Solarbuzz report finds US nonresidential PV project pipeline has surpassed 17GW

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Solarbuzz’s July edition of the United States Deal Tracker has found that US nonresidential PV projects have surpassed 17GW with the 601 projects ranging in size from 50kW to 500MW that will be installed between the second half of 2011 through 2015. Solarbuzz counters that as feed-in-tariffs in Europe have been cut, the PV project pipeline in the US has become of the most promising for growth opportunities in the world.

The United States Deal Tracker lists 1,565 nonresidential projects that amount to 20.3GW; all of which are either installed, being installed or are in a development phase since January 1, 2010. The development phase includes projects that are pre-RFP, going through the RFP process or are planned without RFP.

The state of California leads the way with 62% of the total US project pipeline. Solarbuzz noted that the state’s 33% Renewable Portfolio Standard target has definitely helped pushed California to take the lead while Renewable Portfolio Standard policies  have helped other states such as Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico and Texas take the remaining top six spots , out of 40 states, that have contributed  to the US project pipeline.

“With the overall US market size forecast around 2GW in 2011, there remains significant challenges for the 17GW in the pipeline,” said Craig Stevens, president of Solarbuzz. “Most notably, these include aligning project structure with financing sources, overcoming regulatory challenges and taking full advantage of recent price movements in the market to procure the best mix of PV system components.”

Solarbuzz advised that as US factory-gate module prices have fallen in the last four months, the impacts are just starting to be felt on larger project prices. The database reports that installed system prices for planned project over 1MW have an average price of US$4.50/W DC, with 32% of the projects presenting prices under US$4.00/W DC.

Interestingly, as the nonresidential pipeline continues to move forward and present opportunities for solar developers, the database concluded that the top 12 project developers make up 49% of the total pipeline and that, for those projects that have selected their module suppliers, in MW terms, First Solar, SunPower and Suntech Power lead the pack. Likewise, Advanced Energy and SatCon Technology are featured as the leading inverter suppliers.

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