US community solar to grow to 500 MW in 2020


With major installers like SolarCity joining the market, the signs for community solar in the U.S. are looking good. This has been confirmed today in a new report complied by GTM Research, in which is confirms that 2015 will see 115 MW of community solar installed, with that growing to 500 MW by 2020.

Representing 59% compound annual growth between 2014 and 2020, the power of community solar is demonstrated in the GTM data. Fivefold growth this year is a particularly strong indicator in the strength of the sector.

“Looking ahead to 2020,” said GTM solar analyst Cory Honeyman, “the community solar opportunity is poised to become more geographically diversified, as developers ramp up service offerings to utilities in states without community solar legislation in place and national rooftop solar companies enter the community solar scene.”

With the myriad of state and county regulations pertaining to solar developing in the U.S., it should come as no surprise that community solar development across the country is not uniform. GTM reports that 24 states now sport at least one community solar project, with 20 states currently developing supporting legislation.

Despite this geographic diversity, GTM predicts California, Colorado, Massachusetts and Minnesota will be the four key states for community solar development.

In terms of companies engaging in the sector, GTM concludes that 29 developers are taking the lead, with a collection of pure-play and diversified developers becoming involved. Minnesota in particular has the greatest number of companies active in the community solar space, with a total of 15.

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GTM predicts “a wave of market entry and expansion over the next five years” with companies currently participating in the rooftop sector moving into community PV. These include NRG, SunEdison, and SolarCity – with the latter having announced a 100 MW initiate in Minnesota earlier this week.

The GTM Research U.S. Community Solar Outlook report is available here.

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