Residential solar installation

Week in Review: Heading Into the Year’s End, Solar Shining Bright

A residential solar array.Last week, solar companies reported their third-quarter 2013 results and unlike the most recent quarters, things appear to be looking up for the U.S.’s PV manufacturers. International interest in solar continues to growth in South America and the Middle East.  And while some state incentive programs are drying up, others are still pressing ahead.


SunPower released its third-quarter 2013 results last week, reporting higher-than-expected profits for the quarter. The company produced net income of $108.4 million and an earnings per share (EPS) of 73 cents. The company also announced that there is now enough demand for its modules to expand production at its Philippines plant by 350 megawatts. The higher-than-expected earnings were welcomed by analysts, but some concern was expressed about plans to expand capacity, as well as the company’s outlook for 2014.

A full 300 megawatts of concentrating solar projects just took a significant step forward in Morocco. The projects secured a $903 million loan from Germany’s state-owned KFW bank. The funds will cover more than a third of the anticipated $2.3 billion in costs. One of the projects that will be supported is the 200 megawatt Noor II project, a CSP parabolic mirror project. The other project supported by the loan is the 100 megawatt Noor III project. The latter is being planned as a solar tower project.

In December, the Brazilian government will auction off up to 3.6 gigawatts of solar projects, which are to be built by 2018. This is in addition to a round of solar project auctions totaling 2.7 gigawatts that will take place on Nov. 18. Brazil’s energy plan is to build roughly 6 gigawatts of new electric capacity annually to continue to meet the growing electrictricy needs there.

In the U.S., some solar incentive programs are going through turbulent times.  In Connecticut, however, the state’s Clean Energy Finance and Investment Authority is building on past successes by launching another solarize campaign. These campaigns harness the power of group purchasing to lower the price of solar in a community. Based on the success of the first two rounds of the solarize programs, Connecticut has launched a third phase, allowing communities like Stafford to get in on the action.

In Pennsylvania, however, there’s still money on the table. Recently Gov. Tom Corbett (R) urged Pennsylvania residents to take advantage of the state’s solar rebates, noting that the program still has $1 million to dole out in rebates before the year’s end. Still the program has already paid out $6 million of the $7 million appropriated for solar rebates, and with two months left, things appear to be right on track.