US Solar Power Market

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US Solar Power Market

In its 2020 Strategic Directions: Megatrends report, Black & Veatch explores the astronomical growth of the renewables sector of the energy industry and its future projections. As per the report, renewable energy is shifting the conventional power industry into clean energy technology, and renewable energy sources "are outgaining fossil fuel and nuclear capacity combined, representing one-third of the world’s installed capacity." Below are our findings, as well as an explanation of our research strategy for the information that could not be obtained.

Mortenson

  • After reviewing the Mortenson Solar official website, its press releases, news items, and media coverage since April 2020, we found that the company has not made any forecasts related to the US solar power market since April 2020.
  • Mortenson is also a privately-held company that does not publish any quarterly or annual reports.
  • On May 03, 2020, Mortenson Solar announced its partnership with Silicon Ranch Corporation to build an 86 megawatt (MWAC) solar facility for Silicon Ranch in Jeff Davis County in Southeast Georgia.
  • The project is projected to expand Silicon Ranch’s presence in Jeff Davis County, where the company already owns three solar projects with a total of 112MWAC in Hazlehurst.
  • Since 2009, Mortenson Solar has completed or is currently engaged in solar projects totaling over 6 GW (6020 MW) across the United States.
  • The company was also recently selected to be a partner on two upcoming solar projects in Kent County, Texas, totaling 585 MW to add up on the company's already extensive Texas portfolio.

Blattner

  • After scouring through Blattner's official corporate website, especially the news and press releases section of the company's solar segment, there were no news articles or press releases with forecasts related to the US solar power market. The most recent news on the company's solar segment date back to August 2017.
  • On Twitter, Blattner retweeted EDF Renewables's tweet on June 11. The tweet had a link to an article by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) discussing how reducing costs makes renewable energy a cost-effective investment.
  • According to the IRENA article, Concentrating Solar Power (CSP) costs have reduced by 47% while Solar Photovoltaics (PV) costs have gone down by 82%. The costs are projected to continue reducing until 2023.
  • As per IRENA, there would be up to $23 billion annual potential savings if the current most expensive 500 GW of existing coal were replaced by solar and wind, and up to 1.8 gigatons less Carbon Dioxide emissions globally.
  • The article also highlights that with the fall in renewable energy costs, "with the same amount of money, the investment value increases." For example, $1 million invested in PV Solar in 2010 generated 213 kW in 2010, 1 005 kW in 2019, and can generate more in the future.
  • Blattner also retweeted another tweet by Solar Industry, which had a link to an article discussing how clean energy industries will contribute a majority to the renewables grid in the United States.
  • According to the article, over 50% of the electricity generated in the US in the next ten years will come from clean, renewable sources.
  • The company also extensively shares links on industry-specific on its Twitter handle. Some of the most recent news it shared include:
    • A Green Tech Media article on how the solar, wind and storage industries partner to push for majority renewables by 2030.
    • A Reuters article on how the plunging cost of wind and solar will make a turning point in energy transition.
    • A Wall Street Journal article on how the United States consumed more renewables than coal for the first time in 134 years.

Swinerton Renewable Energy

  • On May 4, 2020, Swinerton Renewable Energy published a press release that had first appeared on the Washington Post discussing the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on the solar and wind energy industry.
  • According to the press release, the company had put in place smooth plans to build a promising solar farm in Texas. The company had already set aside 2,000 acres for the $109 million project, which was projected to create 400 jobs while under construction.
  • Upon completion, the solar farm was projected to produce 200 megawatts of solar energy to power about 25,000 homes and give Swinerton Renewable Energy investors massive tax breaks.
  • The project was, however, put on hold due to the coronavirus pandemic that has ravaged the United States, and the project is expected to delay for another six months.
  • According to the article, the pandemic is not only halting such projects, but also drying up capital and disrupting supply chains for US businesses aiming to propel the country towards cleaner sources of energy.
  • While the Trump administration is giving a lifeline to oil and gas companies, little attention is given to the solar and wind power sectors, making experts worried about the future of the industry.
  • As per the press release, the pandemic has already resulted in 106,000 clean energy workers filing for unemployment in March alone. This breaks earlier official projections that the fastest-growing careers in the energy sector in the next ten years would be solar installers and wind turbine technicians.
  • According to climate experts, the pandemic also presents governments with an opportunity to initiate drastic shifts in the energy industry by funding the renewable energy sector and leverage the turmoil in the energy markets to remake the industry and reduce carbon dioxide emissions.
  • As per the International Energy Agency, renewables were the only sector of the energy industry to post an increase in demand when other sectors were witnessing a downward trend.
  • According to Abigail Ross Hopper, the solar industry was poised to generate 50,000 more jobs over the course of the year, but half of the sector's workforce is now at risk.
  • The pandemic has also affected bigger projects in the solar sector, but with less severity. Hopper said the industry was projected to leverage federal tax credits to increase the number of new solar farms.
  • According to her, the industry was on track to do projects totaling almost 20 gigawatts, making 2020 the best year for the sector.
  • The power would have been sufficient to power about 3.7 million homes. However, with the effects of the pandemic, she expects new projects to "come closer to last year’s 13.27 gigawatts’ worth of new construction, enough to run approximately 2.5 million homes."
  • According to the article, new projects may be halted or slowed down due to the disruption in the supply chain. Many factories in China were shut down, thus constraining solar supplies.
  • The press release also posits that the primary reason most solar projects have been delayed is the use of tax credits called “tax equity.” Investors use these credits to offset their overall tax burdens directly. If an investor lacks enough profits to offset the credits, the tax equity is worthless.

