The adoption of utility-scale photovoltaic (PV) and concentrating solar power (CSP) plants in the United States is expected to accelerate during the next decade. The presence of high solar irradiance, along with continuous pressure from the government to implement renewable energy technologies, fuels demand for solar projects.
As solar energy competes with conventional forms of electricity generation, the potential market for utility-scale solar power plants in the country is on the rise. Cumulative PV solar installations in the United States reached 1,855 megawatts (MW), with the utility-scale segment accounting for 32.2 percent. Lower solar module prices have led developers of utility-scale applications, such as the Blythe solar power project in California, to opt for PV technologies over CSP.
“Though no new CSP plants were installed in the United States during 2011, projects totaling more than 1.4 gigawatts were under construction,” said Frost and Sullivan Senior Industry Analyst Georgina Benedetti. “These projects in the CSP segment are likely to speed up overall market growth.”
Expediting solar installations are renewable portfolio standards (RPS), which mandate electricity supply companies to produce a specified fraction of their electricity from renewable energy sources. A few states require some portion of the RPS to come from solar resources. Federal incentives such as investment tax credits and loan programs will continue to promote large-scale commercialization of solar energy, and boost the setting up of solar plants in the United States.
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