US project developers take the lead on global utility-scale solar capacity

Wiki-Solar | 17th March 2015 — US companies occupy four of the top five places for developing utility-scale solar projects, according to figures released by authority Wiki-Solar[dot]org.

When the top-ten developers list was last published in mid-2013, First Solar – which topped the list by a substantial margin on both occasions – was the only US participant.

Now 7 of the top-ten are American. “It is no surprise that US companies are reaping the rewards of high growth in their home market”, says Wiki-Solar founder Philip Wolfe. “But the list also shows that Germany, with three in the top fifteen, is retaining some ‘early-mover advantage’. German companies have developed 14% of the global capacity – though less than 10% of world installations are in their home market. The equivalent figures for US companies are 32% vs 26%; and for Chinese developers 21% vs 24%.”

The cumulative installed capacity of utility-scale power plants for the leading project developers at the end of 2014 was:

1. First Solar (U.S.), 2,572.7 MW
2. SunEdison (U.S.), 860.6 MW
3. 8minutenergy (U.S.), 685.0 MW
4. China Power Investment (China), 649.6 MW
5. Recurrent Energy — Now part of: Canadian Solar (U.S.), 532.6 MW
6. Activ Solar (Austria), 468.8 MW
7. juwi Solar (Germany), 449.1 MW
8. Sempra Energy (U.S.), 335.0 MW
9. Strata Solar (U.S.), 326.9 MW
10. NRG Energy (U.S.), 307.4 MW

Project developers are identified against 74.4% of the operating capacity on the Wiki-Solar Database (of which these top 15 account for 23.8%). The total capacity for Project developers listed may therefore be on average up to 25% above that identified here.

The project developer is the party which initiates a new solar power project, finds the finance, and appoints an EPC contractor to build the plant. Some developers then stay involved – and will appear again when Wiki-Solar publishes the list of top asset owners early next month; others sell out and move on.

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