Solar Power Services: How PPAs are Changing the PV Value Chain

by Jon Guice

Companies that provide solar power purchasing agreements (PPAs) are ushering in a wave of innovation -- not just in financing, but in the entire photovoltaic systems industry. Solar PPA companies are at the forefront of the shift in how photovoltaic (PV) systems are marketed: from "price per watt" to "price per kilowatt hour." They are also reorganizing the value chain, altering clean energy economics, supply chains and customer experience and driving changes in technology -- all while expanding commercial PV markets and accelerating the pace of change.

What are the most significant opportunities and threats? How will other major players in the solar industry be affected? When and how are large global financial, operational and manufacturing players getting involved? Drawing on quantitative and qualitative data, this report includes profiles of U.S. companies that offer solar PPAs and estimates market share, sales growth and other trends.

The focus of this report is on the operational roles of the companies involved, the business models that are emerging and what it all means for customers and markets. This report is about the emergence of power-purchasing services as a driver of solar industry growth and development, specifically photovoltaics (PV) installed at commercial and institutional facilities, and financed with power purchasing agreements (PPAs).

Non-Residential Installations by Financing Type, 2002-2009

Jon Guice Consultant

Jon Guice is AltaTerra's head of research and co-founder. Prior to AltaTerra, Dr. Guice was responsible for creating and executing the business strategy of the clean technology design engineering practice at GreenMountain, building a customer base of innovative startups, publicly-traded firms such as SunPower (Nasdaq:SPWR) and research groups such as PARC, and establishing the firm as the leader in the field. Earlier he had played leadership and strategy roles in an early-stage renewable energy company, a NASA R&D organization and a new product research program at Stanford University and the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm. Jon Guice earned a doctorate as a Regents Fellow in the first-ranked science and technology studies program at the University of California, San Diego and has spoken and published widely on global industry trends, research management and product innovation. His community activities include serving as co-chair of the American Bar Association's Cleantech & Climate Change Committee.

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