Community solar market expected to grow by 7 GW by 2027 – pv magazine USA
State-level politics fueled growth, and pending legislation for community solar programs in five states could add another 1.2GW, Wood Mackenzie says
The community solar market in the United States will add at least 7 GWdc to existing markets over the next five years, according to a recent report by Wood Mackenzie and the Coalition for Community Solar Access (CCSA).
“There continues to be significant tailwinds for the community solar industry as legislators in existing and new states look to community solar as a means to achieve energy policy goals,” said Jeff Cramer, CEO of CCSA. “The figures released by Wood Mackenzie represent a cautious forecast of what is in store for the next few years. We call on all federal and state policymakers to help remove barriers and encourage the deployment of community solar energy to reduce energy costs and give more people access to these programs.
With the addition of new community solar markets, including New Mexico and Delaware, Wood Mackenzie has increased its 2022-2026 forecast to 477 MW direct current (MWCC), an 11% increase from previous forecasts and extended its outlook to 2027. In addition, state-level programs have been expanded and rules updated, resulting in more markets solid. Illinois and New York, for example, are expected to see the biggest changes at the state level. New York is expected to continue to be the top community solar market, with 1.3 GWCC going live between 2022 and 2027. Other states with pending legislation include California, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.
“The community solar industry is a growing solar segment in the United States, with several new proposed programs pending in state legislatures. Since the start of Q2 2022, 4.4 GWCChas been installed nationwide and we expect further growth over the next five years as traditional markets expand their community solar programs and new states adopt community solar programs,” said Rachel Goldstein, analyst of solar research in the United States for Wood Mackenzie.
Wood Mackenzie and CCSA collected customer acquisition cost data for the U.S. community solar market and found that large customer acquisition costs are lower, but more variable, per watt than customer acquisition costs. for residential customers.
“Customer acquisition data shows that cost per customer is inversely correlated to cost per kilowatt subscribed. Anchor tenants like municipal or large commercial customers are expensive to acquire, but underwrite a large portion of projects, so costs per kilowatt are lower,” Goldstein said.
Survey data on acquisition costs for low- and middle-income (LMI) customers is limited, but shows that these costs are slightly higher than for non-LMI customers. The developers report that direct-billed LMI customers can be much harder and more expensive to subscribe than residential customers.
The report findings also highlighted that community solar plus storage can provide grid flexibility, but regulatory models currently do not recognize how these projects can handle load.
“As community solar becomes a growing share of non-residential projects, developers face high grid upgrade costs to handle this new load on the distribution side of the grid. More community solar storage could help manage that load and provide network flexibility, but so far its scope is limited to a few states, and current rules don’t necessarily value storage for its network resiliency capabilities,” Goldstein said.
Community solar is up in about a third of the states. Community solar programs have steadily increased in Massachusetts in recent years. A comprehensive guide run by the state’s Clean Energy Center can be found here. While New York is a recognized leader in community solar in the United States, cross the line of 1 GW of cumulative installations at the beginning of this year, the State The Value of Distributed Energy Resources program will help co-locate community solar power with storage.
In New Mexico, the Public Regulatory Commission (PRC) formally passed rules in June 2022 to implement a community solar program in the state. While Delaware approved community solar power in 2010, it saw little growth until 2021, when Governor Carney signed into law a bill to expand access to community solar projects, while reducing some obstacles blocking the implementation and completion of projects. And in California, nNew regulatory proposals could help the state deal with potential new net metering rules while providing financial benefits to community solar-plus-storage projects. The Biden administration wants community solar power to reach 5 million homes by 2025 and create $1 billion in savings on energy bills.
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