The U.S. added 4.8 gigawatts of utility-scale solar capacity in the first half of 2021, a 15% increase from the first half of 2020 and nearly halfway to the total capacity added in 2020, according to an analysis by S&P Global Market Intelligence.
The U.S. now has 53.7 GW of total solar capacity (including distributed generation). A pipeline of 17.4 GW of utility-scale capacity is under construction.
The Biden administration released a blueprint earlier this month that details a goal of generating 45% of the U.S. electricity supply from solar by 2050. That would require the U.S. to install an average of 30 GW of solar capacity per year between now and 2025, then 60 GW per year from 2025.
The following is a list of the 10 largest utility-scale solar projects completed in the first half of 2021 (through May 31) based on S&P analysis.
Robins Air Force Base Solar Project – Bibb, GA
The 128 MW Robins Air Force Base Solar Project is owned by Georgia Power, a subsidiary of Southern Company, and is located adjacent to the Robins Air Force Base. The project was Georgia power’s sixth working with the U.S. Military and Georgia PSC. When it was first announced, the Robins Air Force Base Solar Project was expected to feature 500,000 solar panels.
Georgia Power owns an additional 120 MW of utility-scale solar projects at Georgia military bases, located at Fort Benning, Fort Gordon, Fort Stewart, and SUBASE Kings Bay.
9. Hardin Solar Energy Center Facility – Hardin, OH
Acquired by Dominion Energy in January, the 150 MW Hardin Solar Energy Center Facility was developed by Invenery, and is located on 1,100 acres in Hardin, Ohio.
Facebook will take the electricity generated at the facility as well as the renewable energy credits, under a long-term agreement signed prior to the project’s construction.
This marks Dominion Energy’s first solar energy investment in Ohio, where the company owns and operates a Cleveland-based natural gas local distribution company serving 1.2 million customer accounts in northeastern Ohio. Dominion owns solar arrays in nine other states, including in North Carolina, South Carolina and Utah, where the company also owns and operates gas utilities.
8. Rancho Seco Solar II Project – Sacramento, CA
D.E. Shaw Renewable Investments purchased the 160 MW Rancho Seco Solar II Project in Sacramento, California from Lendlease, an international property and infrastructure group. The project has a 30-year Power Purchase Agreement in place with the Sacramento Municipal Utility District and was built on the site of a decommissioned nuclear power plant.
7. Impact Solar Project (G.S.E. Twelve) – Lamar, TX
The S&P classifies the Impact Solar Project as a 199 MW facility, though the project’s owner, Lightsource bp, says the facility has 260 MW of capacity. Most of the energy generated by the project goes to bp through a power purchase agreement.
6. Anson Solar Center – Jones, TX
The 200 MW Anson Solar Center is located on 2,200 acres in Jones, Texas and is owned by Engie. Microsoft announced in 2019 that it would purchase 85 MW from the Anson Solar Center through a power purchase agreement.
5. RE Maplewood Solar Project Phase 1 and 2 – Pecos, TX
An undisclosed annuity and life insurance company purchased the 250 MW Maplewood 1 and 2 Solar Projects in July from Recurrent Energy. Anheuser-Busch and Energy Transfer Partners have signed 15-year power purchase agreements with the project.
4. Copper Mountain Solar V – Clark, NV
The 250 MW Copper Mountain Solar V project in Clark, Nevada is owned by Consolidated Edison Inc.
3. Taygete Energy Project – Pecos, TX
7X Energy developed and owns the 255 MW Taygete Energy Project. The project is sited on approximately 2,000 acres in Pecos, Texas and features 856,000 solar modules. Energy from the project will be sold under a multi-year power purchase agreement to an undisclosed buyer.
2. Greasewood Solar Project – Pecos, TX
The 255 MW Greasewood Solar Project, owned by Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners, was the second-largest utility-scale solar project completed in the first half of 2021 in the U.S. The Greasewood Solar Project has long-term power purchase agreements with the City of Garland, New Braunfels Utilities, and the Kerrville Public Utility Board in Texas.
1. Eunice Solar Project (Permian Energy Center) – Andrews, Texas
Danish renewable energy giant Ørsted owns the 420 MW Eunice Solar Project in Andrew, Texas, the largest utility-scale solar project completed in the first half of 2021 in the U.S. The Permian Energy Center features 40 MW of battery storage located alongside existing oil and gas infrastructure.
U.S. utility-scale solar pipeline
Global supply chain pressures led to a year-over-year decline in new solar power capacity additions in the second quarter of 2021 in the U.S., according to an analysis by S&P Global Market Intelligence. But, researchers wrote, demand is strong with 17.4 gigawatts of capacity under construction.
The U.S. added 1,968 MW of utility-scale solar power capacity in the second quarter of 2021, 31% less than the amount installed in the first quarter.
“Typically, the second and third quarters are the slowest for solar power capacity additions. But the second quarter of 2021 saw fewer capacity additions than the year-ago period when 2,104 MW was connected to U.S. power grids,” the researchers wrote.
The U.S. now has 53.8 GW of total solar power capacity, including distributed generation. Ørsted brought the largest solar power project online in Q2 2021 — the 420 MW Eunice Solar Project in Andrews, Texas.
S&P Global Market Intelligence found that Texas leads the nation in solar projects in advanced development or under construction with 7.4 GW of capacity in late-project phases, significantly ahead of North Carolina (2.6 GW) and California (2.2 GW). Researchers note that demand for utility-scale solar power capacity remains high from corporations and governments.
“Attracted by the cheap costs of solar power, fossil fuel companies are helping drive demand in West Texas. In April, the U.S. Energy Information Administration projected Texas will add a record 10 GW of utility-scale solar power capacity by the end of 2022, with 30% of the additions in the sun-soaked Permian Basin,” researchers wrote.
NextEra Energy has the largest solar power project pipeline with 11.3 GW of capacity in all stages of development, followed by Invenergy, EDF Group, SunChase Power, Macquarie Group, and AES Corp.