Thousands of solar industry participants gathered in Chicago for the Solar Power International expo in Chicago, Illinois on October 21-24 to discuss the state of the solar industry. Participatnts included banks, investors, developers and equipment suppliers, and also several Stoel Rives attorneys.
Many themes emerged during the week-long event, and a common thread running through these themes was “change.” The solar industry is undergoing significant changes, as demonstrated by the following:
- Stoel Rives announced that Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Chairman Jon Wellinghoff will join the firm later this year following his impending resignation from the Commission;
- The regulatory environment continues to morph as the 1603 cash grant phases out while the ITC reemerges pending its expiration, net-metering battles rage on in multiple states, and California has required investor owner utilities to procure and invest in significant amounts of energy storage;
- Companies continue to search for investment grade projects while developers continue to hunt for PPAs with sustainable pricing;
- Chinese equipment manufacturers continue to factor in the space, and several companies from mainland China attended the expo for the first time, now also joined by a growing number of Taiwanese and Korean companies;
- As utility scale development opportunities in the United States continue to stagnate, many companies are turning their focus to Latin America where new and potentially lucrative opportunities are emerging;
- The industry seems ripe for consolidation and the remainder of 2013 and 2014 may witness several significant mergers.
In this time of significant change, Stoel Rives will continue to serve the solar industry by providing high quality legal services and innovative solutions for the issues of today and the issues of the future.