Latest NREL survey to show renewable energy finance trends

| August 09, 2011

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory has released a survey it hopes renewable energy developers and financiers will take time to complete. The survey, called the Renewable Energy Finance Tracking Initiative (REFTI) questionnaire, was first released in December 2009 by NREL. The current version has been revised and aims to “collect and share quantitative data on renewable energy financing terms and to assess barriers to renewable energy development,” NREL stated.

The survey takes roughly 15 minutes to complete and asks participants and energy developers to first describe their respective projects, followed by questions like “What is the total estimated installed costs before incentives and levelized cost of energy after incentives from the project?” (Levelized cost of energy equals the present value of the project costs divided by the present value of energy delivered.)

The current version of the survey has been altered to encourage participation, including shorter, more focused questions. The survey will also be offered biannually instead of quarterly and a new spreadsheet will make reading and accessing the data from the questionnaires easier for users.

“By sharing information through this quick, confidential questionnaire, renewable energy developers help illuminate finance trends and provide critical marketplace feedback on the importance and effectiveness of various polices and incentives,” said Mike Mendelsohn, REFTI project manager.

The new survey is focused on the first half of 2011 and will be available until Aug. 18. A previous survey for fourth quarter 2010 had 152 participants, with 45 percent of those who completed the survey from the developer/installer/integrator sector. The survey also indicated that of the 643 projects in development, 176 had reached financial closure of some kind.

Of the projects reported on in the survey, 48 percent noted that power purchase agreements with a customer host were signed. The largest barriers to renewable energy development were poor project economics, making up 22 percent of the responses. Other barriers included accessing government programs and showing the creditworthiness of the power purchaser.

To participate in the survey click here.

For previous survey results click here.