Black & Veatch

  • In its 2020 Strategic Directions: Megatrends report, Black & Veatch explores the astronomical growth of the renewables sector of the energy industry and its future projections.
  • As per the report, renewable energy is shifting the conventional power industry into clean energy technology, and renewable energy sources are "are outgaining fossil fuel and nuclear capacity combined, representing one-third of the world’s installed capacity."
  • According to the Energy Information Administration (EIA), the generation of renewable energy will contribute to almost half of global electricity generation in the next thirty years, with solar energy being the fastest-growing segment.
  • According to Forbes' recent estimates, between $10 and $15 trillion will be channeled into solar and wind energy in the next three decades, making energy storage technologies shoot to a $20 billion annual market.
  • As per a Black & Veatch survey, 26.7%, 45.2%, and 54.8% of respondents believe that distributed energy resources (DER) will dominate utility service offerings in the next 5 years, 10 years, and 15 years, respectively.

CSI Electrical Contractors

  • After reviewing the CSI Electrical Contractors website, its parent company's most recent press releases, and all media coverage of the company since April 2020, the research team determined that CSI Electrical Contractors has made no public forecasts related to the US solar power market during the past three months.
  • We also reviewed the first-quarter 2020 results of MYR Group, CSI Electrical's parent company. Still, neither does it bifurcate the financial results into its various subsidiaries nor provide any industry forecasts or data points that imply or suggest the company's overall forecast (growth, steady, decline) related to the US solar power industry.

Solar Energy Resources

  • The most recent new item by Solar Energy Resources on solar energy projects was published in May 2019. According to the news article, Tampa Electric was planning to launch two new solar projects in Balm Solar in Hillsborough County and Payne Creek Solar in Polk County.
  • The two projects were expected to generate a total of 144.7 megawatts of electricity, and the company projected to invest a total of $850 million on solar projects "including 10 solar plants generating enough electricity to power over 100,000 homes in Hillsborough, Pasco, and Polk counties."
  • The company does not have any press releases or media coverage since April of 2020on the latest forecasts for the US solar power industry in US dollars or any information that implies or suggests the company's overall forecast (growth, steady, decline) related to the US solar power industry.

Primoris Renewable Energy

  • Primoris Services Corporation, the parent company for Primoris Renewable Energy, has published several press releases since April 2020, but none of them have any forecasts on the US solar power industry.
  • The press releases announced utility awards, solar awards, and other industrial awards they had won.
  • We also looked through the First Quarter Financial results for Primoris Services Corporation. The company did segment its revenues according to its business segments, but there are no industry forecasts for the solar power industry in the United States.

McCarthy Building Cos

  • In an insight published by the company on April 30, 2020, the company announced its partnership with "Raptor Maps and using forward-looking infrared (FLIR) cameras to analyze solar fields, identify defects and deliver maximum energy production."
  • The video affirms that the demand for renewable energy has never been higher.
  • McCarthy has not published any press releases or news items related to any forecasts in the US solar power industry.

Carolina Solar Energy

  • The company does not have any news or press releases on its site, thus no forecasts for the US solar power industry.
  • The company's social media platforms have no details on the company's forecast for the US solar industry.
  • However, the company is mentioned in an article in Energy News that posits that the solar industry in North Carolina is weathering the COVID-19 storm better than in other states.
  • Carolina Solar Energy CEO, Caroline Harkrader, said the following in an interview about their business, "One county is delaying the process to put in place a solar ordinance because the subcommittee charged with putting it together hasn’t met yet. No other issues so far."

