The utility solar PV market is in the beginning stages of a major technology shift. While most utility solar installations today use 1,000-volt components, GTM Research anticipates an imminent transition to 1,500-volt PV systems. According to its latest report, 1,500-Volt PV Systems and Components 2016-2020: Costs, Vendors and Forecasts, 1,500-volt systems will make up 9 percent of worldwide utility solar installations in 2016, accounting for 4.6 GW of demand.  

According to the report, raising DC voltage to 1,500 volts can increase individual component costs by up to 40 percent, but reduce the overall system cost through the need for fewer balance-of-system components and lower installation labor requirements.

PV modules and inverters have been the least readily available 1,500-volt components, though this is rapidly changing with growing market demand and the evolution of 1,500-volt module standards.

“Supply-chain constraints and certification limitations for 1,500-volt PV components have been the most significant obstacles to date for 1,500-volt systems,” said Scott Moskowitz, analyst and author of the report. “However, these barriers have quickly dissolved, laying the groundwork for a market that will increasingly be made up of higher-voltage systems.”

FIGURE: Global Landscape of Announced 1,500-Volt Components, January 2016

1,500-Volt PV Systems and Components 2016-2020

While the United States will lead on 1,500-volt PV installations in the near term as developers execute on a large utility-scale pipeline stemming from the extension of the 30 percent federal Investment Tax Credit, markets in the Asia-Pacific region are expected to represent the largest opportunity by 2020.


This new report from GTM Research provides a detailed forecast by geography and outlines the vendor landscape and supply chain of the 1,500 volt market. Learn more here.