Our 2023 market predictions

2022 was a landmark year for the clean energy industry, as the passage of the landmark Inflation Reduction Act finally provided the federal policy certainty that will drive the next phase of the clean energy transition. But it was not without its challenges: despite strong tailwinds, many solar and energy storage projects were plagued by delays caused by supply chain and trade disruptions.

CleanCapital enters 2023 as an established leader, having built one of the largest commercial solar portfolios in the U.S. and nearing $1 billion in total investment in portfolios and partner companies. The coming year will bring an abundance of opportunity, which is naturally accompanied by heightened expectations for our team and our colleagues across the industry.

Here, members of our executive team offer their predictions for the sure-to-be-exciting year to come:

Thomas Byrne, Chief Executive Officer

“In 2023, clean energy development will accelerate far beyond the stalwart solar states and expand into states that have been historically slow to embrace clean energy. We are already seeing this. CleanCapital and its partners are developing solar in Alaska, Texas, Ohio, and West Virginia.

With passage of the IRA we are undeniably transitioning the American grid to clean energy, and it is becoming apparent that the vast majority of states and municipalities are embracing this future.”

Jon Powers, President

“The passage of the IRA and the initial deployment of Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act funds to states in 2022 provided the market certainty to drive the next phase of the clean energy transition.

In 2023, we will witness:

  • Accelerated deployment: The IRA will spur faster deployment of clean energy to solve the climate crisis, first with core technologies like wind and solar but also by mainstreaming the deployment of energy storage.
  • More U.S. manufacturing: We will see new U.S.-based manufacturing of key materials as the DOE manufacturing efforts align with demand signals provided by the IRA tax incentives. This transition is already underway, but next year we will see more facilities being developed and announced nationwide.
  • Grid modernization and EV infrastructure roll out: The combination of the infrastructure funds beginning to flow and the alignment of clean energy transition policies at the state level will help to drive significant deployment of EV infrastructure as well as strategic planning for grid modernization that will lead to major investments in the following 5 years.”

Melinda Baglio, Chief Investment Officer & General Counsel

“Given the IRA incentives to increase domestic manufacturing, I think there will be opportunities for well-capitalized sponsors to partner with OEMs to accelerate the transition.

EV infrastructure will be the new storage; companies will be looking for ways to meet customer demand to incorporate this technology into commercial solar arrays. And the cybersecurity matters that utility-scale operators have been dealing with are going to become more prevalent in the DG space.”

Zoe Berkery, Chief Operating Officer

“As the solar industry continues to mature and early solar portfolios age to 10 – 15 years or more, owners will be looking to extend contract life on these sites and upgrade equipment.

  • Repowering: The IRA may make reinvestments in these aging sites very attractive if they are able to capture the ITC or other financing mechanisms again. We’re awaiting guidance and details but this may be an exciting opportunity in the coming year.
  • PV module recycling: The waste involved with decommissioning old sites or repowering aging ones will lead to major increases in equipment components in need of responsible disposal. PV module recycling is getting more attention at the state policy level in particular, and a growing number of innovative companies are partnering with large solar asset owners to assist with disposal. Many solar owners/operators are already making commitments to dispose of equipment responsibly; we’ll see this trend continue and gain importance in 2023 and onward.
  • Stacking ITC & PTC: Post-IRA I think we’ll increasingly see creative combinations of financing structures on a single site: for example, PTC on solar paired with ITC on battery.
  • Equitable access: Lastly, we are excited to see more clean energy development in Low Income Communities and more community solar with the support of the IRA!”

Julia Bell, Chief Commercial Officer

“The IRA has empowered and motivated small development shops; expect that some will double or triple their output over the next few years.

  • We will continue to see construction delays and price fluctuations given continuing supply chain problems and the rollout of process changes from the IRA.
  • We expect increased  interest in projects sited on reclaimed land as a response to IRA incentives and local zoning/citizen pushback on new solar project development.
  • I am also excited to see what tax credit transferability develops into this year as we start to see the initial transactions executed.”