Agenda

  • Wednesday October 23

  • 17:30

    Welcome Drinks Reception

  • Thursday October 24

  • 08:45

    Introductory Remarks & DG Market Analysis

  • 08:55

    Keynote 1: Expanding & Adapting Community Solar Markets

    Bruce Stewart, President and CEO of Perch Energy, kicks off our 2024 agenda with an opening keynote on Expanding and Adapting Community Solar Markets. Brian will discuss what is driving expansion today, promising new markets and legacy market modifications to keep pace.

  • 09:15

    Panel 1: New & Active Community Solar Markets, Planning & Policy

    Utilities and states are trying to expand community solar as larger utility scale projects face bottlenecks. In certain states such as California, utilities and developers have remained at odds on how to properly structure a program. Separately, other utilities have now issued renewable energy RFPs seeking both grid-scale and community solar projects for future generation mix. 

    Panelists will discuss:

    •              Emerging community solar state legislation & expansion

    •              Market adoption to take advantage of IRA adders

    •              Utilities implementing community solar and its impact on developers

    •              Issues & potential solutions community solar developers are addressing today

    Michelle France
    Michelle France DG Reporter, New Project Media
  • 10:25

    Speed Networking / Coffee Break

  • 11:10

    Keynote 2: Procuring Community Solar Programs & Best Practices

    Hear from Brian Granahan, Director at Illinois Power Agency, as he discusses the obstacles and solutions with getting a community solar program in place or modifying it to remain competitive. Brian will also address how storage is becoming a growing part of the market and how their programs are aligning with IRA incentives.

  • 11:30

    Panel 2: Tax Equity & Debt Financing Accelerating DG Projects

    The IRA allows developers to benefit from base investment tax credits (ITC) and adders such as the lower-to-middle income (LMI) and energy communities, which has led community solar programs to add the 51% requirement into new or modified programs. Separately, tax transferability was allowed and touted as a way for smaller developers to tap the market. Questions remain as to how much the IRA has offset project/portfolio costs, while the bank market has continued to support DG in a myriad of ways outside of traditional non-recourse project finance. Panelists will discuss: 

    •              Net impacts of IRA adders to the cost of the project, and impact on wider portfolios

    •              Net impact to community solar and C&I solar projects 

    •              Debt finance and tax equity structures available to DG developers today

    •              Case studies of successful deal structures, potential replication & scalability

  • 12:25

    Lunch Break

  • 13:30

    Panel 3: Storage Integration Efforts with DG Projects and Portfolios

    Battery energy storage has continued to grow at the distributed generation level. ERCOT, with its “Texas tens” or sub-10 MW projects, have much shorter lead times to tackle an ever-increasing load problem, while other markets such as NY, driven by its 6 GW Storage Roadmap, strive to get storage to the grid. Hurdles remain as certain utilities still have tariffs in place making it inefficient and uneconomical to own and operate a battery at this level. Panelists will discuss:

    •              Economics of owning and operating a DG battery, including fire safety risks

    •              Paired or co-located batteries and the DG level compared to utility-scale

    •              Corporate markets, particularly edge data centers driving storage demand

  • 14:30

    Networking Coffee Break

  • 14:50

    Keynote 3: Pennsylvania Community Solar

    Pennsylvania State Representative Peter Schweyer will provide an update on efforts to pass community solar legislation in the Keystone State, discuss specific influences that successful programs in other states have had on the process and outline the remaining challenges to getting a bill passed. He will also provide forward looking views on how a community solar market can flourish in Pennsylvania and where opportunities lie for developers interested in opening the market.

  • 15:10

    Panel 4: Corporates Advancing & Contracting for Community Solar & C&I

    Wal-Mart closed out Q1 summarizing its community scale and utility-scale renewable initiatives as part of its mandate to accelerate its clean energy strategy. Other conglomerates pushed their agenda forward too, as Cox Enterprises made a USD 250m investment in DSD and Ikea Group’s parent Ingka made a series of moves growing its renewable footprint. Panelists will discuss:

    •              Optimal ways large real estate owners are growing their renewable footprint 

    •              How developers optimize revenues from C&I initiatives, rooftop solar and EV 

    •              Policy tailwinds and headwinds such as net metering 3.0 in California

  • 15:55

    Panel 5: Fueling the Next Era of DG Expansion and Capitalization

    There was a noticeable increase in platform deal flow across the clean energy spectrum in 2024 as inflationary fears eased and companies and/or project portfolios started to trade. With community solar markets still limited, consolidation might be in the works. Some developers are also looking to penetrate the MUSH solar market, while others seek to enhance C&I capabilities with EV charging. Panelists will discuss: 

    •              Whether platforms are split between creating IPPs while others develop & flip

    •              Market demand and whether there is room for more community solar IPPs

    •              Optimal capitalization structures today, what is optimal and why

  • 17:00

    Closing Drinks Reception