This week,two utility holding companies plans for significant investments in distributed solar companies were announced. Edison International filed on June 25 with FERC for approval to purchase Chicago‐based So Core Energy LLC, a company focused exclusively on the solar energy needs of multi-site retailers, REITs, and industrial clients. On June 27, San Francisco‐based Clean Power Finance, a financial services and software provider for the solar industry and capital markets, announced a growth equity investment by Duke Energy Corp.
The news follows two similar agreements in recent months. Clean Power Finance closed a $37 million round of growth equity from strategic and existing investors, including Edison International and two other undisclosed utility holding companies in April. In addition,Next Era Energy Resources acquired Smart Energy Capital, a distributed generation solar development and finance company.
Julia Hamm, President and CEO of the Solar Electric Power Association (SEPA), issued the following statement in response to these announcements:
“The investments of Edison International,Duke Energy and Next Era in distributed solar companies demonstrate that these forward‐looking companies recognize the important role that solar will play in the future of the energy industry. Customers are increasingly being presented with energy choices, including solar, which foreshadow that the role of the electric utility is likely to shift. Utility holding companies are getting in front of the change and preparing their businesses for continued success.” The announcements come on the heels of SEPA’s annual Utility Solar Rankings study released earlier this month,showing large growth in distributed and utility‐scale solar markets. In 2012, 2.4 gigawatts‐ac of solar electricity, equivalent to the capacity of 8 natural gas combined cycle power plants, was interconnected to the utility grid. Net-metered projects, effectively the customer‐facing part of the market, accounted for approximately half of this installed capacity, and more than 99% of the number of installed systems.
The Solar Electric Power Association (SEPA)is an educational non‐profit dedicated to helping utilities integrate solar power into their energy portfolios for the benefit of the utility, its customers and the public good. With more than 1,000 utility and solar industry members, SEPA provides unbiased utility solar market intelligence, up‐to‐date information about technologies and business models, and peer‐to‐ peer interaction. From hosting events to providing advisory and research services, SEPA helps utilities make smart solar decisions.
Gordon’s expertise in the area of industrial energy efficiency and alternative energy. He is an experienced electrical engineer with a Masters degree in Alternative Energy technology. He is the co-founder of several renewable energy media sites including Solar Thermal Magazine.