Solar power has become the fastest-growing technology in the U.S. energy industry, and will continue to be over the next few years. The U.S utility-scale solar power market has grown during the last three years as a consequence of rising energy prices, volatility of fuel costs, and government incentives for renewable energy. This research service analyzes the U.S utility-scale solar power market along with the investment and installed capacity forecasts. It is supported by identifying the drivers and restraints facing the market. The study is further broken down into photovoltaic system and concentrating solar power system segments.
Solar energy is a source of power that utilizes energy from the sun. The principal forms of solar energy are heat and light.
This research service focuses on solar technology that can be used for electricity generation. The main technologies suited for electricity-generated solar power are PV and CSP.
The PV method is the process of converting energy from sunlight into electricity. A PV system's basic unit is the PV cell, made of semiconductor devices in which electrons are released when light strikes the cell, resulting in a flow of a charge. A group of cells arranged in an interconnecting pattern is called a module.
CSP systems generate power indirectly using lenses or mirrors to concentrate the sun’s energy and convert it into heat, which is channeled through a conventional generator. These plants consist of two parts: one that collects solar energy and converts it to heat, and another that converts the heat energy to electricity.
This research service analyzes the solar power market in the United States for utility-scale applications.
The base year for this study is 2011, and the forecast period is 2012-2016.
This research service analyzes the market share among solar plant developers. It only considers solar power technologies used for power generation and excludes other applications.
Market size is provided in terms of revenue and installed capacity. Revenue figures consider the installation cost of solar plants; installed capacity figures describe the plant nameplate capacity.
Solar PV systems can be classified as crystalline silicon, thin film, and concentrator PV, based on the employed technology.
CSP systems can be classified, based on the solar energy collection method, into four technologies: Parabolic trough, power towers, dish concentrators, and linear fresnel systems.
For this research service, “utility-scale” is defined as projects with more than ?? MW integrated to a utility either by ownership or a power purchase agreement.
According to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, the levelized cost of energy (LCOE) is the cost of generating energy (usually electricity) for a particular system.