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Project Tracking Review: Top 10 US Solar Developers

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Solar photovoltaic (PV) adoption is pushing boundaries in the U.S., despite recent headwinds and growth slowdowns caused by supply chain disruptions and economic challenges associated with COVID-19.

Approximately 11.86 gigawatts (GW) of new solar PV became operational in 2020 — a record to date — and around a 68% increase from 2019 additions, according to data from Enverus Foundations™ | Power & Renewables.

Globally, solar PV generation increased 22% (+131 terawatt hours) in 2019 and represented the second-largest absolute generation growth of all renewable technologies, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA) Renewables 2020 report. Once considered a niche segment of the broader energy industry, it is easy to see how solar PV is becoming a dominant and essential energy source for the U.S.

Pursuant to Enverus’ renewable energy project tracking analytics data set, capacity deployment will continue to grow over the next five years. The growth is fueled by the relatively low cost of electricity generation from solar PV compared to other alternative sources of energy, and by companies continuing to diversify their portfolios across the energy stack. It is important to note that economic conditions and government incentives will impact future growth.

That said, as total production from solar PV continues to grow, so does the investable space. Below is a list of the top 10 U.S. solar developers by total capacity (MW) and project status as of Aug. 31, available within the Enverus Foundations Power & Renewables platform. Existing Foundations clients with the Enverus P&R project tracking add-on can access a workbook showing the analyses and more here.

Figure 1 | Top 10 U.S. Solar Developers by Megawatt

Figure 1 | Top 10 U.S. Solar Developers by Megawatt

1) NextEra Energy Resources | Juno Beach, Fla.
Capacity (MW) | 16,477
Projects | 234

NextEra Energy is a clean energy company headquartered in Juno Beach, Florida. NextEra Energy owns two electric companies in Florida: Florida Power & Light Company, which serves more than five million customer accounts in Florida and is the largest rate-regulated electric utility in the United States as measured by retail electricity produced and sold; and Gulf Power Company, which serves more than 460,000 customers in eight counties throughout northwest Florida. NextEra Energy also owns a competitive energy business, NextEra Energy Resources, LLC, which, together with its affiliated entities, is the world’s largest generator of renewable energy from the wind and sun and a world leader in battery storage.

2) Invenergy LLC | Chicago
Capacity (MW) | 13,977
Projects | 71

Invenergy and its affiliated companies develop, own and operate large-scale renewable and other clean energy generation and storage facilities in the U.S. and Europe. Invenergy’s home office is in Chicago and it has regional development offices in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Japan and Europe. Invenergy and its affiliated companies have developed more than 29,000 MW of projects that are in operation, construction or contracted, including wind, solar, natural gas-fueled power generation and energy storage projects.

3) EDF Renewables | San Diego
Capacity (MW)| 11,943
Projects | 79

EDF Renewables is an industry leader in wind, solar and biogas project development, and a premier provider of operation and maintenance services throughout North America. EDF also provides extensive services along the entire value chain, from site selection to asset management.

4) Cypress Creek Renewables | Santa Monica, Calif.
Capacity | 7,497
Projects | 432

Cypress Creek Renewables business model is primarily focused on utility-scale ground mount projects. Cypress brings extensive development experience and aggressive financing to create new opportunities in emerging solar markets. With more than 3 gigawatts of solar developed and deployed in more than a dozen states, Cypress Creek Renewables is currently (as of February 2019) the largest solar developer by capacity (MW) in the United States.

5) 8minute Energy | Folsom, Calif.
Capacity | 7,436
Projects | 33

8minutenergy develops, finances, engineers, constructs, holds, operates and maintains solar projects. Their projects target all regions of the United States, including California – the largest renewable energy market in the U.S. – where demand for their power is considerable. 8minutenergy also acquires and develops projects that are ready for construction.

6) First Solar | Tempe, Ariz.
Capacity | 7,262
Projects | 50

First Solar is a global provider of comprehensive photovoltaic solar systems which use its advanced module and system technology. The company’s integrated power plant solutions deliver an economically attractive alternative to fossil-fuel electricity generation today. From raw material sourcing through end-of-life module recycling, First Solar’s renewable energy systems protect and enhance the environment.

7) Clēnera | Boise, Idaho
Capacity | 7,237
Projects | 94

Clēnera specializes in solar energy project development, construction, finance and management. The company was established to develop, acquire and operate smart solar energy projects throughout North America. In partnership with CRE, Clēnera combines deep capital and tax equity capacity, with strong technology, development, engineering, construction and operations management experience. Working closely with developers, Clēnera helps make smart projects successful.

8) EcoPlexus | San Francisco
Capacity | 5,935
Projects | 151

Ecoplexus develops and operates utility-scale solar PV projects for the wholesale and retail market in the U.S. and internationally. With a large construction and development pipeline of more than 1 GW in the U.S., Japan, Latin America and Turkey, representing more than $750 million in project value, Ecoplexus is actively developing or buying renewable energy assets at every stage. The company also provides operation and maintenance (O&M) services for investor/owners for approximately 55 projects. Ecoplexus focuses on distributed generation projects in the 500 kW to 5 MW range

9) Hecate Energy LLC | Nashville, Tenn.
Capacity | 5,394
Projects | 35

Hecate Energy is a developer, owner and operator of power plants in North America and internationally. Hecate Energy brings together business acumen, technical understanding and significant experience in the industry to develop world-class power projects. The company specializes in solar and wind power, natural gas plants and energy storage, unearthing creative approaches to structuring PPAs and financing power projects. Hecate Energy believes in collaborative, long-term partnerships with the communities, organizations and the countries it serves.

10) Recurrent Energy | San Francisco
Capacity | 4,440
Projects | 68

Recurrent Energy is a utility-scale solar project developer, delivering competitive, clean electricity to large energy buyers. Based in the U.S., Recurrent Energy is a wholly owned subsidiary of Canadian Solar Inc., and functions as Canadian Solar’s U.S. project development arm. Recurrent Energy’s development strategy is to build a balanced portfolio of utility-scale solar projects ranging in size from 20-500 MW to meet the increasing demand from utilities for clean electricity at highly competitive prices.

As the solar industry continues to prosper, it is more important than ever to respond quickly with confident, data-driven decisions. Enverus Foundations brings clean, analytics-ready data into an intuitive platform, empowering you to get straight to higher-value analysis and insights. For detailed renewable energy data designed for project tracking and project developers, access your preview of Enverus Foundations™ | Power & Renewables here.

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Dian Volschenk is the strategic marketing content manager at Enverus.

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