The One Chart That Shows Why 2014 Was a Breakthrough Year for Utility-Scale Solar in America

2014_PPA_Prices_Utility-Scale_SolarAnd another chart that shows how things could pivot the other direction very quickly.

Over the next two years, America will build roughly 13 gigawatts of utility-scale solar PV plants. When up and running, those projects will surpass the country’s cumulative solar capacity across all sectors reached at the end of 2013.

Why such a big surge in utility-scale solar after a brief slowdown in the project pipeline?

The answer is price.

Utilities are now able to consistently buy solar electricity from large plants for between 4.5 cents and 7.5 cents per kilowatt-hour, as shown by GTM Research data below.

Between 2008 and 2010, when America saw its first surge of utility-scale PV construction, power-purchase agreements were consistently priced at double or triple those prices (or even more).

 




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