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U.S. Solar PV Pipeline Up to 24 GW

That vaunted American solar PV pipeline just got a whole lot wider.

According to a recent report by SolarBuzz, the 17 gigawatts (GW) of non-residential PV under development have now grown to 24 GW, largely because of the continued drop in module prices throughout the summer.

The September 2011 edition of the United States Deal Tracker database released by Solarbuzz this week identifies 1,865 non-residential projects totaling 25.9 GW either installed, being installed or in their development phase since January 1, 2010.

According to the report:

  • California, which currently accounts for 61 percent of the total U.S. project pipeline, has benefited from the state’s aggressive 33 percent Renewable Portfolio Standard target and the recent trend of solar projects switching from concentrated solar power technology to PV. The top six state pipelines measured in megawatts are California, Arizona, Nevada, Texas, New Jersey and New Mexico. In total, 44 states now contribute to the pipeline.
  • Utility-driven project activity is identified across 35 states, while other non-residential projects below 1 MW account for 771 projects being monitored. 
  • The fast-developing non-residential segment has created an opportunity for project developers, engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) companies. The top 12 project developers currently account for 51 percent of the total pipeline.
  • The collapse in U.S. factory-gate module prices over the past four months is only now starting to impact utility project prices, much more than system sizes below one megawatt. The factory-gate price is the price from the manufacturer of the module, usually for very large quantities. One-fifth of the installed system prices above one megawatt are now $3.75 per watt STC DC (Standard Test Conditions, Direct Current) or below.
  • For those projects in the pipeline that have selected their module suppliers, the top three suppliers in MW terms are First Solar, SunPower Corporation and Suntech Power. Yingli Green, Sharp and SolarWorld are increasing their presence in non-residential projects. 
  • The leading inverter suppliers to the pipeline remain Advanced Energy and SatCon Technology.
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