Global utility PV installations grew from 4 gigawatts (GWAC) per year in 2010 to 52 GWAC per yr in 2019. However, the majority of this capacity in the three major markets around the world (Europe, North America and Asia) still comes from facilities that are 100 MWAC or less, meaning that they do not yet benefit from the economies of scale realized by GWAC scale projects. This is about to change, as the industry shifts to larger scale facilities in the next decade in order to capture these benefits of scale. The three key benefits include better hardware costs, better installation efficiency and a dilution of fixed costs over a greater number of megawatts.
Sterling and Wilson become 3rd largest Australian EPC
Sterling & Wilson have become the third largest utility PV Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) company, in terms of megawatts, in Australia. The recent entrant into the Australian market currently has three confirmed projects including LightsourceBP’s Wellington solar farm in New South Wales (174 MWAC of capacity), Shell’s Gangarri solar farm in Queensland (120 MWAC), and now Australia’s largest solar farm, Western Downs, also in Queensland (390 MWAC). Previously Sterling & Wilson was only surpassed by two players, RCR, which went bankrupt in 2018, and Downer, which has exited the utility PV EPC market. Biosar followed Sterling & Wilson in fourth place but announced their exit from the market this year, leaving Signal Energy – previously the fifth largest utility PV EPC player in the country – as the only competitor.
Egypt snubs coal in favor of renewable opportunities
Despite its vast deserts, Egypt may be going green. After halting the development of two coal-fired thermal power plants, the country’s investment in green energy places it on track to exceed renewable energy targets by 22% by 2022. At that time, Rystad Energy expects renewable generation will account for an impressive 24% of the country’s power mix, far beyond the goals laid out in Egypt’s Vision 2030.
In recent years, the primary driver behind utility-scale energy development in Egypt has been energy security. The need for greater energy independence was underscored in September 2014 when the country contended with a severe 12-hour blackout, its fragile utility system crippled by three simultaneous crises: an electricity crisis, a gas crisis, and a fiscal crisis. Committed to ameliorating the issue, the Egyptian government launched its Vision 2030 initiative in March 2015, which outlined a strategy for achieving energy security by increasing reliance on local energy sources while also reducing the intensity of energy consumption through the reduction of electricity subsidies.