O&M market for ‘megawatt scale’ PV projects will triple by 2017: GTM Research

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The operations and maintenance (O&M) market for megawatt-scale PV plants will total 146GW by 2017, according to GTM Research.

A new report by the firm asserts that the market will triple in size, with Europe currently leading by market share but with markets in the Asia-Pacific region expected to see the most expansion in the next four years.

The report, ‘Megawatt-Scale PV Plant Operations and Maintenance: Services, Markets and Competitors 2013-2017’ was authored by consultant Cedric Brehaut, who first joined the solar industry in 2007 as director of product management at SunEdison.

Brehaut, currently a principal at SoliChamba Consulting, said: “In countries where new construction activity remains high or growing, little consideration is given to O&M as a standalone business. The market tends to treat it as an extension of project development, EPC, or IPP activities”.

However in markets where new construction of utility-scale PV projects larger than a megawatt is decreasing or low, the report Research argues that O&M is turned to as a steady source of income. It highlights the US as a market where this has occurred relatively quickly, with independent O&M firms emerging despite the continuing construction of large-scale power plants. 

The report claims that pricing and service vary greatly from region to region, with prices likely to reflect the relative market value of the PV industry in any given area. For example, between low price markets such as the US and high price markets such as Italy, there is as much as 100% variation on price for O&M services.   

Brehaut’s report details operations and maintenance service levels and price ranges for six countries– Germany, Italy, Spain, France, the UK and the US – identified by GTM Research as “key PV countries”. The report also includes an overview of emerging markets in Japan, China and India, with analysis of competitive landscape, market size and forecasts for all nine selected countries.

Each section for the six key countries selected features an assessment of the O&M market in 2013 in gigawatts by year of plant activation, followed by forecasts to 2017, a rundown of the top O&M providers and the cumulative capacity of O&M each is responsible for, in megawatts. The report also analyses service levels and details O&M costs for megawatt-scale plants in each region. Sections on the three selected emerging markets feature forecasts to 2017 in gigawatts, by year of plant activation.

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