By Peter Kelly-Detwiler
December 15, 2014
Mercatus just released its North America Solar Trend Report for the first half of 2014. It’s worth paying attention to, as it highlights some interesting industry trends. For those new to Mercatus, the company started in 2009 with the express goal of creating a software platform that would provide more transparency to investors. The idea, according to CEO Haresh Patel was to close “a massive gap between capital markets and developers building projects. They weren’t finding each other, or speaking the same language.” As a result, there were significant inefficiencies that needed to be addressed.
Mercatus has come a long way since 2009, and now serves 60% of the U.S. commercial and utility-scale solar market, including some of the biggest developers, investors, utilities and independent power producers. To date, the company has assessed 22,000 megawatts of projects, with a software-as-a-service platform offering that is an “all-in-one solution for energy investors to screen, diligence, and manage a portfolio of projects, and a platform for developers and asset owners to solicit projects and portfolios to investors and the capital markets.”
By providing this service to much of the industry, Mercatus is extremely well placed to offer informed observations about the industry and emerging trends. I recently spoke with Patel as well as Director of Finance Tom Vogt, who offered their observations of an industry in the midst of significant transition.
Patel noted that one big theme emerging from their review of the information from 2,500 projects – representing approximately 60% of the U.S. market over the past two years – is that the cost of capital has fallen dramatically. He compares this trend to the competitive dynamic that occurred with the solar panel wars in recent years, which commoditized panels and drove the costs down significantly. For full article.