US non-residential PV pipeline growing on back of low module prices

Solarbuzz’s United States Deal Tracker database has found that there are 1,865 non-residential photovoltaic projects in the U.S. worth a total of 25.9 GW, which have either been installed, are currently under construction or are in the development phase since January 1, 2010.

As has been widely reported, California is the leading U.S. state in terms of both installed capacity and projects in the pipeline. According to Solarbuzz, it currently holds 61 percent of the current non-residential pipeline.

Overall, says the research company, 44 states are contributing to the photovoltaic pipeline. Of these, California, Arizona, Nevada, Texas, New Jersey, and New Mexico comprise the top six.

It continues by saying that non-residential photovoltaic projects below one megawatt comprise an important market segment, and account for 771 of the projects Solarbuzz is monitoring.

"The fast-developing non-residential segment has created an important and growing opportunity for project developers, engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) companies. The top 12 project developers currently account for 51 percent of the total pipeline," said a statement issued.

Price collapse

Solarbuzz says that the "collapse" in factory gate photovoltaic module prices are only now beginning to have an impact on utility project prices – "much more than system sizes below one megawatt".

"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," continued the statement.

In terms of photovoltaic module suppliers, First Solar, SunPower and Suntech have been identified as the top three in megawatt terms. Solarbuzz adds, however, that Yingli, Sharp and SolarWorld’s presences are growing.

Advanced Energy and SatCon Technology, meanwhile, were found to be the biggest inverter suppliers.