Despite market insecurities caused by the planned out phasing of the Investment Tax Credit (ITC), Intersolar North America closed its door today with a positive mood.
Almost 18,000 visitors attended the show and congress in San Francisco, several hundred more than expected according to organizer Markus Elsässer, CEO of Solar Promotion. This is worth noting, because just in some weeks the other major solar trade show Solar Power International (SPI) takes also place in California (Anaheim).
The main reason, why the prevailing optimism did not turn into a hype, is the market insecurity caused by the planned out phasing of the ITC end of 2016. For utility scale and commercial projects there is a planned cut from currently 30 % to 10 %, for residential projects to 0 %. Although nobody expects that this will cause a total collapse, short-term negative effects are estimated by at least part of the industry, as Intersolar North America revealed. “This causes uncertainty in the market and slows down business”, Elsässer told SUN & WIND ENERGY. Hence, Solar Promotion partnered with CALSEIA to lobby against the planned cuts. A dozen volunteers with red T-Shirts collected signatures for a petition during the show and “thousands signed”, Elsässser reports. Additionally Solar Promotion will mail the attendees of the show for signing.
“According to my talks in San Francisco I see quite a lot of investments hold back”, Kurt Krannich, CEO of wholesaler Krannich Solar said. “If solar goes subsidy free we are on the right track, but the cuts should be done step by step and not so steep as planned”, Krannich underlined. “We will get problems with our labor force”, Aaron Faust, Vice-President Business Development of racking manufacturer Applied Energy Technologies (AET) said. In expectation of the coming cuts, the market sees a boom of investments in utility-scale applications at the moment, that all want to go online before end of 2016. On the other side Faust sees even growing opportunities through the planned ITC cuts for middle sized commercial applications. Thomas Conroy, Director of Array Technologies, estimates also negative market effects, but sees also still further cost reduction potential. It is realistic to cut down total installed system costs for utility-scale tracking applications from currently $ 1.30/W to below $ 1/W in the future, Conroy underlines. Furthermore the drop of import-tariffs for Chinese made modules and cells would save around $ 0.10/W according to Conroy. It will be interesting to see how policy further develops.