The solar photovoltaic project order backlog for the U.S. market has now soared past 12 GW, according to the latest edition of the Solarbuzz United States Deal Tracker report.
Although the PV industry is facing the effects of large cuts in feed-in tariffs across Europe, the order backlog in the U.S. confirms that the country will be one of the most promising growth markets over the next 24 months, Solarbuzz says. The U.S. market doubled in size in 2010 and is forecast to do so again this year.
The April edition of the report logs over 375 nonresidential projects in the U.S. project pipeline being planned or going through a request for proposal process. It also includes an additional 775 projects that total 0.7 GW of PV systems either installed or being installed since Jan. 1, 2010.
Nonresidential PV systems in the US market range from just 50 kW up to hundreds of megawatts. Even with the growing utility presence in the market, the corporate and government sub-segments still have 76% of the completed projects since Jan. 1, 2010, Solarbuzz says.
Utility-scale projects under development are found in 29 states, but four states account for 80% of this total (measured in MW). This segment is increasingly being serviced by specialist project developers, but also directly by major cell and module manufacturers acting in that role. The top 10 developers account for 57% of the utility pipeline in megawatt terms.
‘The nonresidential segment has traditionally been driven by corporate and government customers,’ says Craig Stevens, president of Solarbuzz. ‘As renewable portfolio standards take effect, utilities have become a key driver of medium-term market growth."
The top 10 states for non-residential PV projects are California, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Arizona, Texas, Colorado, North Carolina, Nevada and Florida, according to the report.
Over 260 different installation companies are servicing the identified 1,150 nonresidential projects that buy their modules either directly from manufacturers or through distributors. First Solar, Suntech Power, Sharp, Yingli Green Energy and SolarWorld are the most represented module manufacturers in this segment.
The installed system pricing data shows that the largest US projects are now being completed in the range of $3 to 4 per watt DC. The reduction in nonresidential PV system prices is key to stimulating US market growth.