Following reductions in feed-in tariffs across Europe, the rapid rise in the photovoltaic project pipeline in the U.S. market now represents one of the most compelling PV market growth opportunities anywhere in the world.
According to the July 2011 edition of the United States Deal Tracker database released by Solarbuzz, the U.S. non-residential Photovoltaic (PV) pipeline now exceeds 17 Gigawatts (GW). This total comprises 601 projects ranging from 50 kilowatts (kW) to 500 Megawatts (MW) in size, with planned installation dates from 2H’11 to 2015. In total, the United States Deal Tracker now lists 1,565 non-residential projects totaling 20.3 GW either installed, being installed or in their development phase since January 1, 2010. In the development phase are projects pre-RFP, going through the RFP process or are planned without RFP.
California currently accounts for 62% of the total U.S. project pipeline, stimulated by the state’s aggressive 33% Renewable Portfolio Standard target. State Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) policies have been a major driver in building the pipeline in leading states. The top six state pipelines in megawatt terms are California, Arizona, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico and Texas while, in total, 40 states contribute to the pipeline.
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 49% of the total pipeline.
The collapse in U.S. factory-gate module prices over the past four months is only now starting to impact large project prices. Installed system prices for planned projects above 1 MW have an average price of US$4.50/W DC. 32% of these projects exhibit prices below US$4.00/W DC.
“With the overall U.S. market size forecast around 2 GW in 2011, there remains significant challenges for the 17 GW in the pipeline,” said Craig Stevens, President, Solarbuzz. “Most notably, these include aligning project structure with financing sources, overcoming regulatory challenges and taking full advantage of recent price movements in the market to procure the best mix of PV system components.”
For those projects in the pipeline that have selected their module suppliers, the top three suppliers in MW terms are First Solar, SunPower Corporation and Suntech Power. The leading inverter suppliers to the pipeline are Advanced Energy and SatCon Technology.
Further Information: Solarbuzz (http://www.solarbuzz.com/)
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