Everything is pointing to more record years for the solar industry in the US and across the world. After all the US has more than 10 gigawatts of solar power in development and now, according to the latest research from GTM Research's Utility PV Tracker, 11 states currently have more than 500 megawatts of solar power projects in development and 20 have more than 200 megawatts of solar under development. It’s unprecedented.
The research company reports that during the next five years utility-scale solar power, photovoltaics specifically, will continue to grow, expanding into new state markets and regions. While in the past much growth was attributable to renewable portfolio standards (RPS), that won’t hold true in the near future.
“As RPS-driven demand dips in 2017 and 2018, we will see PUPRA, corporate procurement, and voluntary procurement surge forward as average PPA prices continue to decline, ” said GTM Research solar analyst Colin Smith.
“With power-purchase agreement prices now ranging between $35 per megawatt-hour and $60 per megawatt-hour, voluntary utility procurement, PURPA-driven procurement, and wholesale C&I procurement are expected to collectively drive as much pipeline replenishment as RPS obligations,” Greentech Media Spokesperson Mike Munsell, wrote of the latest figures.
This will expand utility-scale solar beyond states like California, Nevada, Arizona and North Carolina, which have been drivers of rapid solar in recent years. Munsell wrote that states including Texas and South Carolina are expected to become new leaders in utility-scale solar power. “By 2017, Texas alone will consistently represent over 10 percent of annual utility PV installations in the United States,” he said.
"With rates comparable to North Carolina, South Carolina is currently the third-largest PURPA market by megawatts in development," said GTM Research solar analyst Colin Smith. "Many incumbent North Carolina developers have begun development of projects in South Carolina as well."
Already 891 megawatts of PURPA-based solar projects are under development and that’s expected to increase, according to GTM Research. In addition, the company anticipated that the Southeast will drive most voluntarily procured utility-scale solar between 2017 and 2021 as RPS requirements are fulfilled elsewhere.Tweet