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After installing a record 12.8 GWdc across 161 new projects in 2020, the solar industry is on the cusp of a new normal, according to the authors of the 2021 Utility-Scale Solar report from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL).
Upfront construction costs for new utility-scale projects continue to drop, with the largest projects benefiting from the lowest levelized costs, according to LBNL research scientist Mark Bolinger, and one of the report authors. However, power purchase agreement (PPA) prices have stagnated and crept upward over the year, suggesting future prices may rise, he said.
Hybrid projects with solar plus storage still represent a minority of overall solar projects. But Bolinger said their popularity appears to be increasing, particularly in regions where high solar penetration rates have eroded the value of solar energy on the grid.