The week in solar was dominated by testimony before the U.S. International Trade Commission, which took place Tuesday. I won't rehash my article from earlier this week, but industry observers and investors should know there's a reasonable likelihood that solar imports will be hit with tariffs or a price floor by the end of the year, which could throw the industry for a loop. Until we know more details, it's hard to tell what the exact impact on each company will be.
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We also got an earnings report from Canadian Solar (NASDAQ: CSIQ), which did very little to reinforce the seemingly bullish trends taking place in solar demand. Margins were pretty weak at the manufacturer, and third-quarter shipments aren't expected to be as strong as I would have thought. As more reports come out, we'll get a better idea of what the manufacturing landscape looks like. Beyond earnings and ITC testimony, here are the notable news items for the week.
The eclipse is coming
An extremely rare solar eclipse is coming to North America on Monday, and it'll disrupt a lot of the industry's solar electricity generation. Utilities across the country are scrambling to adapt, and they're doing so in creative ways.
According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, some 1,900 solar power plants are in the eclipse's path, and California will see electricity supply drop sharply in the early morning. The state has said it will ramp up 3,000 MW of energy storage to fill some of the gap in supply, but with solar supplying about 9,000 MW of electricity midday, natural gas and hydro plants will need to be on call as well.
The good news is that the disruption isn't a surprise to the solar industry or utilities. The lights should stay on, even if it's dark outside.
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Solar project sales continue at a rapid rate
A few big project sales hit the wires this week, highlighted by D.E. Shaw Renewable Investments' acquisition of the 40 MW Cuyama Solar Project from First Solar (NASDAQ: FSLR). The sale price wasn't disclosed, but the project has a 25-year power purchase agreement with Pacific Gas & Electric starting in 2019.
Duke Energy's (NYSE: DUK) renewables arm acquired the 24.9 MW Shoreham Solar Commons project in New York from Invenergy. The project has a 20-year power purchase agreement with the Long Island Power Authority.
In Minnesota, Nautilus Solar acquired 13.3 MW of community solar projects owned by ReneSola (NYSE: SOL). The projects will ultimately be owned by Virgo Investment Group, a shareholder of Nautilus Solar Energy.
News and notes
Here are a few other notable items from this week in solar.
- Mississippi Power and Silicon Ranch announced that the Mississippi Public Service Commission has given its approval to build a 52.5 MW solar project in Lauderdale County. The project will sell energy to Mississippi Power under a 25-year power purchase agreement.
- JLM Energy announced a new microstorage solution this week that will attach to individual solar panels and microinverters. It will have 0.65 kWh and 0.8 kWh solutions, which could become a nice option for residential and commercial projects.
- Argentina announced a 1.2 GW renewable-energy tender that has 450 MW set aside for solar energy. Offers will be submitted in October with power purchase agreements set to be signed in November.
That's all for this week in solar. Check back to fool.com for more solar news next week.
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