US solar PV pipeline tops 600 projects

Solarbuzz’s July United States Deal Tracker database shows more evidence of a “compelling” solar PV installation rise in the US. The top project developers have achieved a near majority share of non-residential installs.

July 10, 2011 — Solarbuzz’s July 2011 United States Deal Tracker database shows more evidence of a “compelling” solar photovoltaics (PV) installation rise in the US. The data confirms earlier reports that not all states are going solar, and the non-residential sector is thriving. The top project developers have achieved a near majority share of non-residential installs.

The US non-residential PV pipeline now exceeds 17GW in 601 projects ranging from 50kW to 500MW in size (installs planned through 2015). Starting in January 2010, a total of 1,565 non-residential projects (20.3GW) have been installed, are being installed, or are in development. In the development phase are projects pre-RFP, going through the RFP process or are planned without RFP.

Some states are soaking in the sun more than others. State Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) policies have been a major driver in building the pipeline in leading states. California currently accounts for 62% of the total US project pipeline, stimulated by the state’s aggressive 33% Renewable Portfolio Standard target. The top 6 state pipelines in megawatts are California, Arizona, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico and Texas. 40 states contribute to the pipeline.

The skyrocketing non-residential segment represents a significant opportunity for project developers and engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) companies. The top 12 project developers currently account for 49% of the total pipeline.

The collapse in US factory-gate module prices over the past four months is only now starting to impact large project prices. Installed system prices for planned projects above 1MW have an average price of $4.50/W DC. 32% of these projects exhibit prices below $4.00/W DC.

“With the overall US market size forecast around 2GW in 2011, there remains significant challenges for the 17GW in the pipeline,” said Craig Stevens, president, Solarbuzz. “Most notably, these include aligning project structure with financing sources, overcoming regulatory challenges and taking full advantage of recent price movements in the market to procure the best mix of PV system components.”

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. The leading inverter suppliers to the pipeline are Advanced Energy and SatCon Technology.

The Solarbuzz United States Deal Tracker reports project activity in the non-residential (including utilities) segment. The parameters in the database for each installation include owner or host name, project developer, installer, system size (MWp and first year MWh), installed pricing data, system type (ground mount, roof mount, BIPV, tracking, carports), acreage, PPA provider, electricity off-taker, city, county, state, utility territory, timing of installation, module and inverter suppliers, installer and project developer contact details.

Solarbuzz, part of The NPD Group, is a globally recognized market research business focused on solar energy and photovoltaic industries. For more information, visit www.solarbuzz.com

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