Navigant: Total capacity of installed U.S. community solar to be 1.5 GW by 2020

Thursday April 21, 2016 0 comments Tags: Boulder, Navigant Research, Roberto Labastida, Community Solar

BOULDER -- The total installed capacity for community solar programs in the U.S. is expected to be 1.5 GW by 2020 and represent a $2.5 billion market, according to a new report from Navigant Research.

Navigant said the report explores the community solar market in the United States with a focus on technology and policy trends, customer adoption, utility rollouts, and the vendor landscape, through 2025.

Utilities across the U.S. have been deploying community solar programs since 2010, offering solar energy to residential and commercial users in multi-story buildings and those without an adequate roof to support solar electricity generation.NavigantNEWlogoUSE

Navigant saidcCommunity solar is enabled by virtual net metering, which allows consumers to offset part or all of their electricity bills with the electricity produced by the solar project. 

“Customers benefit from a solar project that is hosted outside the utility’s premises but utilizes its transmission and distribution infrastructure,” said Roberto Rodriguez Labastida, Navigant senior research analyst.

“At the same time, utilities improve customer satisfaction and limit the economic and technical impact that rooftop solar generation can have on their business.”

A number of drivers, including lower system cost and sustained demand for clean energy in the residential and commercial sector, create potential for community solar to capture two percent of the solar market, according to the report.

But the resulting decrease in utility control and increase in retail competition will require a rethinking of current utility business models and their electricity generation mix, the report says.

The report, Community Solar and Virtual Net Metering, examines the community solar market in the United States, with a focus on technology and policy trends, customer adoption, utility rollouts, and the vendor landscape.

Cost curve projections and adoption forecasts are provided through 2025, along with estimated capacity distribution by U.S. state.

The report also examines implications for traditional utility business models, provides utility case studies, and offers strategic recommendations for industry stakeholders to position for long-term success.

An Executive Summary of the report is available for free download on the Navigant Research website.