Large cuts in solar photovoltaic (PV) module prices over the summer have launched a boom in solar project development activity across the U.S. According to the United States Deal Tracker database released by Solarbuzz, the pipeline of U.S. non-residential PV projects has increased from 17 gigawatts (GW) to 24 GW in just the past two months. Utility-driven projects are now being developed in 35 states, while other non-residential projects below 1 MW remain an important segment of the market.
The database identifies projects either installed, being installed or going through the “request for proposals” process since January 1, 2010. In terms of megawatts in the pipeline, the top six states are California, Arizona, Nevada, Texas, New Jersey, and New Mexico, with 44 states contributing. Due to the state’s aggressive 33% Renewable Portfolio Standard, plus the recent reallocation of several utility-scale projects from concentrating solar power (CSP) to PV, California currently accounts for 61% of the total U.S. project pipeline.
The growing non-residential segment has created enormous opportunities for large project developers and engineering, procurement and construction companies to join the PV market. The top 12 project developers currently account for just over half of the total pipeline. In terms of equipment, the top three module suppliers are First Solar, SunPower Corporation, and Suntech Power. Yingli Green, Sharp and SolarWorld are also increasing their presence in non-residential projects.
Advanced Energy and SatCon Technology continue to be the leading inverter suppliers in this segment.