company is seeking. Both companies have argued that new trade actions are necessary to protect domestic manufacturing.
I am unclear who are we protecting as most PV assembly plants are automated. As stated in the first sentence, the blowback of 88,000 jobs in jeopardy far outweighs the erosion of PV manufacturing in the USA. Would be interested to hear your thoughts on this.
The second link shows the announcement of BASF also at the IBS 2015. BASF is another Strategic Partner of EcoSmart introducing the HP+ Wall System. The BASF announcement was presented in front of the BASF show house for 10 times at each show day. Please use this link to watch the announcement:
Please forward this Email to your business partner and colleagues.
Use the first link to watch an interview of Ron James, President of Green Builder Media with Mike Mansuetti, President of Robert Bosch USA and Prof. Lorenz Reibling, Chairman and Co-founder of Taurus Investment Holdings, at the IBS 2015 in Las Vegas. Bosch is one of the Strategic Partner of the EcoSmart program which will be launched at the Taurus development Whisper Valley in Austin, TX. Please use this link to watch the interview: