"U.S. Solar Soared In 2016, But Investors Still Leery"

"New U.S. solar installations nearly doubled last year, but slowing demand for both residential and large-scale systems, falling panel prices and concerns about looming federal tax reform are still dampening investor appetite for the sector.

Solar installations soared 97 percent to 14.8 gigawatts in 2016, according to a report released on Thursday by Wood Mackenzie and the Solar Energy Industries Association. The technology is cheaper than ever, with panel prices dropping 40 percent last year, and many utilities procuring solar on the basis of cost alone.

But the dramatic drop in panel prices has hampered solar manufacturers' profits and ramped up competition for utility-scale contracts among developers, companies said in recent weeks while reporting fourth-quarter results. Add in a slowdown in the residential market, tax reform pushed by U.S. President Donald Trump, climbing interest rates and falling oil prices, and stock market investors remain skittish about solar."

Nichola Groom reports for Reuters March 9, 2017.

Source: Reuters, 03/10/2017