This week pv magazine uncovered a figure that says a lot about where the U.S. market is at. According to GTM Research, there are currently more than 10 GW of utility-scale solar projects under construction in the United States, including over 1 GW in California and New York, and over 400 MW in six other states.
This boom comes amid complicated times for the solar industry. As explored in a piece by new pv magazine writer Frank Andorka, the global collapse in PV module prices is having impacts across the industry, with many reminded of the crash in 2011 and 2012.
As evidence of the stress put on producers, late last week Mission Solar Energy quietly informed workers that it plans to close both of the cell lines at its Texas factory, and begin sourcing cells from Asia while focusing on module production. The move will affect 87 workers.
All of this is happening as Americans from all walks of life are becoming more and more interested in solar. At his South by South Lawn event at the White House, President Obama touted his administrations success with solar and stressed the importance of battery R&D, while a new poll revealed that 2 in 5 homeowners say that they have considered installing solar.
This week also saw one of the largest project-level capital raises in the U.S. solar industry to date, with sPower raising $786 million in debt and tax equity to support 339 MW-DC of solar in California.