When the history of 2020 is written, it’s doubtful that anything about it will be tagged as normal. For those of us in the solar industry, that meant overcoming the challenges brought about by the changing market landscape.
Practically speaking, that meant implementing processes that would evolve the company from its pre-COVID best practices to current best practices and figuring out ways around the project delays, including potential interconnection and permitting delays. It wasn’t easy, but our team worked diligently to keep our project pipeline moving and that’s just what we did.
We’ve also embraced the new normal of working from home, and implemented multiple strategic IT initiatives, including an entirely new infrastructure. This allowed our team members to keep deals on track and led to another successful year. In 2020, despite the unexpected challenges, we developed and funded approximately 50 projects totaling nearly 90 megawatts (MW).
And even though the pandemic presented a challenge to our traditional recruiting practices, we stayed the course and have added 10 new employees since August, including Mike Streams as our new chief development officer. With this expansion of the team, we’re looking forward to continued and consistent growth in 2021.
Despite the current COVID-19 environment, our team has continued to be busy with all aspects of our business. Whether it’s project development, project valuation, market dynamics, debt financing or tax-equity programs, we have maintained and expanded on our abilities to bring projects successfully to completion. We expect to build on those strengths and capabilities as we move into the new year.
That’s not to say that everything will return to normal just because the calendar clicks over to 2021. We expect that the economy will continue to be turbulent for some time despite the promise that vaccines bring to the COVID-19 picture. On the other hand, there’s hope that the incoming Biden Administration will provide some stability on the issue of climate change, which should have a positive effect on the solar industry as a whole.
And Biden’s appointees to key posts, including Jennifer Granholm as Secretary of Energy, John Kerry as International Climate Change Envoy and Gina McCarthy (last seen as President Obama’s EPA Administrator) as Domestic Climate Change Policy Advisor and Michael S. Regan, North Carolina’s top environmental regulator, to lead the Environmental Protection Agency, also excite us. Having such a strong, pro-renewable energy team in place will return solar to its rightful place in the center of the United States’ energy-production planning.
We also believe that Biden should (and likely will) remove the solar tariffs that have slowed the industry’s growth over the past four years. It would reignite the solar industry as an economic driver and could help lead the way out of the economic morass through which the country is currently slogging.
As for us, we’ll continue to keep our heads down and focus on what we do best: developing, funding, owning and operating the most innovative commercial and community solar and solar + storage projects across the country. We’re excited about the coming year and hope that you are too.
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