updated 01/17/2013 9:55AM
Solar industry power players create advocacy group
Sixteen industry leaders from the solar energy sector came together Monday to establish the truSolar Working Group in Newport Beach. Led by DuPont Photovoltaic Solutions and Distributed Sun, the consortium of companies and laboratories aims to create a series of industry-wide standards that it hopes will galvanize capital investment in solar energy projects.
Apart from Distributed Sun and DuPont, other founding corporate members of the truSolar Working Group include ABB, Assurant Inc., Booz Allen Hamilton, Mosaic, PanelClaw, SMA America, and Standard & Poor’s. Organizations like the Rocky Mountain Institute, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and Sandia National Laboratories have also joined the group.
According to truSolar, fewer than 5 percent of the 6,500 banks and lending institutions in the United States are actively involved in financing solar projects. The group attributes the lending sector’s sluggish loan and underwriting practices to general misunderstandings and misconstrued concerns about the risks that come with investment in the solar sector. Despite robust growth in the burgeoning industry, capital investment continues to be weak.
truSolar’s members intend to change these misconceptions by creating uniform standards across the industry that can efficiently and reliably screen, rate and underwrite solar projects. truSolar hopes that these measures will reduce financing risk while also giving commercial lenders a more reliable estimate of what risks do exist in any given project.
“[We are] committed to ensuring the continued growth of the solar industry,” said Jeanne Schwartz, vice president of new venture commercialization for Assurant. “The adoption of uniform industry standards will help us achieve that goal by making it easier for banks to finance more projects.”
Steven Dreyer, a managing director at Standard & Poor’s, echoed Schwartz’s sentiments. “The truSolar group has identified what we believe to be the key issues of concern for lenders.”
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