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DNV GL releases 'Global Trends in Solar Finance'

New paper identifies what is needed to ensure technical risks in solar projects are properly assessed.

In 'Bright Ideas: Global Trends in Solar Finance,' DNV GL draws upon the front-line experience of its solar experts working on five continents across all major solar market segments. The paper describes major trends in solar financing, defining what is needed to ensure technical risks are properly assessed. Furthermore, it looks beyond the current horizon to reflect upon what the future holds for solar energy finance. Real-world reference cases are also highlighted in the paper.
“The growth of solar energy in recent years has been built on innovation in both technology and manufacturing,” says Ray Hudson, DNV GL solar service line leader. “Another type of innovation that is just as important is innovative finance models. Access to significant amounts of efficient capital is vital to support continuing growth. In addition to financial innovation, there’s also the crucial task of quantifying the risks associated with the technology and practices at the heart of the business.”
The new paper focuses on four major trends in solar finance:
  1. Securitisation
Securitisation refers to the process of converting a pool of illiquid assets into tradable securities. In the case of solar PV projects, a portfolio of residential and/or commercial scale systems is assembled and asset-backed securities are issued and rated based on the combination of underlying cash flows.
  1. New sources of debt and equity
Placing the ownership of a large number of solar projects into liquid and publicly tradable vehicles provides investment avenues suitable for a wider range of investors and deepens the pool of capital available to developers. Due to the nature of solar assets – namely, the predictable cash flows – these vehicles can raise equity at rates similar to the cost of debt.
  1. New routes to market
As diverse solar assets are being combined to create investment products attractive to new sources of capital, the way that solar PV projects interact with electricity markets is undergoing its own revolution. Alternative offtake structures such as direct sales and even merchant solar plants are on the rise. The traditional role and model of a power utility is being challenged with new types of off-takers stepping in.
  1. Crowdfunding
Crowdfunding sees project promoters using online platforms to directly connect with small investors looking for an investment return. In essence, crowdfunding allows investment decisions to be made collectively by potentially millions of people rather than by traditional financier credit committees. 
“Innovation in solar finance equates to smarter and more effective investing opportunities,” Hudson explained. “With our experience and involvement in the global solar industry, DNV GL is uniquely suited to helping developers and investors move forward with confidence.” 

'Bright Ideas: Global Trends in Solar Finance' is available on DNV GL’s website:

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This article is featured in:
Energy efficiency  •  Energy infrastructure  •  Photovoltaics (PV)  •  Policy, investment and markets  •  Solar electricity