Solar To Overtake Wind In Corporate Renewable Procurement

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Wood Mackenzie and the American Wind Energy Association released a new report, Analysis of Commercial and Industrial Wind Energy Demand in the United States, outlining the impending corporate renewable procurement boom we are facing and how wind and solar energy fit into that boom.

The same companies we saw as top dogs in last month’s 2018 Solar Means Business Report, are tops all time in terms of renewable procurement.

Wood Mackenzie has anticipated that starting in 2021, the corporate adoption of solar power will overtake wind power. The gap between solar and wind adoption is set to grow dramatically in the coming decade, reaching its peak in 2027. Wood Mackenzie predicts companies will contract for over 12.5 GW of solar energy, compared to only 1.3 GW of wind.

The report starts off by introducing that in 2018, corporations signed more than 6 GW of power purchase agreements (PPAs), more than ever before, and provided an estimate that up to 85 GW of renewable energy demand exists through 2030 within the largest U.S. companies.

The report’s most aggressive projections predict total corporate solar adoption through 2030 to come in at 97 GW. This is compared to 22 GW over the same period for wind.

Absent of a change in turbine performance or cost reductions, it is increasingly obvious that for wind to compete against solar, a long-term energy storage solution must be developed to cope with wind’s weekly and seasonal boom/bust cycle.

With the capacity of renewable generation by corporations rising exponentially every year and expected to continue to do so, with the exception of an expected two-year dip when the ITC runs out, the question of why corporations are moving towards renewables becomes increasingly important. To answer that question, AWEA and WoodMac identified four key factors that accelerate adoption: branding, investor pressure, peer pressure, and the utilization of CSR to mitigate future business risks.

The use of corporate renewable energy will continue to grow as companies have taken notice of consumers environmental concerns.

Here is a breakdown of the solar usage and percentage of market share for several major corporations:

Source: PV Magazine