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US solar sales rise 21.6% on year in Q3 on new facilities, more sellers


Q3 sales reach 18.3 million MWh

89 companies reported sales data

Houston — Megawatt-hours generated from solar facilities in the US rose 21.6% year on year in the third quarter, according to data filed with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and compiled by S&P Global Platts.

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The increase is largely the result of newly installed generation over the past year in markets such as the Western Electricity Coordinating Council and the Electric Reliability Council of Texas.

Solar wholesale power sales totaled 18.3 million MWh in Q3, compared to 15 million MWh in Q3 2019.

According to the data, 8.57 million MWh of solar power was sold in the California Independent System Operator market.

Sales in WECC totaled 3.8 MWh and 2.7 million MWh in ERCOT, and 2.15 million MWh in the Southeastern Reliability Corporation markets.

A total of 89 companies reported solar sales to FERC in Q3, compared to 81 in Q3 2019. There were 40 companies that reported sales in the biggest market -- Cal-ISO. By comparison, for example, just three companies reported selling solar power in the ISO-New England market.

NextEra has 11% of total market

NextEra Energy Resources was the biggest overall seller in Q3 with 2.02 million MWh sold, or roughly 11% of the US market. The Juno, Florida-based company sold wholesale solar power in nine out of 10 markets -- excluding the New York ISO. The company's total quarterly sales were up 440,000 MWh on a year-on-year basis.

NextEra's sales in California, its biggest regional market, totaled 1.24 million MWh, or roughly 14% of the total California market, according to the data. The company has in recent months been increasing its sales to California's community choice aggregators, or CCAs.

NextEra Resources' second biggest market in Q3 was the Southeastern Reliability Corporation, or SERC, where it sold 387,712 MWh, followed by the Southwest Power Pool, where it reported sales of 101,713 MWh and WECC, where it reported sales of just over 95,000 MWh.

In WECC, where 37 companies reported solar sales, three companies -- Capital Dynamics, Global Atlantic Financial Corp., and DE Shaw Renewable Investments -- were the top sellers, each with just over 400,000 MWh sold. Nevada has become one of the country's hot spots for large solar plus battery storage projects.

In ERCOT, 20 companies reported a total of 2.7 million MWh of solar sales.

Con Edison Clean Energy Business, which was second behind NextEra Resources as top overall seller with 1.6 million MWh sold in Q3, was the top seller in ERCOT, with just over 383,000 MWh sold.

Second in ERCOT was Duke Commercial Power, according to the data, with almost 367,000 MWh sold, followed by Southern Power with 291,895 MWh sold and Enel Green Power with 264,930 MWh.

ERCOT's Q4 2020 solar sales as well as sales in 2021 should reflect the large solar build-out currently underway.

In the PJM Interconnection market, 12 companies sold a total of just over 463,000 MWh of solar power.

The dominant company operating in the PJM solar market was Dominion Deregulated Affiliates, which sold 229,565 MWh in Q3, representing 56% of the market.

Q3 2020 Wholesale Solar Sales by Region (1)

Q3 2020 MWh
Grand Total

(1) Sales from facilities that are for the most part above 20 MW.

Source: Government filings compiled by S&P Global Platts