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Solar news: Hawaii Public Utilities Commission approves new solar programs, solar power costs expect

In this week’s Solar News Roundup, the International Renewable Energy Agency predicts that solar power costs will fall by 60 percent in the next decade, Hawaii sets up two new solar-friendly programs, and total solar securitizations in 2017 pass $1 billion.

Solar power costs projected to fall by another 60% over a decade

According to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), solar power costs will fall by a further 60 percent over the next decade. IRENA expects between 80 and 90 gigawatts (GW) of new solar capacity to be added each year globally for five to six years, which exceeds the forecast of 73 GW by the International Energy Agency (IEA).

Furthermore, IRENA predicts that the cost of batteries will also fall alongside solar power, to the tune of 60 to 70 percent over the next ten years.

Hawaii PUC approves residential solar and storage programs

The end of October brought good news to residential solar customers in Hawaii, as the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission (PUC) approved two solar programs aimed at helping residential solar users.

The “Smart Export” program creates an option for customers looking to install rooftop solar combined with a battery for energy storage. Under Smart Export, a customer’s rooftop solar system will recharge their battery during the day. The stored energy can either be used to power an individual home at night or it can be exported back to the grid for credit on electricity bills.

Second, the “GCS+” program was established as a successor to the popular “CGS” program. This program is aimed at residential customers who don’t want their own energy storage system installed. Under GCS+, residential customers can export energy to the grid at any point for credit, but sophisticated electrical equipment will allow the electric utility to tweak power flowing from GCS+ systems to maintain a stable grid.

Solar securitizations pass $1 billion in 2017

In a record-setting year for solar securitizations, the combined value of solar loans, leases, and power-purchase agreements (PPAs) surged past $1 billion this year, demonstrating a new level of interest from financiers in these types of products. This trend was lead by a recent $308 million sale of loans to Goldman Sachs by Mosaic.

The increase in solar loan securitizations is reflective of an increasing number of customer-owned systems relative to third-party owned systems. As customer ownership and the general growth of solar continues to expand, the solar industry could see the money going into solar securitizations continue to expand.


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