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Utility-Scale PV O&M Will Surpass 390 GW By 2020

A new report has concluded that the global market for utility-scale solar PV operations and maintenance (O&M) will reach 390 GW by 2020.

According to the new report published by GTM Research and SoliChamba Consulting, utility-scale PV O&M will almost triple the estimated 133 GW expected for the end of 2015.

“Just like the larger PV market, the global PV O&M market has been growing at a fast pace these past few years,” said Cedric Brehaut, author of the report. “And unlike the EPC business, it remains attractive even when new construction slows, as seen in Germany, where the addressable O&M market for megawatt-scale plants exceeds 11 gigawatts in 2015 despite a drop in new megawatt-scale plant activations.”

Scale PV O&M Market in 2015 by Plant Activation Year (Percentage of GW)


With the near-constant growth of renewable energy technologies around the world over the past decade, the O&M market has been growing slowly, limited by existing manufacture warranties and operation and maintenance contracts that were provided as part of the original delivery. With many of these contracts running out, O&M services are set to explode over the next few years, especially in the United States.

The report specifically broke down operations, maintenance, and asset management into three distinct services within the solar industry — though the report’s authors found asset management as a more distinct and separate entity from O&M in most cases. Though, interestingly, the authors found a major decoupling trend between operations and maintenance, nothing that “half of analysed O&M providers reporting different megawatt counts under operations vs. under maintenance.”

“With a single vendor providing both asset management and O&M, there is no duplication of supervision and reporting functions, so arguably this results in lower staffing costs for managing the same asset portfolio,” said Brehaut. “But there are real risks that a ‘one-stop shop’ provider may not defend the interests of the owner as fiercely as would an independent asset manager.”

The report comes almost exactly a year after GTM and SoliChamba’s 2014 solar PV O&M report, which predicted the market would reach 230 GW by 2018.

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