OT: US Solar Carport Market Poised for Record Year, Continued Growth
Mike Munsell August 13, 2014
The U.S. carport market has emerged as a substantial component of the U.S. solar industry.
According to the latest report from GTM Research, U.S. Solar Carport Market 2014-2018: Landscape, Outlook and Leading Companies, the U.S. is forecasted to add more than 180 megawatts of solar carports in 2014, making it the fourth consecutive year with more than 100 megawatts installed.
“The U.S. solar carport market has historically been driven by solar incentives dedicated to government and educational entities coupled with physical and regulatory limitations for rooftop systems for these customers,” said report author Scott Moskowitz. “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.”
The report notes that solar carport installations in California have historically represented more than half of the national market, with lower penetration levels nationwide. While California will continue to anchor the national market, new state markets on the East Coast are emerging despite higher costs. GTM Research expects continued growth in California, along with market recoveries in Arizona and New Jersey, to drive the market value of solar carports to $843 million in 2016.
The promising market opportunity has led to an increasingly crowded U.S. solar carport vendor landscape, with pure-play carport manufacturers and vertically integrated developers competing with new entrants from traditional PV mounting solution suppliers.
“The vendor and developer landscape for PV carports is growing more complex as companies optimize their strategies to meet a challenging pricing environment,” noted Moskowitz. “In general, 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.”
While it it still a dream to think that most of our power needs can come from solar PV, the idea of using solar carports and requiring (via building codes) big box stores/warehouses to add some percentage of roof SF'age to be supplied with PV can certainly go a very long way to meeting the local car charging and electrical needs with PV.
PV is slow to add the gigawatts necessary to meet demand, but it will be one of the best ways to do so as time goes by. Low profile, quiet, long-lasting, reasonably environmentally friendly, recyclable and inexpensive over the long run. The solar carport idea works very well with the commuter EV approach.
"While it it still a dream to think that most of our power needs can come from solar PV..."
The experience in Hawaii shows that in the existing build environment, the capacity on the grid for distributed PV without any form of storage is at about 5% of our total power needs. Updating the build environment (more robust smart-grid and more flexible centralized generations) would up that a lot, to perhaps 1/3 of total power, but with a replacement time of many decades this will not happen very quickly. Adding even a small amount of storage (electrical and/or thermal) plus demand response, could increase the maximum by a similar amount even without much change to the build environment.
" The solar carport idea works very well with the commuter EV approach."
Should people choose to go that way, according to the GTM report, there is more than enough growth in solar carports being built to charge all plug in vehicles being sold.
People here in LV are starting to revolt against being the non-owners of solar systems. They pay for the grid via their electric rates and people who push in power during the day and draw at night for a zero usage are not paying. So since less people use the system on a net basis, those that do have to pay the tariff. So there is a proposal to raise the connectivity fee 25% and keep the rates low.