Research and consulting firm Mercom Capital Group released a new report announcing the 2021 top global large-scale solar PV developers (covering July 2020 to June 2021). With 4.95 GW of operational projects, Italian-based Enel Green Power emerged as the leading solar PV developer worldwide by operational capacity, followed closely by India-based Adani Green Energy (4.91 GW), with France-based Engie (3.47 GW) ranking third.
In terms of under construction and awarded capacity, Canadian Solar was first among global developers with 22.2 GW, followed by Lightsource bp with 20.9 GW.
With a total capacity of 23.6 GW, Lightsource bp emerged as the top solar PV developer in the world based on operational, under construction, and awarded (contracted) projects, followed closely by Canadian Solar with 23.5 GW. Brookfield Renewables ranked third with 19.5 GW.
In developing this global report, a key criterion for qualification was developers with projects in at least two countries.
The top developers include several renewable energy arms of industrial and power conglomerates, subsidiaries of asset management companies, and pure-play renewable and solar companies. They hailed from all around the world, including the United Kingdom, Canada, the United States, India, Italy, Norway, France, and Germany.
The top 10 developers account for over 125 GW of operational, under-construction, and awarded (contracted) solar projects. For under-construction and awarded projects, the top large-scale solar developers accounted for almost 100 GW.
There were significant changes in the top 10 list compared to the previous year due to some large M&A deals in the industry, with gigawatt-scale portfolios changing hands. According to Mercom’s 2020 Solar Funding and M&A Report, about 40 GW of projects changed hands in calendar year 2020. During the reporting period of July 2020 to June 2021, over 64 GW of projects were acquired across the globe.
Of the top 10 global solar developers, the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region made up about 24% of developers’ capacity; North America at about 18%; and Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) at about 20%. Approximately 38% of projects were sited in Latin America.
A significant number of installations and under-construction projects by the top developers were in Latin America. Countries such as Brazil, Mexico, Chile, and Argentina have good solar resources, and are seeing declining prices, and favorable policies.
“Despite lockdowns, labor shortages, and supply chain issues associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, top solar developers overcame these challenges and continued to expand in mature and emerging markets at an unprecedented pace,” said Raj Prabhu, CEO of Mercom Capital Group.