Last week wrapped up Solar Power International, the largest solar conference hosted in the United States. With more than 15,000 solar developers, manufactures and investors in town, Las Vegas was practically powered by solar. Over the four day conference, the Mercatus team had a chance to connect with industry leaders and get a live pulse of where the solar is headed in the coming years.

We started out the week with our co-hosted dinner with Bloomberg New Energy Finance. Opened by BNEF’s Rob Glen and Mercatus CEO, Haresh Patel, it was a star-studded event with the likes of David Crane and Jigar Shah. BNEF also shared their new energy outlook, which notably showed how competitive pressures are driving costs down in various markets. Their analysts have made hopeful forecasts for US solar, with increased growth in all sectors.

The mood around the conference itself was equally opportunistic, with a refreshed outlook on the industry and renewed enthusiasm. The effects of the ITC extension and what’s to come after was a major topic this year, proving just how far policy has come in shaping the progression of US solar. Outside of the US, emerging markets were abuzz with opportunity, with Chile, Dubai and Mexico being dubbed the it-markets of today, thanks to record low auction prices.

However, the US election weighed heavily on the minds of most panelists, with the outcome majorly affecting the future of the industry. Tony Kaelin from Duke Energy Renewables pointedly said, one candidate has the potential to obliteration bonus depreciations and the ITC/PTC, while the other could extend them a decade more. That being said, cost of capital was a major topic of discussion, with the role of pension funds, tax equity and green bonds becoming more important, now with yieldcos taking a considerable backseat. However, the yieldco has not been sworn off for good, as the idea of accessing the public market to achieve lower rate financing is still attractive, said Mark Noyes of ConEdison. While they will continue to play a role in the marketplace, the yieldcos of the future will have more fundamentals behind them, but will not drive returns as high as they did in the past.

Overall, it was clear that solar is thriving and creating amazing job opportunities within the industry, with many attendees looking for their next move in the industry or looking to join in on the action. Hopefully the momentum from this year’s SPI will launch the next phase of the solar industry’s evolution—away from the Wild West days and into a mature sector that the capital markets can get behind and stay behind.

What were your takeaways from SPI? We’d love to hear them. For everyone we met at SPI, it was great seeing you. If we missed you this year, don’t hesitate to get in touch.