Utility scale solar pricing inches up


The United States market saw power purchase agreements (PPA) prices increase by 1.3% – just over three hundredths of a cent per kWh – according to an analysis of five wholesale markets.

In the LevelTen Energy Q4 PPA Price Index, pricing for wind also increased in the SPP, MISO, PJM, ERCOT and CAISO regions, while LevelTen increased the number of markets covered by adding CAISO data, as well the total number of solar projects covered from 220 to 282.

The price of solar PV power purchase agreements (PPA) increased a bit in Q4’18, except in the Southwest Power Pool (SPP). The SPP saw a large chunk of well-priced solar power power plants come online feeding its South Hub. LevelTen noted the price increase in the other grids as “moderate”, without giving it a value in the available media.

The report suggested that the Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO) saw higher pricing due to offers from Minnesota and Illinois hubs being greater than prior averages.

ERCOT prices increased a slight bit on average, with two zones showing an increase, one being flat and the fourth showing a slight decrease. This is the second quarter that the report has shown California ISO (CAISO) information, and pricing was flat.

This flattening of utility scale solar pricing is part of a broader slowing of the pricing decrease. One could argue that utility-scale solar prices have decreased enough to make solar the preferred option, and that further pricing increases won’t mean as much. In fact, as we continue to add in energy storage, there is probably a space for pricing to increase.


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