Also on the rise: Stem provides intelligent energy storage services for a project in Bay State, Solar leads global investments in power generation, and Agilitas Energy is expanding its storage capacity.

June 11, 2021

Canadian Solar executives said during a webinar that they believe polysilicon prices have peaked and that speculation that had pushed prices up has no longer had a significant impact. However, executives briefly stopped saying when they thought polyp prices might give way.

The comments were made during a webinar hosted by Roth Capital Advisors on June 9th. Senior executives included Yan Zhuang, President of CSI Solar, Dr. Huifeng Chang, Chief Financial Officer, Ismael Guerrero Arias, President of the Company’s Energy Business, and Isabel Zhang, Director.

Canadian Solar said that its customers have accepted higher module prices “over time” and that customers are not completely abandoning projects. However, Yan said that “the room for higher prices is limited”. The company said the second half of 2021 will likely continue to be tough on its operating margins.

On the conference call on its first quarter results, Canadian Solar said the price of polysilicon has tripled in the past 12 months. The company partially mitigated the impact by increasing module prices, which were “almost a double-digit percentage increase” compared to the fourth quarter. The company also announced that it was prioritizing margins over shipping volume.

During the June 9 webinar, Canadian Solar also said it was working on improving its power electronics, including inverters, but was not trying to become an inverter company. The company enters the inverter market to offer a complete solar and storage solution for residential and small C&I applications.

The company said the high sunk costs incurred in the development process in the US made project cancellation or postponement unlikely, even with polysilicon price pressures. Philip Shen of Roth Capital said his firm’s own reviews suggest that some project developers have abandoned projects after spending $ 1-2 million in development costs. In a May 16 research note, Shen warned that current price pressures could delay up to 15% of planned power plant-scale solar development in the US in 2021

Canadian Solar said during the webinar that the Brazilian market is most sensitive to cost increases, while the shift to trading power in the European Union makes this market less sensitive.

Trunk in support of the solar and storage project

Stem Inc. will provide intelligent energy storage services to Altus Power America for a DC-coupled DC-coupled 2.9 MW solar system project with 2 MWh energy storage, which is scheduled to go into operation in the second quarter at a location in Massachusetts.

Stem’s Athena AI intelligent energy storage platform is used to enable Altus Power’s solar generation and energy storage system to enable automated demand response with flexible energy delivery during peak demand times, thereby maximizing the economic and environmental benefits of its solar systems. The addition of energy storage devices to the DC-coupled solar system is intended to reduce the energy loss in the solar inverters.

Since announcing its first project in Massachusetts in 2017, Stem has provided more than 180 MWh total storage capacity, or nearly 20% of total non-residential energy storage capacity, to the MA SMART solar program behind the meter and the front of the meter (FTM).

According to Wood Mackenzie’s 2020 U.S. Energy Storage Monitor, Massachusetts was home to 30% of the 300 MWh of U.S. non-residential energy storage in 2020, more than any state except California. Massachusetts is expected to provide 21% more megawatt hours for non-residential buildings in 2021 than in 2020.

Solar leads the world

Solar photovoltaics is now that leading source of investment in global power generationAccording to Frost & Sullivan, more dollars were invested in photovoltaics in 2020 than coal, gas and nuclear combined, the company said. The coming decade promises more growth and continued investment opportunities as the company invests a total of $ 2 billion by 2030, with half going to utility projects and the rest to commercial, industrial, and residential PV systems. More households and businesses will emerge than prosumers who rely on self-generation for most of their needs, made possible by energy storage systems. The company said this will fuel the growth of virtual power plants to aggregate those resources and maintain the integrity of the power grid.

Agilitas Energy is expanding its storage offering

Agility energy acquires Boston-based New England Battery Storage, a private energy storage developer focused on supply-scale battery storage. The acquisition comprises two operational battery energy storage systems from ISO-New England for dealers and a battery energy storage system at the front-of-the-meter base in Maine with a total of 25 MWh.

In Maine, two projects in the city of Madison became the first continuous storage systems in Maine. A separate project in Rumford City, a 4.99 MW / 10 MWh front-of-the-meter battery energy storage system, went into commercial operation in early June.

The acquisition marks Agilitas Energy’s expansion into battery energy storage operations, including participation in ISO-New England’s day-ahead and real-time energy markets, operating reserve markets, frequency regulation market and forward capacity market. One of the systems is also a peak load reducer for a municipal electricity company and also participates in the ISO-New England wholesale marketplace.

NEBS will be merged with the existing Agilitas Energy organization. Jeff Perry, CEO and President of NEBS, who has 30 years of asset management and commercial power systems experience, will become VP, Asset Management at Agilitas Energy.

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