Berkeley Lab’s Newest “Utility-Scale Photo voltaic” Report Analyzes Document Deployment & Larger Worth in 2021

We’re happy to launch the 2022 version of Berkeley Lab’s Utility-Scale Solar report, which presents evaluation of empirical plant-level knowledge from the U.S. fleet of ground-mounted photovoltaic (PV), PV+battery, and concentrating solar-thermal energy (CSP) crops with capacities exceeding 5 MWAC. Whereas centered on key developments in 2021, this report explores tendencies in deployment, expertise, capital and working prices, capability elements, the levelized value of photo voltaic power (LCOE), energy buy settlement (PPA) costs, and wholesale market worth among the many fleet of utility-scale photo voltaic (and PV+battery) crops in the US.

The report, printed in slide-deck format, is accompanied by a story abstract briefing, interactive knowledge visualizations, and a public knowledge file, all accessible by way of the hyperlink above. The authors will host a free webinar summarizing key findings from the report on September 28, 2022, at 10:00 AM PT/1:00 PM ET. Please register for the webinar right here:

The next are just a few key findings from the newest version of the report.

A file quantity of recent utility-scale PV capability achieved industrial operations in 2021. Annual capability additions of 12.5 GWAC introduced cumulative put in capability to 51.3 GWAC throughout 44 states (see map beneath). Texas (3.9 GWAC) added by far probably the most new capability in 2021, adopted by California (1.2 GWAC), Florida (1.1 GWAC), and Virginia and Georgia (each with 0.9 GWAC).

Single-axis monitoring is the dominant mount kind. 90% of all new utility-scale PV capability added in 2021 makes use of single-axis monitoring, with the rest mounted at a set tilt.

Regardless of rising inflationary pressures, put in prices fell in 2021. Median put in prices declined to $1.35/WAC (or $1.0/WDC) based mostly on a 5.4 GWAC pattern of 62 crops accomplished in 2021, and have fallen by greater than 75% (averaging 10% yearly) since 2010. The bottom-cost 20th percentile of crops in our 2021 pattern value $1.1/WAC ($0.8/WDC) or much less.

Plant-level capability elements differ extensively, from 9% to 35% (on an AC foundation), with a pattern median of 24%. The excessive diploma of plant-level variation is predicated on various elements, together with insolation, monitoring vs. fixed-tilt mounts, inverter loading ratios, efficiency degradation, and curtailment.

Utility-scale PV’s LCOE fell to $33/MWh on common in 2021. The common LCOE has fallen by about 85% (averaging 16% yearly) since 2010, pushed by decrease capital prices and enhancing capability elements (in addition to different elements).

PPA costs from a pattern of contracts signed in 2021 common $23/MWh (levelized, in 2021 {dollars}). PPA costs, which replicate receipt of the federal funding tax credit score (ITC), have largely adopted the decline in photo voltaic’s LCOE over time, however since 2019 have stagnated and even elevated barely (see graph beneath).

Rising wholesale electrical energy costs boosted photo voltaic’s market worth by 50% on common in 2021, to $47/MWh. This enhance in photo voltaic’s mixed power and capability worth outpaced the more-modest rise in PPA costs, thereby enhancing photo voltaic’s competitiveness (see graph beneath).

Photo voltaic’s market worth additionally exceeded common electrical energy costs in most areas in 2021. Exceptions embody ERCOT, CAISO, Nevada Energy, and ISO-NE. In comparison with 2020, nonetheless, photo voltaic’s relative worth versus a “flat block of energy” contracted in 13 of the 17 areas analyzed.

2021 was additionally a file 12 months for PV+battery hybrid crops. Including battery storage to shift a portion of extra mid-day photo voltaic era into night hours is one option to enhance the worth of photo voltaic. These PV+battery hybrid tasks have gotten more and more widespread, notably in higher-penetration markets. In 2021, 47 PV+battery hybrid crops totaling 3.5 GWAC of PV and a couple of.2 GW / 6.9 GWh of battery storage achieved industrial operations, whereas many extra hybrids entered the event pipeline. The report presents plant metadata, together with put in prices and PPA costs, from a subset of those on-line and in-development PV+battery hybrids.

An enormous pipeline of utility-scale photo voltaic crops dominate the interconnection queues throughout the nation. Trying forward, a minimum of 674 GW of photo voltaic capability was within the nation’s interconnection queues on the finish of 2021. Practically 284 GW, or 42%, of that complete was paired with a battery.

All the knowledge and evaluation introduced on this 2022 version of Utility-Scale Photo voltaic (hyperlink is exterior) pre-dates the passage of the Inflation Discount Act of 2022. This new legislation, with its many incentives aimed toward stimulating clear power deployment, is more likely to have a big influence on the utility-scale photo voltaic market in future years, doubtlessly accelerating some tendencies and slowing others, whereas additionally creating new developments altogether. We sit up for monitoring the business’s progress in future editions of this report.

We respect the funding assist of the U.S. Division of Power Photo voltaic Power Applied sciences Workplace in making this work attainable.

Article courtesy of Berkeley Lab. By Rebecca Martineau


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