The Next Wave of U.S. Utility Solar: Procurement Beyond the RPS

by Colin Smith

Currently, the U.S. has installed 11.6 GW of utility-scale PV, with 80% of that coming from projects procured by utilities to meet state-level Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS) requirements. But with PPA prices now ranging between $40 and $60/MWh, utility PV’s value proposition is evolving beyond simply meeting an RPS obligation.

The three major non-RPS market drivers that are fueling the utility PV pipeline include voluntary utility procurement, retail customer procurement, and qualified facility development enabled through federal legislation called PURPA (Public Utilities Regulatory Policies Act).

States With >50 MWdc Non-RPS Utility PV in Development

Map of States by Non-RPS Utility Solar Driver: Voluntary Procurement, PURPA

With the federal ITC now extended beyond 2016, non-RPS market drivers are expected to drive the majority of utility PV procurement between now and 2020. This slide-based report forecasts the U.S. utility-scale PV market, describes what’s driving the growth across the top state markets, identifies the top developers and offtakers, and outlines the market landscape.

Colin Smith Senior Analyst, Solar

Colin Smith is a Senior Solar Analyst at GTM Research, leading the Utility PV Market Tracker and focusing on development trends in the U.S. utility-scale and commercial PV sectors. Colin has 4 years of experience in the PV sector. He graduated from Queen's University with a B.Sc Honours in Environmental Biology and Sustainability.

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