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Solar Solutions show off again but CEOs voice confidence and Spain is moving its green economic recovery up a gear – pv magazine International | #coronavirus | #scams | #covid19


Plus, solar funding is down and Australian rooftop installers are preparing for tough times ahead as one U.S. utility has warned customers to be alert to scammers hoping to benefit from the pandemic.

The Solar Solutions International trade show in the Netherlands, which organizers announced only two weeks ago would be held in September, has now been cancelled for this year after exhibitors voiced Covid-19-related concerns.

A coronavirus-related survey of 67 cleantech and e-mobility company bosses by Hyperion Executive Research has revealed 65% of the CEOs and founders expect to recruit this year, with only 5% anticipating lay-offs. Three-quarters of respondents anticipate revenue growth this year although 85% said the public health crisis had reduced investor confidence.

The Gujarat Solar Power Policy 2015 incentives package which expired on April 1 has had a nine-month extension to the end of the year with the chief minister of the state citing a need to help projects delayed by the Covid-19 crisis.

The Spanish government on Monday said it was rushing through urgent Royal Decrees to bring about new renewable energy tenders this year and to regulate the issuance of grid connection permits, as part of its Covid-19 economic recovery program.

Changing tack

Solar start-up CEO Methode Maniraguha has told pv magazine USA about how his business changed its focus after the onset of Covid-19 to avoid lay-offs.

English consultant Cornwall Insight has predicted the volume of small scale solar installations in Australia over the next year could fall by as much as half the usual level because of Covid-19 and the related gloomy consumer sentiment.

Lobby group the National Solar Energy Federation of India (NSEFI) has said the Covid-19-driven extension of PV project completion deadlines offered by the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy was not long enough. The ministry extended project deadlines due to expire during the lockdown period – designated as March 25 to May 31 – to a new date on July 1. NSEFI members say curfews and restrictions on social gathering and rail journeys still apply in many areas, and affect the availability of labor, and the international travel ban is also affecting component procurement. The organization has asked for project deadlines to be extended to November 30.

Regulator the Australian Energy Market Commission has given companies an extra three months to overhaul IT systems for a major reform of the wholesale energy market next year, citing Covid-19 as the reason for the extra leeway. Price signals on Australia’s National Energy Market are now due to switch from 30-minute to five-minute intervals from October 1 next year, rather than July 1, 2021, as originally planned.

Investment

The latest solar funding report produced by Texas-based Mercom Capital showed finance volumes for PV were down almost across the board as Covid-19 struck in the first half of the year, and the last quarter in particular.

Eastern U.S. utility Duke Energy has warned its customers to be wary of a rising number of Covid-19-related scams. Electricity and gas customers reported the highest monthly volume of scams on record last month: 4,000; and 15,000 were reported in the first half of the year, compared to 18,000 in all of last year. Ruses include emails asking for customer details in order to mail out refunds for over-payment and phone calls threatening a halt to service for late payment. Neither Duke Energy nor its Piedmont Gas subsidiary is halting services for non-payment at present. Fellow utility Georgia Power has opened a late payment plan for customers affected by the public health crisis, which will offer customers who sign up by today’s deadline the choice of staggering overdue amounts in monthly payments from October to March.

An annual survey of attitudes to climate change and energy use in the U.S. by Deloitte, which reached 1,531 residential and 602 commercial electricity users, appears to indicate the Covid-19 crisis has focused determination to switch to clean energy, rather than dampening enthusiasm.

Covid-19

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



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