Solar Power Bright Spot In US Renewables

Solar is growing slowly in the U.S., thanks to a slow economic recovery and the potential non-extension of government rebates–but with over 5 GW of power purchase agreements (PPAs) currently under contract, U.S. utilities are becoming a key driver of growth for the global photovoltaic industry, according to a new report from GTM Research entitled The U.S. Utility PV Market: Demand, Players, Strategy and Project Economics Through 2015.

Driven largely by state renewable portfolio standards (RPS), utility companies are signing more and more power purchase agreements (PPAs) with companies like First Solar (which holds more than 40% of all contracted PPA capacity in development nationwide) as well as SunPower, Sempra Generation, LS Power and SunEdison.

solar panels

image via HyperSolar

The report also shows that the looming and global players in the photovoltaic solar market appear to be shifting their sights from saturated European feed-in tariff markets to the big potential of the nascent U.S. solar market. Hence the foreign-based runners up in the U.S. solar market–Iberdrola Renewables and juwi solar–and multinationals like Sharp, Solyndra, and GCL Solar.

According to Shayle Kann, the report’s author and GTM Research’s Managing Director of Solar Research, utility solar power generation in the U.S. is a $1 billion market in 2010 and is projected to reach $8 billion by 2015.

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Susan DeFreitas has covered all manner of green technology for EarthTechling since 2009. She is a graduate of Prescott College for the Liberal Arts and the Environment, and has a background in marketing green businesses. Her work on green living has been featured in Yes! Magazine, the Utne Reader and Natural Home.