12.8 GigaWatt Utility Scale Photovoltaic Pipeline in the US Southwest

My EU PVSEC Oral Presentation surveyed PV (Photovoltaic) Markets, Policy, and Utility Scale Projects in New Mexico, Nevada, Arizona, and California.

As folks have noticed, the Blog has been quiet since about mid August until the end of the 25th European Photovoltaic Solar Energy Conference and Exhibition (25th EU PVSEC). Those not following me on twitter or ignoring the twitter Weekly Digest posts missed my explanatory tweet:

Where are the Photovoltaic Blog posts? On hold! I am in a frenzy preparing my paper and presentation for EU PVSEC
8:53 PM Aug 27th via TweetDeck

My EU PVSEC Oral Presentation was first up at 08:30 AM on Wednesday, September 8, 2010, in Topic 6 – PV Taking Off: Large-Scale Deployment and was titled “US PV Market Development in the American Southwest”.

I’ll begin at the end with my Utility Scale PV Project Summary and then detail the survey results for each state.

USPVSouthwestslide26

In the US Southwestern states of New Mexico, Nevada, Arizona, and California, Utility Scale PV has an estimated gross project pipeline of 12.8 GigaWatts (GW) as shown in the above Summary and Closing Comments slide. About 3.462 GW of this pipeline are Approved RPS (Renewable Portfolio Standard) Contracts or Distributed Generation (DG) programs that will be installed over a four to five year period. The California RAM (Renewable Auction Mechanism) and Feed-in Tariff programs appear poised to install another 1.85 GW over four years. Most of the 1.623 GW of PV Contracts Pending Approval will translate into real projects, and a majority of the projects Under development without a known PPA will be constructed despite some BLM (Bureau of Land Management) application speculation.

USPVSouthwestNMslide12

New Mexico
New Mexico has 122 MW (MegaWatt) of RPS Approved Contracts in Development and about 32 MW of Contracts Pending Approval by the NMPRC (New Mexico Public Regulation Commission) as shown in the New Mexico Utility Scale PV Projects slide. The four approved PV projects include the 30 MW Cimarron I (Tri-State Co-op), 22 MW (PNM Resources, Inc., NYSE:PNM), 50 MW (SPS / Xcel Energy Inc., NYSE:XEL), and the 20 MW PV replacement for an eSolar SunTower (El Paso Electric, NYSE:EE).

Compiling, reviewing, and reconciling PV industry announcements, project databases, and information from the New Mexico Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department, Energy Conservation and Management Division, New Mexico has four (4) large PV projects 1 MW or greater totaling 6.7 MW under development with known PPAs (Power Purchase Agreements). Two more speculative projects totaling 304 MW are under development without known PPAs.

USPVSouthwestNVslide15

Nevada
Nevada has 88 MW of EPS (Energy Portfolio Standard) Approved Contracts in Development and about 657 MW of Contracts Pending Approval by the PUCN (Public Utilities Commission of Nevada) as shown in the Nevada Utility Scale PV Projects slide. The three approved NV Energy, Inc. (NYSE:NVE) PV contracts include the 20.5 MW RV Apex, 17.5 MW Searchlight, and 50 MW Silver State North Solar projects.

Compiling, reviewing, and reconciling PV industry announcements, project databases, and information from the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Nevada State Office, Nevada has one large 1.3 MW PV project under development with a known PPA (Power Purchase Agreement) and twelve (12) speculative projects totaling 3434 MW under development without known project or power offtakers.

USPVSouthwestAZslide18

Arizona
Arizona has 271.9 MW of RES (Renewable Energy Standard) Approved Contracts in Development and about 100 MW of Contracts Pending Approval as shown in the Arizona Utility Scale PV Projects slide. Tucson Electric Power (TEP), a subsidiary of UniSource Energy Corporation (NYSE:UNS), just obtained AzCC (Arizona Corporation Commission) approval for 97 MW of distributed generation PV across eight projects on August 25, 2010.

Compiling, reviewing. and reconciling PV industry announcements, project databases, and information from the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Arizona State Office, Arizona has four (4) large PV projects greater than 1 MW totaling 22.7 MW under development with known PPAs and nine (9) more speculative projects totaling 2126 MW under development without known PPAs.

USPVSouthwestCAslide22

California
California has the strongest and most transparent PV RPS pipeline in the United States. The California Public Utility Commission (CPUC) is the only public utility commission of the four states surveyed to maintain an online Status list of RPS Projects updated on a monthly basis.

California has 1880 MW of RPS Approved Contracts in Development for PV and about 834 MW of PV Contracts Pending Approval by the CPUC as shown in the California RPS Utility Scale PV Projects slide. Two Southern California Edison (SCE), an Edison International (NYSE:EIX) company, projects with First Solar, Inc. (NASDAQ:FSLR), the 250 MW Desert Sunlight and 300 MW Desert Stateline projects, were approved by the CPUC on September 2, 2010, tilting the PV pipeline to approved from balanced with pending.

California Investor Owned Utilities (IOUs) have received CPUC approval for PV Distributed Generation programs split between Utility Owned Generation (UOG) and PPAs with Independent Power Producers (IPP). IOUs SCE and PG&E Corporation (NYSE:PCG) will each deploy 500 MW over a 5 year period, and San Diego Gas & Electric Company (SDG&E), a subsidiary of Sempra Energy (NYSE:SRE), received approval for a 100 MW program on September 2, 2010.

The Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) implemented a 100 MW Feed-in Tariff program with a standard contract PPA that was booked after 8 days in January 2010. At the CPUC, a proposed decision has been released for a Renewable Auction Mechanism “Feed-in Tariff” that looks like a biannual binding RFP (Request for Proposal) process for 1 GW of PV administered by the IOUs over a period of four years for systems sized 1.5 MW to 10 MW and 10 MW to 20 MW. SB 32 amends an existing CPUC Feed-in Tariff program by raising the cap to 750 MW for projects up to 3 MW and setting the tariff at avoided cost plus environmental and DG benefits. California Feed-in Tariff programs have the realistic potential to add 1.85 GW to the state’s PV project pipeline.

With the flurry of recent PV project news, I needed to post my numbers, accurate as of September 2, 2010, before they were stale. I expect a few more posts will result from my twenty-seven slide presentation.

(Full disclosure: I own some shares of FSLR stock.)

4 comments

  1. admin says:

    Oops, the Nevada Utility Scale Projects slide has the Arizona flag. Sorry Nevadans…

  2. marcopolo says:

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