Skip to main content

NREL Looks at State of the U.S. Utility-Scale Solar Market in Two New Reports

May 1, 2012

Title: Utility-Scale Concentrating Solar Power and Photovoltaics Projects: A Technology and Market Overview
Authors: Michael Mendelsohn, Travis Lowder, and Brendan Canavan, NREL

Title: Federal and State Structures to Support Financing Utility-Scale Solar Projects and the Business Models Designed to Utilize Them
Authors: Michael Mendelsohn and Claire Kreycik, NREL

Solar energy technologies are being deployed at unprecedented levels, driven in part by strong renewable portfolio standards (RPS) and federal incentives designed to stimulate investment in renewable energy technologies. A recent development is having the power sold directly to electric utilities. Such "utility-scale" systems offer the opportunity to deploy solar technologies far faster than the traditional "behind-the-meter" projects designed to offset retail load. Moreover, these systems have employed significant economies of scale during construction and operation, attracting financial capital, which in turn can reduce the delivered cost of power. This market overview report summarizes the current U.S. utility-scale solar state-of-the-market and development pipeline. The other report provides an overview of RPS policies, as well as the project financial structures they enable, based on industry literature, publicly available data, and questionnaires conducted by NREL.

—Jim Leyshon