A 290-MW photovoltaic powerplant is on track for construction to start later this summer in Arizona, marking the beginning of a wave of utility-scale solar projects expected to wash over the Southwest. Photo: Courtesy First Solar Designed to provide 290 MW of power, this Yuma-area project is expected to be the first of many solar powerplants. The push to build solar plants like the Agua Caliente project near Yuma is driven by two key factors: state renewable-energy requirements and a drop in solar prices, especially for photovoltaic technology. Nine western states have renewable portfolio standards requiring utility electric sales to
The market is generally healthy and steadily growing, and margins are up for large specialty contractors. Further, advances in design tools and owner demand for collaboration are giving subcontractors a seat at the table early on in projects.