The global solar PV pipeline now exceeds 200 GW, according to new figures released by IHS.
As one of the leading sources of solar analysis, IHS published the latest edition of its Solar Deal Tracker this week, in which it finds that the global solar PV pipeline has now exceeded 200 GW, thanks in large part to the extension of the US Investment Tax Credit. The US leads with the most amount of projects in its PV pipeline, and together with China and Brazil, make up 110 GW, or half of the current global PV pipeline.
“A large share of the planned projects is still immature, with developers scouting for tenders and other opportunities to sign power-purchase agreements,” said Josefin Berg senior analyst for IHS Technology. “The previous panic to complete project phases ahead of schedule has reverted to a development pipeline responding to demand and contract fulfilment.”
The US had a bumper 2015, unsurprisingly, given most investors and developers assumed that the US Congress would not extend the valuable Investment Tax Credit. According to IHS, 16 GW of new projects entered the US solar PV pipeline in 2015, while at the same time, 10 GW of tracked projects exited the pipeline, i.e., were installed or entered construction.
Those projects in early-stage development which had previously been racing to complete development and break ground so as to apply for the Investment Tax Credit have now relaxed their schedules, and now need only enter into construction by 2019 to benefit from the 30% credit.
“We expected to see some hectic activity from late-coming developers in 2016; however after the ITC extension, developers have calmed down,” said Christine Beadle, senior analyst at IHS Technology.
On the flipside is the United Kingdom, which has seen its pipeline of pre-construction projects decrease by more than 4 GW in 2015 as many developers await the expiration of the Renewables Obligation Certificates scheme in April.
IHS also expects economies of scale and “an inclination for oversized projects” to increase the average system size of PV projects in the future. According to the Solar Deal Tracker, two thirds of the current global PV pipeline capacity are projects over 50 MW in size, with developers in both the US and China targeting economies of scale by implementing large projects in areas with abundant land.
“Among the markets with the largest pipelines, only Brazil prefers the more modest system size of 30 megawatts, as a result of regulation; however, Brazilian developers are bundling projects to reduce costs,” Berg added.