The Solar Boom Will Continue to Escalate in 2015
The United States added approximately 5.2 gigawatt (GW) of solar capacity in 2014. One of the companies that benefitted was Borrego Solar, which had the largest market share of commercial-scale solar in the United States (7.3 percent) during the first half of 2014. It ended the year with a 40 percent increase, in installed megawatts (MW), over 2013. CEO Mike Hall predicts the solar boom will continue to escalate in 2015.
Despite the hype, so far Borrego has found the negative effects of duties on Chinese/Taiwanese solar imports to be minimal.
“We have felt the impact of the solar import tax, given that the cost of modules has increased. However, it has happened in conjunction with costs of other aspects of the system going down. The economics for the end user are still favorable and has not yet had a marked impact on our overall operations,” said Hall.
Borrego finds the other big story of last year, energy storage, exciting.
“We are looking at some projects and are modeling hybrid solutions for them, but we are still determining its economic viability for our customer segment,” said Hall.
The real story for Borrego, however, is best summarized by a list of completed contracts:
- 17 MW (DC) installation with First Wind, the second largest in Massachusetts
- 2.7 MW (DC) installation on Vermont’s only landfill in operation, the state’s waste industry’s largest solar project
- 2.4 MW (DC) rooftop installation atop the Anaheim Convention Center, the largest on a city-owned convention center in the United States
- 8.3 MW (DC) portfolio under Southern California Edison’s California Renewable Energy Small Tariff program
Borrego completed nearly 15 MW (DC) of installations that are feeding solar energy to municipalities in Massachusetts, representing enough energy to power approximately 1,730 homes annually.
“Last year was stellar on all fronts. Our utility team grew their MWs installed and MWs under contract,” said Aaron Halimi, director of utility project development at Borrego. “The utility team at Borrego functions under a variety of business models, all of which are designed to secure EPC (engineering, procurement and construction) contracts. This past year, the team was primarily focused on providing value-add turn-key EPC services, whereby, project developers and independent power producers hired our team to not only provide EPC services, but to assist in closing out certain development related items.”
“At the end of 2014 we decided to expand our O&M business to owners of projects we didn’t build,” said Mike Hall. “We were being approached by project owners for our services and realized there was a real demand for what we offer.”
Borrego currently has 33 MW under contract in New York with more in the pipeline. The company expects significant growth in New York given the roll-out of the NY-Sun program and the lead up to the step down of the federal investment tax credit at the end of 2016. Massachusetts, which is traditionally their biggest market, saw a slow down between the end of the SREC 1 program and the start of SREC 2. But, now Hall expects 2015 to be our biggest year ever in Massachusetts.
His prediction for 2015: “We expect to double our MW installed (over) 2014.”