There must be an awful lot of pinching going on in GameChange Solar’s sales department. Don’t worry people, you’re not dreaming, your company really has been awarded supply contracts for 1.5 GW of tracking and racking systems to utility-scale projects across six states this year. This brings the company’s 2019 supply projections to 3 GW, which is particularly impressive considering we’re just weeks into the second quarter.
Potentially even more crazy is that 90% of that 1.5 GW figure will be made up of the company’s single-axis trackers, good for a mark of 1.35 GW. Where exactly is all this product going? The deals are for supply in California, the Carolinas, Georgia, Florida and Arkansas. Most of those locations are pretty standard, with California being the solar behemoth that it is, Georgia being a consistent player for utility-scale development in the southeast, Florida Power and Light’s ’30 x 30′ plan and the announcement from Duke for 602 MW of development in the Carolinas in the coming years.
The state that stands out is clearly Arkansas. The tracking could be going to one of the state’s two 100 MW projects under development. Those projects represent 200 MW of capacity in a state which had only 140 MW previously, so it isn’t entirely out of the question.
3 GW of tracking and racking shipments in one calendar year, let alone a quarter would be impressive for most suppliers in the market. And, while they won’t provide direct correlation, the numbers for last year’s global tracker shipments provide context. Before considering these numbers, remember these are the numbers for product shipped in a year, not projects awarded. There’s nothing to say that GameChange will ship all of the tracking & racking systems for the deals it has been awarded in 2019, as the developers of those projects could well be employing the strategy of aiming to go online over the next few years and still claim the 30% ITC if they start construction by the end of this year.
Also important to keep in mind is that GameChange’s 3 GW mark is not just for trackers, it includes racking as well, though the numbers in the 1.5 GW deal lead one to believe trackers make up a significant portion of that figure.
Last year the global tracker market expanded 20% to surpass 20 GW. The companies that shipped the most trackers in that time? NEXTracker with 30% of the global market and Array Technologies with 12%. After that, the top-5 is rounded out by PV Hardware and Arctech with roughly 9% each and Soltec with 8%. 9% of that market share means 1.8 GW and 8% means 1.6 GW. And while the market is expected to grow again this year, GameChange also has plenty of time to get back on the horn and close more deals for trackers.
The most impressive thing to come out of this announcement might just be the potential for GameChange to supplant itself as one of the top tracker companies in the world. And, while it’s unlikely that they all do, if the hardware for only projects that GameChange has been awarded ships in 2019 and just 2/3 of it is trackers, the company is poised to takeover in that global top-5.