After an exciting day of keynotes and discussions, the opening panel of the second day of the Renewable Energy Finance Forum (REFF West) began with a focus on investment banking perspectives on solar project financing. Bringing together a selection of top energy bankers from leading institutions that are active in renewable energy financing, the panel discussed movements and trends in the present and near future term and how the financial landscape has changed over the last 12 months.
By Charles Guo 9/24/13
Are firms in the renewable energy industry going out of business, or are they consolidating to set course to finally scale? Industry experts ranging from financiers to manufactures from the solar energy industry shared their foresights into the hotly followed solar energy industry. The panelist collectively agreed that this industry is just starting to rise. Three key strategy drivers of growth for the industry will need to come from tech innovation, globalization, and cost reduction. While instillation cost of solar PV has dropped tremendously in the last five years, the industry needs financing costs to come down even further before the industry can truly take-off. Industry experts are optimistic that the advance of data aggregation for the industry will allow investors to better understand and manage risks in their investments for this sector. As more firms develop financial vehicles to increase liquidity in the sector, experts expect capital injections to accelerate.
Sebastian Leyton 9/23/13
Small renewable projects represent a market that has not been fully taken advantage of, mainly due to issues relating with their access to financing. This doesn’t refer that the projects itself have issues, but implies that lenders mainly involved in project finance are more interested in larger projects, which involve sums over USD 100 million. Those projects are able to support the costs of a time intensive transaction and the corresponding fees, and represent a good opportunity of striking a good deal by achieving financial closing to most parties for the amounts involved. However, this doesn’t imply that small projects are not a lucrative market to be exploited and clearly represents a business opportunity.
By Jessica Hovick 9/20/13
Earlier this week at the REFF West conference, I attended the “Balancing act between natural gas and renewables” panel. Surprisingly the panel focused very little on the worries that cheap natural gas would derail the renewables market, but instead explored the synergies available between the two.
By Kurt Sheline 9/19/13
A recap of REFF-West's session on Innovation in the Energy Industry
The panel consisted of a phenomenal representation of the full foodchain of energy innovation, from university and federal labs to large and growing corporations. The speed of innovation in the industry has increased rapidly, but what else can be done? Is it possible to cut the pace to market of new energy technologies in half? The panel offered several anecdotes suggesting the feasibility of this goal.
By Jenna Goodward 09/18/2013
The Renewable Energy Finance Forum (REFF-West) kicked off its first day with a lively debate about whether the West really is exceptional when it comes to the outlook for renewables. The panel of experts weighing in included Terry Grant of Marathon Capital, Barney Schauble of Nephila Advisors LLC, Nancy Pfund of DBL Investors, J. Radford Small of Goldman Sachs, Rob Sternthal of Reznick, and Tracey A. LeBeau of the Western Area Power Administration. Renewable energy technologies, mature or maturing, are generally situated in three contexts: the policy landscape, the surrounding physical grid they serve, and the financial markets.