by Nicolas Rinaldi
May 05, 2017

We kick off this week with a country song for residential solar and a space opera inspired by Tesla's solar roof.

Don't let your babies grow up to be residential solar leasers

Residential solar leasing is getting harder, according to a report from EnergySage. Customer acquisition costs and increased competition are eroding margins, and direct ownership continues to win market share. These hard times for leasers however have translated into good times for consumers. Katie Fehrenbacher explains. (story)

This week, Tesla announced that SolarCity deployments were down year-over-year and quarter-to-quarter in Q1 2017. Conditions in the market are now forcing the company to reassess its model and "selectively” deploy solar panel projects that “have higher margins and generate cash upfront.” Katie Fehrenbacher details that and more from Tesla's latest earnings call. (story)

In addition, Tesla revealed this week that SolarCity will reevaluate its customer acquisition strategy, eliminating door-to-door sales to focus on retail and online channels. Eric Wesoff takes a look at the shift and tells us a little bit about his very own experience as a young door-to-door salesman in Brooklyn. (story)

There is a silver lining in the residential game this week. Financier Sunnova Energy Corp. closed a new $775 million round of funding this week. Julia Pyper looks at recent comments from Sunnova's CEO that indicate residential markets are improving, but warns the industry still must "clean up" its act in many ways. (story)

The ancient roof tiles of Silicon Valley

Someday in the distant future, when Earth is uninhabited and in ruins, and humans have all moved to Centaurus A, interstellar tourists may travel back to this ancient planet of ours on galactic vacations. They may visit the famous ruins of Silicon Valley, read about the lost art of entrepreneurship, and marvel at ancient roof tiles typical to the area. Those ancient roof tiles will of course be what we today call Tesla's solar roof, and they will of course always be around for those tourists to marvel at because they will last into infinity. At least that's what Elon Musk says. Last week, Musk informed us that Tesla's tiles will be everlasting at a TED Talk appearance. Julian Spector dives into the talk and extracts insights on the solar roof, future Gigafactories, and more. (story)

ICYMI, Shayle Kann and Stephen Lacey took to The Interchange podcast last year after Tesla's solar roof announcement to take a hard look at the product's market potential. It's worth a listen if you haven't heard it yet. Interstellar analysis not included. (story)

This week, our two podcasters invited former Tesla VP Mateo Jaramillo to talk about the history of behind-the-meter storage, the evolution of Tesla's approach to the market, and where storage business models and applications are headed. (story)

GTM Statcast

For your consideration: the best energy stats from the week of May 1, 2017.

2 GW
The wind capacity installed in the U.S. in Q1 2017, a 385 percent increase from the first quarter of 2016 and the second-strongest first quarter on record. (story)

Series 6
The new CdTe module that First Solar is betting on to lower module and balance-of-system costs. Eric Wesoff sat in on the company's Q1 2017 earnings call this week to get the latest on Series 6 development, as well as the company's financials. (story)

0.5% to 0.6% Degradation
The median annual degradation rate for crystalline silicon according to field tests by NREL. This week we look at what we can learn from the lab's PV testing. (story)

The share of Tesla's storage deployments that are island microgrids. Julia Pyper digs into a new report on the strategic opportunity of island microgrids to storage providers. (story)

The acronym for Bay Area Rapid Transit, the system serving, as the name implies, the Bay Area. This week, the group's board of directors passed an electric portfolio policy that calls for 100 percent of the organization's power to come from renewables by 2045. (story)

49.85 Hz–50.15 Hz
The current frequency range on the Australian electric grid. The range was increased in 2001 to allow for a real-time market for frequency control. However, the change, once thought of as relatively minor change, is now wreaking havoc on the grid's reliability. We look at the reasons why this week. (story)

400 Megawatts of Demand Response
The capacity of the demand response portfolio that Voltus, a startup founded in June 2016 by former EnerNOC executive Gregg Dixon, has put together to serve Midwest grid operator MISO. (story)

That was the only DR news this week. San Diego Gas & Electric recently announced a contract with Ohmconnect for 4.5 megawatts of behavioral demand response. Jeff St. John dives into the project. (story)

40 Million Households
The forecasted number of homes in the U.S. that will have smart thermostats by 2020, according to a new report. (story)

We examine the Spanish renewables market to see how not to manage subsidies and incentives. It's estimated that government cuts to renewables programs have cost Spanish companies €600 million and 75,000 jobs since 2008. (story)

May 1
The day when funding from the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program was to be announced by the U.S. Department of Energy. However, Secretary Perry is delaying the program's funding announcement until he can review all projects under his administration, according to an email sent to applicants and obtained by GTM. SBIR traditionally funds early-stage technology R&D. (story)

Section 202
The section of the Federal Power Act that the Federal government could potentially use to take control of power plants away from states. Why is this important? Because last week Rick Perry talked tough on the topic, saying the government may intervene to halt baseload power plant closures in the name of national security. (story)

Julia Pyper went live on Facebook this week with her expert political panel to evaluate Secretary Perry and the Trump administration's first 100 days of energy policy. Watch the video on-demand. (story)