- Wood Mackenzie expects an addition of a minimum of 7 GW DC community solar capacity in the US between 2022 and 2027
- It will be mainly due to legacy markets growing further and the addition of newer markets to this segment, supported by positive regulatory environment
- New York will continue to lead with 1.3 GW DC capacity addition, while other markets as Illinois, California and Massachusetts will grow too
Wood Mackenzie has increased its 2022 to 2026 forecast for community solar segment in the US by 11% or 477 MW DC from previous forecasts and extended its outlook to 2027 expecting it to add at least 7 GW DC in existing markets, driven by positive regulatory environment in existing and new markets.
“This increase is due to the addition of new community solar markets, such as New Mexico and Delaware, and adjustments to existing state forecasts as state-level programs are expanded and rules are updated,” stated Wood Mackenzie in its research conducted along with Coalition for Community Solar Access (CCSA).
They see New York as continuing to lead the segment accounting for 1.3 GW DC addition between 2022 and 2027. Illinois too will see a spurt here. California is growing too with new regulatory proposals providing financial benefits for community solar and storage projects.
Massachusetts is another state that has now mandated SMART-qualifying facilities larger than 500 kW to be co-located with storage.
As the federal government plans to have 5 million households using community solar facilities by 2025, the researchers claim since the start of Q2/2022, 4.4 GW DC has already been installed nationally and there is more to come over the next 5 years. In Q1/2022, 197 MW DC community solar was installed in the country (see US Installed 3.9 GW DC Solar In Q1/2022).
The analysts found that costs to acquire large customers in this market are lower but more variable on a per W basis when compared to residential customers. US Solar Research Analyst Rachel Goldstein explained, “Anchor tenants like Municipal or Large Commercial customers are costly to acquire but subscribe to a large share of projects, so costs per kilowatt are lower.”
On the other hand, low- and moderate-income (LMI) customers that are directly billed, these are more expensive to subscribe than residential customers.
Solar and storage is an opportunity for grid flexibility, but needs a push from administration to realize the value this combination can bring to grid resilience.
However, CCSA CEO Jeff Cramer sees this as a conservative estimate by Wood Mackenzie and calls on the federal and state policymakers to help remove the barriers and incentivize deployment to lower energy costs.