First Solar

  • The research team scoured First Solar's news section and press releases for any information on any forecasts the company has made concerning the US solar power industry.
  • The press releases have news articles on the company announcing its first quarter 2020 financial results, their new contracts, and information on their manufacturing operations amid COVID-19.
  • First Solar's financial results for the first quarter of 2020 do not give any forecasts for the solar power industry in the US, but only First Solar's financial performance.
  • On Twitter, First Solar shared an article by the International Energy Agency (IEA), which provides the market outlook for renewable energy for 2020 to 2021.
  • According to the IEA, renewable electricity capacity will decline by 13% in 2020 compared with 2019, the first decrease since 2000. The decline is a 20% downward revision compared to IEA's previous forecast which projected that 2020 would be a record year for renewable power.

NextEra Energy

  • We searched through NexEtra Energy's press releases and all news items for any data on the company's forecasts concerning the US solar power energy.
  • The company recently released its first quarter results. The results only contained Nextra Energy's financial performance and the company's financial outlook for the future, and no forecasts on the US solar power industry.
  • On Twitter, NexEtra Energy posted a new item from NBC News, which claims that "by the end of Florida Power and Light’s solar push, about 40 percent of the state’s electricity will come from solar, while the remainder will come from natural gas and nuclear power plants."

EcoPlexus

  • The latest news item by EcoPlexus was published on March 10, 2020, and it details the company's latest projects, but nothing on the company's latest forecasts concerning the US solar power industry.
  • Ecoplexus's only social media platform, LinkedIn, has no posts yet.

SunPower

  • The research team scoured through SunPower's newsroom for the latest press releases and news articles.
  • None of the news items and press releases published after April 2020 have any information on the company's latest forecasts for the US solar power industry.
  • The company's first quarter 2020 earnings report only contains SunPower's financial performance, the COVID-10 impact on the company, and its the future financial outlook.
  • SunPower is partnering with Gilead Sciences to reduce at least 25% carbon emissions by 2025 and generate over 9 million kWh of clean solar every year.
  • On Twitter, the company has shared an article by Yahoo Finance that posits that solar power will soon cost less than coal.
  • The company also shares a Reuters article that discusses how the United States has overtaken China as the "most attractive country for renewables investment." According to a report by EY, which was the source of the research, "U.S. growth was largely due to a short-term extension of a production tax credit for wind projects and plans to invest $57 billion to install up to 30 gigawatts (GW) of offshore wind by 2030."
  • Another article shared by SunPower on their Twitter account is from Green Tech Media, which has insights into the global solar power industry resuming its growth in 2021 as the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic subside.

Research Strategy

To provide the latest forecasts for the US solar power industry in US by the companies in this request, we first searched through the respective company corporate website (including websites of the parent company for subsidiaries), press releases, the newsroom section of the website, and any media coverage on the companies by third-party media sites. While there was plenty of information on the press releases and news articles published since April 2020, most of the information for almost all the companies was about the company's operations amid COVID-19 and other unrelated information. Only one of the companies (Black & Veatch) had published a report on forecasts for the US solar power industry in US.

For the public companies among this list, all of them had published first quarter financial results, but they only contained the companies' financial performance and outlooks for the future. We could not find any industry-specific forecasts from any of these financial results.

We then searched for any executive interviews through general and industry-specific media sites. We hoped to find interviews done by executives from these companies, as they may give forecasts on the industry. The research team went ahead and searched through most of the executives' social media platforms. We hoped that some of them might have shared any interview they did to their social media platforms. This strategy proved futile, mainly because none of the executives had done an interview since April 2020, discussing the state of the solar power industry in the US and its forecast.

As a final resort, we searched through the respective companies' most active social media platforms. Since most companies use social media heavily, we hoped to find posts or links to reports or articles published by them discussing the forecasts of the US solar power industry. Most of these companies are active on Twitter. While the intent of this strategy proved right (i.e., the companies made posts and shared links to reports and articles), these reports and articles were made by third-party sources, which may be other companies, media sites, or industry bodies. Such sources include Green Tech Media, Yahoo! Finance, Reuters, EY, the International Energy Agency (IEA), Energy Information Administration (EIA), and International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). The required information could not be found for the requested companies mainly because they rely on industry bodies to perform the research and publish any forecast reports. The individual companies may not have access to enough information to give forecasts, so they end up quoting industry bodies and reputable media sources.
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