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Cornell Real Estate Review

Abstract

The U.S. solar industry has been able to dramatically decrease system costs over the past 5 years through the mobilization of global manufacturing and a more mature deployment workforce. Despite these successes, U.S. prices are still higher than they are in many parts of the developed world. Some of this gap will be narrowed in the coming years through public and private sector initiatives to lower customer acquisition costs, and relieve permitting and interconnection issues. However, one of the largest levers the industry aims to use is gaining access to public capital markets. If the solar industry can lower the cost of capital and gain access to a much larger pool of investors, it will dramatically impact its competitive position within the energy sector; particularly as solar asset’s costs are so frontloaded compared to other energy generation technologies. One of the avenues that the industry is pursuing is being able to raise capital through REITs, which offer access to the public markets at relatively low yields. Although a true solar REIT is not yet possible, investors can still benefit from having solar power based income in their REIT.

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