Utility-scale PV O&M market to hit 182 GW by end of year

Considering that utility-scale solar PV was almost non-existent seven years ago, the growth trajectory of large-scale solar has been nothing short of meteoric. In fact, new research suggests that there will be 182 GW of installed utility-scale PV by the end of the year, which also means that the O&M market for those systems has also shot up.

A new report from GTM Research and SoliChamba Consulting, Megawatt Scale PV O&M and Asset Management 2016-2021, expects that the global addressable market for large-scale PV O&M and asset management will reach 182 GW by the end of 2016. If this is indeed the case, this will mean a 54% annual increase in PV deployment over the course of this year.

To put the speed of utility-scale deployment into perspective, just 5% of total installed utility-scale solar in the world total was operational five years ago. And according to the new report, there are a number of companies taking advantage of this trend, by offering O&M services for the projects. Of the 66 companies across 14 markets that were profiled, the two biggest players in the market were First Solar and SOLV, although First Solar is active across the global, while SOLV, a division of Swinerton Renewable Energy, is only active in the U.S.

The report put this rise mainly down to huge new markets developing, especially in China, India and the U.S., who it also expects to be the drivers of further utility-scale deployment in the future.

“New construction markets like the U.S. and India feature large plant sizes and consolidated ownership landscapes that result in very large portfolio sizes,” commented lead author of the report Cedric Brehaut. “At the same time, portfolios are consolidating in mature markets like Italy and, to a lesser degree, Germany. This results in no less than 20 owners globally (excluding China) that own a net capacity of at least 500 MW each.”

The report also considered the future for utility-scale solar, which, aside from the coming year, looks good. A slow-down in deployment is expected for 2017, due to China’s reduction of its solar goals, but then after that, GTM and SoliChamba expect another surge in utility-scale PV, which they forecast will reach 439 GW by 2021. This will be driven by China, India and the U.S.