The pipeline of solar PV projects awaiting completion within the United States has grown by 7% during the past 12 months. According to the latest NPD Solarbuzz United States Deal Tracker report, the PV pipeline now exceeds 43GW, enough to power more than six million households.
The growing project pipeline remains a key factor in driving the positive outlook for the U.S. PV industry, which is forecast to become the third-largest solar PV market globally in 2014, after China and Japan.
Michael Barker, senior analyst at NPD Solarbuzz, commented: "The increase in new solar PV projects being planned or under construction is driving double-digit annual growth forecasts for PV adoption within the United States.”
Whereas large projects in excess of 100MW previously dominated the U.S. PV pipeline, growth is now being driven by smaller projects up to 30MW. During the past 12 months, the number of projects in the U.S. pipeline within this category has increased by 33% to more than 2,100 projects.
According to NPD, the deadline to qualify for the full 30% U.S. Investment Tax Credit is forcing developers of PV projects to transition more quickly from "pre-planning" and "planning" stages to "under-construction" or "installed" status. The smaller PV projects have shorter planning phases and can be completed quickly.
"With just three years remaining until the full tax credit incentive rate declines, solar PV project developers in the United States are now planning to complete projects, or have a significant portion under construction, prior to the 2017 deadline," commented Christine Beadle, analyst at NPD Solarbuzz. "This deadline is causing a shift in focus to smaller projects that can be completed on shorter timescales."