7-02-2015 How Do the 2015 Solar Predictions Compare to Reality?
In late 2014, Greentech Media asked Barry Cinnamon, CEO of Cinnamon Solar, what he thinks will happen in the solar industry in 2014. Since we’re over halfway through 2015, it’s time to take a look at some of the predictions and see how they compare to reality.
“SolarCity will buy a module-level electronics company”
It hasn’t. Yet. However, the module-level electronics market is booming in residential US solar. In February, SolarEdge, a module-level power electronics firm, filed for a $125 million IPO. In March, the company successfully raised $126 million.
According to data from the most recent quarter, SolarEdge had record revenue of $86.4 million, up 182 percent. In Q3 2014, SolarEdge enjoyed a 26 percent market share, and that number should only rise with time.
While SolarCity hasn’t jumped on this growing market in the solar industry yet, it would be unlike the company pass up such an opportunity. Keep an eye out for SolarCity acquisitions in the latter half of the year.
“SunPower will announce plans to build a large manufacturing plant in the US”
So far, it looks like SunPower is content to finish up its solar panel manufacturing facility in Cape Town, South Africa. In November 2014, the company announced plans to build the factory in South Africa, expecting to create 150 jobs for locals. The plant is scheduled to open sometime later this year.
However, SunPower could very well announce plans to build a manufacturing plant in the US in the latter months of 2015. We’ll just have to wait and see.
“There will be no extension of the ITC in 2015”
The jury is still out on this one. While Congress and President Obama haven’t said “no” to extending the ITC in 2015, they haven’t said “yes”, either. Circumstances are looking rather grim for the ITC. Solar supporters have been rallying behind the ITC and encouraging Congress to extend it. However, it doesn’t seem like Congress has done much about it.
With Congress’ five-week summer break coming up in August, it seems like the ITC is fated to expire. Admittedly, lawmakers could come to their senses at the last minute and pass a bill that extends the ITC later in 2015, but that hope seems to be fading fast.
“A big US utility will create a standalone division to focus on solar, renewables and battery storage, while making specific plans to spin out its fossil fuel and nuclear assets”
Unfortunately, this hasn’t happened yet. It still seems like most utilities are focused on fighting solar instead of using it. However, there are still five months left in the year, so this prediction could very well come true.
Utilities in California and Hawaii would be foolish not to create a solar division in the near future. They’ve already paved the way for the rest of the nation in handling solar. Creating a solar division should be one of the logical next steps for them.
Try a Magic 8 Ball, Perhaps?
So far, it looks like these four predictions will need the rest of the year before we can determine anything definite. In the mean time, feel free to grab your Magic 8 Ball and ask away. Just don’t be any money on the answers.