Houston — A total of 80 utility-scale solar power generating companies sold 10.6 million MWh of wholesale power in the first quarter of 2020, an increase of 21% compared with Q1 2019, according to data compiled from US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission filings.
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The top three sellers — selling just over 1 million MWh each — were Southern Power, NextEra Energy Resources and Con Edison Clean Energy Business. The top 10 sellers sold a combined 6.85 million MWh in Q1 2020, or 64.6% of the total.
Southern Power, a merchant subsidiary of Southern Company, saw its Q1 2020 wholesale solar sales increase 3% year over year, while NextEra's sales climbed 14.1% and Con Edison's rose 11.5%.
Ranked seventh was Global Atlantic Financial, which saw its solar MWh sales in Q1 jump 201.4% year on year. The insurance company bought a one-third stake in Southern Power's solar portfolio for $1.2 billion in 2018.
Duke Commercial Power, which has been expanding its solar fleet, saw its wholesale solar sales jump 82.3% compared with Q1 2019. It is now ranked 11th among all sellers.
Facilities new to the top 25
Of the top 25 solar power generating facilities in the US, 15 are located in California, four in Arizona, four in Nevada and two in Texas. Four of the top five solar facilities by sales volumes reported to FERC are located in California, while one is in Arizona.
Combined, the top 25 facilities were responsible for 3.1 million MWh of sales, or roughly 29.4% of the total. All the facilities are 153 MW in capacity, or larger.
The largest facility in the US is the 550-MW Topaz facility in California that sold 275,757 MWh of wholesale power in Q1, most of which is bought under a fixed price, 25-year power purchase agreement with PG&E Corp.'s Pacific Gas and Electric utility subsidiary.
According to credit ratings agency Fitch, Pacific Gas and Electric "has continued to regularly serve" its PPA obligations to Topaz during the utility's bankruptcy.
Nonetheless, of the top 25 solar facilities active in Q1 2020, five are new and were not included in the Q1 2019 sales volume count.
Two of the new facilities are located in California: the 153-MW Imperial Valley Solar 2 and the 200-MW Wright Solar Park.
In Texas, there is the 241-MW Misae Lessee facility and the 250-MW Phoebe Energy Project.
In Nevada, there is the Techren Solar 2 facility, which has 200 MW of capacity.
The total wholesale power sales reported to FERC by the five new facilities in Q1 came to 503,188 MWh.