Just three companies First Solar, SunEdison and SunPower account for 44 percent of the operations and maintenance providers in the US according to IHS’s recently released Solar EPC and O&M Providers Report - North America - 2016. The report dives into the currently $300 million—and growing—market to offer insight on O&M for solar projects.
The market is dominated by First Solar, which had 26 percent of the market in 2015, according to the report. SunEdison had another 11 percent of the market while SunPower had 7 percent.
“Each of the top three providers are vertically integrated—from development, to integration, to manufacturing and supply,” observed IHS North America Solar Analyst Camron Barati.
While the three companies have a commanding share of the market, there are numerous opportunities for other companies to pick up some significant market share. “SunEdison’s bankruptcy and the potential sale of its assets in North America could provide opportunity for O&M providers to grow their portfolios,” Barati wrote. SunEdison’s bankruptcy will likely cause some of its assets to go up for auction to interested buyers, presenting opportunity for service contracts to be renegotiated or new providers to step-in.
Another opportunity is the quickly growing nature of the market. The report estimated that O&M for solar will grow to $1 billion in 2020—a tripling of its current value in just four years.
“Leading O&M providers are invested in providing long-term servicing for systems developed in-house and externally, whereas traditional system integrators are more interested in short-term arrangements immediately following project completion,” Barati explained. “Many systems are currently under short-term O&M contracts of one to five years, primarily covering projects through their initial tax equity investment phase.” After that phase, they will enter into long-term ownership when O&M become more important and will require a higher budget to ensure the systems are producing as much energy as possible.
Maintenance providers for large energy generators—those over 75 megawatts connected at one point are required to become NERC certified, according to IHS. Already First Solar, SunEdison and SunPower are certified as are a handful of other but the analytics firm anticipates that more will enter the market.Tweet