Tuesday, April 7, 2009

BP Solar Targeting Utility-Scale US Solar Projects (BP; FSLR; SPWRA; STP)

From Dow Jones via CNN Money:
BP Solar International Inc. is hoping to install 100 megawatts of large solar projects in the U.S. in 2009 as it focuses attention on the utility sector, the company's chief executive, Reyad Fezzani, told Clean Technology Insight.

The solar unit of London-based BP PLC (BP) is bidding for numerous utility solar projects amid growing competition from such combinations of developers and panel providers as First Solar Inc. (FSLR), SunPower Corp. (SPWRA) and Gemini Solar, a joint venture between MMA Renewable Ventures and Suntech Power Holdings Co. (STP).

"The downstream market in the U.S. is becoming increasingly utility-focused. This means larger projects, longer lead times and increased complexity," said John Hardy, senior research analyst and vice president at Broadpoint AmTech, a division of Broadpoint Securities Group Inc. "In three years, I would not be surprised if the U.S. market reached 3 to 4 gigawatts in annual installations."

Driven by state mandates, utilities are seeking large solar installations. A year ago, Fezzani said, a 10-MW power-purchase agreement was considered large. " Now the average size is 25 to 50 MW. We are bidding for tenders that are orders of magnitude larger, 100 to 150 MW and even one that's 500 MW," he said....MORE