23 November 2018


Solar PV Project Development Data analytics North America

Top 70 North American Solar Portfolios 2018

Author: Mina Mesbahi, Solarplaza

The US solar market has weathered a few storms since the latest inauguration, from the trump tariffs shaking the market to the recent country’s somewhat turbulent policy landscape. However, the second quarter of 2018 witnessed more positive developments with respect to federal policy. In June, IRS issued a Notice, allowing projects to claim a greater ITC rate and ultimately a higher tax credit. Despite all the hardship and challenges facing the solar industry, the market is projected to continue to march forward, doubling its existing solar PV capacity (58.3 GW) over the next five years.

In order to better decipher the highly competitive landscape of solar PV ownership and in the run-up to Solar Asset Management North America 2019, we have compiled an overview of the 70 largest North American solar portfolios. This article further chronicles market segmentation and additional insights into the major portfolio holders.

Top 10 North American Solar Portfolios

Rank Name Role Capacity 2018 (MW) City State Country
1 Duke Energy Utility 2,500.00 Charlotte North Carolina US
2 NextEra Energy Resources IPP 2,140.50 Juno Beach Florida US
3 Cypress Creek Renewables IPP 2,041.50 Durham North Carolina US
4 EDF Renewable Energy IPP 1,673.53 San Diego California US
5 Dominion Energy Utility 1,588.00 Richmond Virginia US
6 Sempra Renewables Services IPP 1,522.00 San Diego California US
7 Capital Dynamics Investor 1,500.00 New York New York US
8 Southern Power IPP 1,230.00 Atlanta Georgia US
9 sPower IPP 1,092.80 Salt Lake City Utah US
10 Clearway Energy Inc IPP 1,072.00 New Jersey New Jersey US
* Sizes in MWp
F.O. = Accessible in the Full Overview

Access Full Top 70

Market Composition

IPPs comprise the largest share in the top 70 portfolios, owning more than half of the total capacity. In fact, do IPPs not only count for the highest capacity but also the highest number of portfolios with 7 of the top 10 portfolios being IPPs. Utilities represent the second biggest segment both in terms of megawatt capacity and the number of portfolios, followed by investors and yieldcos. Additionally, isolating the top 10 portfolios by their place of origin, demonstrates the dominance of two states of California and North Carolina (figure 3). Although it would not be entirely implausible to assume a correlation between the location of asset owners and their portfolios, some portfolios do indeed transcend state borders. However, the companies do not always disclose their complete asset data on a state-by-state basis. Therefore, figure 2 showcases portfolio capacities with relation to the location of the portfolio owners. As shown on the heatmap, California-based companies cumulatively form the highest capacity in the top 10 portfolios and this trend remains valid for the overall top 70. The other major states, home to the portfolio owners with the largest capacity, include Florida, New York, Georgia and New Jersey.  

Figure 1: Top 70 North American Solar Portfolios- Rundown of portfolio types based on capacity

Figure 2: Top 70. Solar Portfolios- Portfolio owners geography (U.S. only)

The Giants

Despite what the heading suggests, New York has only one contender in the top 10, namely Capital Dynamics. With over 2 GW of solar PV capacity, a unique player sitting at the top three is the Cypress Creek Renewables. Born only three years ago, this California-based IPP has built an empire of projects with a pipeline worth 500 MW. Dominion has been working towards realizing its plan to expand its RE fleet by 3,000 MW by the beginning of 2022. The Virginian utility is currently half way through its ambitious goal, occupying the 5th largest solar portfolio in North America. In January 2018, Dominion invested $1 billion in solar projects in Virginia and North Carolina. One portfolio that most likely will not stay on the top 10 by the end of 2018 is Sempra’s as the company, as part of a portfolio-optimization push, has agreed to sell its non-utility solar generation assets for $1.54 billion.The sale is expected to fully close before the end of 2018. A new player entering the space and already part of the top 10 North American solar portfolios is Clearway Energy. The company was formed as a result of the sale of NRG Yield and commenced operations in the August of 2018.  

Figure 3: Top 10 North America solar portfolio owners- Breakdown of states

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