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2020 Solar Generation Index - Quantitative Insights From Leading Asset Owners

08 Oct. 2020 by Richard Matsui, kWh Analytics

“The world’s most comprehensive analysis of real-world project performance”

Every asset class is governed by market cycles and modeling assumptions, which naturally swing between optimism and conservatism. As solar continues its ascension, the optimism that naturally emerges from market growth can inadvertently undermine the long-term stability of the industry as a whole. 

Fortunately, our industry has matured tremendously in a few short years. Our asset class has now generated a decade of actual data that can be harnessed to guide sustainable growth. This data affirms an array of positive attributes of the asset class, but it also reveals that we have collectively turned a blind eye to realities of solar asset performance. 

Under the leadership provided by our industry’s largest asset owners, kWh Analytics has been given the opportunity to publish the world’s most comprehensive analysis of real-world project performance (30% of the U.S. market) to review how we as an industry are performing against the yield expectations we have set for ourselves and for our investors. 

The data speaks for itself: if you blindly trust a production estimate, on average, you are likely overestimating a site’s production. With the data and support of 10 of the 15 largest asset owners, we are publishing this inaugural report to provide our industry with an opportunity for introspection. 

Although underperformance impacts multiple stakeholders, the long-term equity investors are the most exposed to inaccurate energy forecasts. Change won’t happen on its own. It is up to us as an industry to collectively allow hard data to overcome opinions, however well-intended. We look forward to the shared work of improving our solar industry and accelerating the clean energy transition.

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