Photovoltaic technique harnesses solar energy and transforms it directly into electricity by using semiconductor material that exhibits photovoltaic effect. Solar PV is the third-most vital renewable energy source after wind and hydropower in terms of global installed capacity. Financial incentives, preferential net metering, and feed-in-tariffs metering are anticipated to bolster solar PV installations in the developing as well as developed countries. PV applications include commercial, residential, industrial, and utility-scale power plants. Stable government incentive policies pertaining to the solar energy industry are playing a pivotal role in driving the ground mount PV utility market in North America.
Governments in North America invest large funds in utility-scale solar PV plants and over a period of time, these investments have only been increasing. Tax incentives coupled with stimulus funded by the government have ramped up the installations of utility-scale solar PV plants in the North American countries. Particularly the U.S. individual states in the country have also played a key role in increasing the adoption of renewables, including solar through the renewable portfolio standards (RPS). Additionally, financial incentives in the form of rebates and tax credits and exemptions are also being provided by the states, which would boost growth in the utility-scale solar PV industry.
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The renewable energy sector in North America has witnessed a remarkable growth in the recent years. The declining costs of solar PV projects have fueled the number of ground mount installations in the region. The fall in the overall prices of solar PVs has successively condensed the levelized cost of electricity (LCOE) production, which has further augmented the number of ground mount installations. Ever-increasing market competition has also played an important role in defining the cost of the overall ground mount projects. Sluggish growth in Europe has also given a reinforced the ground mount PV utility market in North America. A large number of European companies are now shifting their attention towards the North American market.
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For this market study, the ground mount PV utility market has been segmented based on the installation type into pile mount, pole mount, and others. While small-scale solar PV systems are still most commonly found in the residential, commercial, and industrial applications, utility-scale ground mount projects are scaling up. Pile mount systems occupied the highest market share in terms of installations. It is expected to continue to dominate the market over the forecast period. Pole mount installations are expected to become more common in the near future. Industry drivers such as reducing prices of PV modules, decreasing project costs, government schemes such as RPS, and increasing economies of scale of utility-scale projects are creating demand for ground mount PV utility.
Country-wise, the ground mount PV utility market in North America has been segmented into the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. The cumulative installations of utility-scale projects in the U.S. were estimated to be about 8 GW by 2014. Utility-scale projects accounted for about 5% of the total solar PV installations in 2008 and increased to nearly 55% by 2013. The utility-scale projects are increasingly becoming economically-sound in comparison to other renewables including wind power, particularly in the desert southwest and California in the U.S. This is anticipated to fuel additional growth in the ground mount PV utility market in North America. Canada’s solar industry is growing at a rapid pace as there is an increase in solar PV installations and reduction in costs. The financial supportive schemes at various levels provided by the government for the development of both solar PV and ground mount projects is likely to result in higher market growth for ground mount solar PV utility in Canada.
Key participants in the ground mount PV utility market in North America include Andalay Solar, Inc., First Solar, Haticon Solar, LLC, NextEra Energy Resources, LLC, SolarCity Corporation, SunEdison, Inc., SunLink Corporation, SunPower Corporation, and Unirac Incorporated. This report provides an overview of these companies, followed by their financial revenues, business strategies, and recent developments.