US non-residential PV pipeline hits 17 GW

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Solarbuzz’s new report, ‘United States Deal Tracker’, says that these 17 GW are comprised of 601 projects, which range from 50 kilowatts to 500 megawatts (MW) in size. They are expected to be executed between the second half of this year and 2015.

California is said to represent the lion’s share of the 17 GW – 62 percent – "stimulated by the state’s aggressive 33 percent Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) target". Overall, the pipeline includes projects to be installed in 40 states.

After California, Arizona (nine percent), Nevada (five percent), New Jersey (two percent), New Mexico (two percent) and Texas (two percent) are identified as the top states in terms of prospective installed capacity.

The research company says state RPS’ have been "major drivers" in establishing such a pipeline.

Since January 2010, Solarbuzz says that 1,565 non-residential photovoltaic projects, representing 20.3 GW, have either already been installed, are currently being installed or are under development.

Opportunities

Solarbuzz has found that 12 project developers account for 49 percent of the 17 GW pipeline. In a statement it adds, "The fast developing non-residential segment has created an important and growing opportunity for project developers, engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) companies."

In terms of installed system prices, the company says that for planned projects bigger than one MW, an average price of $4.50 per watt DC can be expected. However, it says that prices for 32 percent of the photovoltaic project are under $4 per watt.

It adds that the decrease in U.S. factory gate prices is just now starting to impact on large project prices.

Challenges

Craig Stevens, Solarbuzz president says, however, that there are still many challenges to be overcome if the pipeline is to ever be realized. "Most notably," he says, "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."

First Solar, SunPower and Suntech rank as the top photovoltaic module suppliers in MW terms, based on the projects in the pipeline that have already selected their suppliers.

Advanced Energy and Satcon Technology, meanwhile, have been named as the leading inverter suppliers.

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