US investors, led by Tesla/SolarCity, dominate list of non-Chinese solar PV asset owners

The global PV investor landscape is, like much of the solar industry, dominated by China, but a recent report looking at leading solar investors outside of China has found that it is U.S. firms that lead the best-of-the-rest field.

The GTM Research report, conducted in collaboration with Solichamba, has found that eight out of the top 11 investors in solar PV assets are American, and so too are 17 of the top 25.

Titled the Solar PV Asset Management 2017-2022 report, the analysis looked at 198 global investors and found that those top 11 each have more than 1 GW of solar capacity on their books, managing an aggregated total of 15.8 GW of operational PV.

Remarkably, stated the report, the leading solar asset owner is Tesla/SolarCity – a noteworthy feat given that the firm only deals in distributed generation. The majority of other leading PV asset investors tend to specialize in the development and acquisition of utility-scale solar. Seven of the top 11 firms are independent power producers (IPPs) or utilities, the report showed.

After Tesla/SolarCity, NextEra Energy Resources is the second-largest solar asset owner with 2.5 GW of operational PV capacity under its ownership. According to the report, more than half of that 2.5 GW figure was added last year alone. If the 0.2 GW of PV capacity owned by the company’s yieldco NextEra Energy Partners is added to its overall capacity, then the IPP would leapfrog Tesla/SolarCity and place as the world’s largest non-Chinese solar asset investor.

The report also showed that there are five third-party asset owners that manage GW-scale solar portfolios, led by pure-play service provider Qintas Energy, which has grown its portfolio tenfold in 2016. Placing second and third respectively among third-party asset owners are WiseEnergy and Vector Cuatro.

Another growth area highlighted in the GTM Report is the rise of the asset management software market. 3megawatt is a clear market leader here, controlling 8.4 GW of installed solar assets.

Additional noteworthy figures published in the report reveal that 55 GW of net operational solar PV capacity is controlled by 198 investors, while 46 third-part asset managers provide services to 17.6 GW of installed PV.