Mercom Capital Group, a clean energy communications, and research firm, has released a new report announcing the top 10 global large-scale solar PV developers. With a total capacity of 12.3 GW, India-based, Adani Green Energy emerged as the top solar PV developer in the world based on its operational, under construction, and awarded (contracted) projects. GCL New Energy (7.1 GW), a Hong Kong-listed independent solar power producer, ranked second, followed by Tokyo-based renewable energy developer, SB Energy (7 GW).
Below is a chart with the top 10 global large-scale (utility-scale) solar PV developers, based on projects in operation, under construction, and awarded.
In developing this global leader report, a key criterion for qualification was that developers had to have projects in at least two countries. Although there were several developers, like NextEra Energy, that would have made the list based on their portfolio size; they were only active in a single country.
The list of top developers is a diverse group of companies with global growth aspirations. It includes several renewable energy arms of industrial and power conglomerates, subsidiaries of asset management companies, and pure-play renewable and solar companies. Top developers hail from all around the world, including India, China, the United States, Europe, Japan, and Canada.
The top 10 large-scale solar developers account for 33 GW of operational projects globally. For under construction and awarded (contracted) projects, the top large-scale solar developers accounted for 28.7 GW.
For the top 10 global solar developers, the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region made up 52.4% of developers’ total capacity, followed by the Americas at 42.1% and Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) at 5.5%. In contrast, the largest number of solar projects by top developers are in EMEA, with 41.6%, followed by the APAC at 29.9%, and Americas at 28.4%.
“Top developers are expanding presence in mature markets in pursuit of policy certainty, steady returns, and lower risk. They are also chasing growth in emerging markets, trying to lay the groundwork and tap into the enormous future potential these regions represent, despite the risks and ultra-competitive auctions,” said Raj Prabhu, CEO of Mercom Capital Group.
The top developer with the largest operational large-scale solar capacity was GCL New Energy with 7.1 GW. Enel Green Power was the second-largest player in terms of operational capacity with 4.2 GW, followed by First Solar, SB Energy, Lightsource bp, ENGIE, Brookfield Renewable, Adani Green, AES Corporation, and Enerparc.
In terms of under construction and awarded capacity, Adani Green came out on top with 10.1 GW of projects. SB Energy was the second-largest player with 3.4 GW, followed by Invenergy.
The large-scale solar development market is extremely fluid, with project portfolios continually churning. Several of the companies included in this report were in the middle of M&A transactions at the time of publication. Attractive projects are in great demand, especially in mature markets.
M&A activity for large-scale solar projects has been extremely active. According to Mercom’s 2019 Solar Funding and M&A Report, about 26 GW of projects changed hands in 2019. In the last ten years, over 120 GW of large solar projects have been acquired. Developers are recycling capital to invest in new projects and realize quicker returns.
We are seeing large-scale solar auctions around the world, and they are now the primary mode of procurement. Costs are dropping continually, driving demand, and solar is now the cheapest source of energy in many parts of the world.
The full report, Top 10 Global Leading Large-Scale Solar PV Developers, is available here.