Covid-19 weekly round-up: Ups and downs from the US residential market and one Swedish city tries to attract Europe’s best and brightest


EU-backed sustainable energy innovation organization EIT InnoEnergy and the municipality-owned power company in Skellefteå are trying to tempt renewable energy businesses to the Swedish city as part of the municipality’s efforts to drive a green post-Covid recovery. European start-ups can apply from today until August 23 to move to the city and benefit from a three-month support program including supply chain development and tech and industrialization support.

Covid-19 is suspected to be a contributory factor in the recent application by California-based roofing, solar and storage company PetersenDean filing for chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the U.S. A notice on the company website asks customers to return later “as our state begins to re-open businesses to the public.”


The Global EV Outlook 2020 report published by the International Energy Agency has forecast the pandemic could have one of two effects on e-mobility and the environment: the experience of cleaner air and blue skies could prompt policymakers to restrict urban vehicle use or, conversely, fears associated with using public transport could put commuters back in their cars just as governments roll back electric vehicle (EV) support policies to try and herd cash during the anticipated, post-Covid economic depression.

The latest Global Market Outlook report released by trade body SolarPower Europe estimates the Covid-19 pandemic will see a 4% reduction in the amount of PV rolled out worldwide this year, compared to 2019, with 112 GW of capacity added, rather than the 144 GW previously estimated by the organization. Labor restrictions, supply chain problems and lower demand – all prompted by Covid-19 – will explain the retreat, with SolarPower Europe predicting the world could enter the terawatt age for PV in 2022 if governments attach environmental conditions to green economic recovery packages in the wake of the public health crisis.

pv magazine USA has spoken to the organizers of solar trade shows about the transition to the age of virtual conferences in the Covid-19 age and the pandemic also surfaced as a point of interest in the first virtual iteration of pv magazine’s annual June roundtable event last week.


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The latest U.S. Solar Market Insight report produced by trade body the Solar Energy Industries Association and analyst Wood Mackenzie, predicted record first-quarter new-solar figures of 3.6 GW in the U.S. ahead of the onset of Covid-19 – and a robust large scale PV pipeline – will help carry the national market to year on year growth of 33% this year, despite the pandemic dragging down small scale installations 31% from last year’s figures.

The Norwegian government has again pushed back a planned reduction in the fixed rebate offered homeowners who install solar. The NOK10,000 (€930) payment was due to be reduced to NOK7,500 on April 1 but that regression date was put back to July 1 after the onset of the Covid-19 crisis and has now been postponed until January 1, as part of a NOK3.6 billion (€335 million) energy transition package announced by the authorities.

Back in business

Investment bank Goldman Sachs last week priced two securitizations for $459 million (€409 million) of residential solar loans offered by Californian solar finance company Loanpal, indicating the U.S. asset-backed security market for residential solar loans is back open for business after effectively closing during the Covid-19 crisis.

BloombergNEF, with the UN Environment Program (UNEP) and the Frankfurt School-Unep Collaborating Center, have produced a Global Trends in Renewable Energy Investment 2020 report highlighting how the falling cost of clean energy generation puts solar and other renewables in prime position to be at the heart of post-Covid-19 recovery efforts.


Read pv magazine’s coverage of Covid-19 and tell us how it is affecting your solar and energy storage operations. Email to share your experiences.

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