Australia’s PV industry can now add solar carports to its list of non-residential solar sectors that are yet to take off in this country, as analysts in the US herald another record year in the burgeoning market – the fourth consecutive year, in fact, that over 100MW of solar carports would be installed in the US.
According to a new report from Greentech Media Research, US Solar Carport Market 2014-2018: Landscape, Outlook and Leading Companies, America is forecast to add more than 180MW of solar carports in 2014, up from 157MW in 2013, and could be worth nearly $850 million in the space of just two years.
Historically seen as a niche market, GTM attributes recent growth in the US carport solar market to falling system prices as well as a shift in the value proposition of these types of installations, as educational, government, and non-profit customers target savings on electricity bills.
“With the average system price of solar carports continuing to fall, commercial solar developers can offer increased value to customers in the form of larger project sizes and greater electricity savings,” said Scott Moskowitz, author of the report.
Developers have used this tactic, Moskowitz notes, exploiting state-level incentives to grow the market at a CAGR of 45 per cent from 2010 to 2014.
While the report noted that California has historically represented more than half of the national market for solar carports, it also stated that new east coast destinations are cropping up. GTM expects that continued growth in California, New Jersey and Arizona will help boost the total value of the market to $843 million in 2016.
But the Americans aren’t the only ones to have cottoned on to the benefits of combining parking structures with power plants.
In not-so sunny Switzerland, transport and logistics firm Galliker Transport recently installed a massive 2721-module grid-connected rooftop system that shelters 2000 cars while producing 544,900 kWh of electricity – nearly 720 MWh in its first full year of operation – enough to cover 100% of the energy needs of the building.
As reported here on Monday, the project was also financed by the Galliker Company, “who saw the solar structure as a good investment despite not having any special rebates or feed-in tariffs to take advantage of.”
Back in the US, Moskowitz notes, “the vendor and developer landscape for PV carports is growing more complex as companies optimize their strategy to meet a challenging pricing environment.”
In general, he says, developers are moving away from vertical integration to tap into lower cost structural suppliers and vendors are increasing their scope of services to combat falling pricing.
he grid-connected rooftop system that measures over 5100 square meters includes 2721 monocrystalline modules, both 255W and 300W connected to SolarMax string inverters.
The project was financed by the Galliker Company who saw the solar structure as a good investment despite not having any special rebates or feed-in tariffs to take advantage of.
What may be Switzerland’s largest solar carport produced nearly 720 MWh in its first full year of operation, able to cover 100% of the energy needs of the building. The installation produces 544,900 kWh, an output that exceeded the predicted production by 10%.
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