Insights

Top Solar Energy Developers in Illinois, New Jersey, and California

April 5, 2022

Despite a challenging year, impacted with global supply chain issues and unpredictability around the COVID-19 pandemic, there have been substantial developments in the solar market across the United States.  

The DG+ team recently released state-level solar market research reports for Illinois, New Jersey, and California. This article dives into the key energy policy developments across these states and provides a snapshot of their top solar developers for 2021.

Illinois

In September 2021, Illinois enacted the Climate and Equitable Jobs Act (CEJA), which filled the much-needed gap left by the recent lapse of the 2016 Future Energy Jobs Act (FEJA). Key highlights from CEJA include: 

  • $350 million allocated to expand the state’s renewable energy capacity. 
  • Accelerated renewable portfolio standard timeline, calling for 40% renewable energy by 2030 and 50% by 2040. 
  • Total funding for the Illinois Solar for All program increased from $10 million to $50 million.
  • All private coal-fired and oil-fired electric generating units are required to reach zero emissions by January 1, 2030.
  • A program established to support the transition of coal plants to renewable energy facilities.

When incentives from FEJA dried out by early 2021, there was a slowdown in solar installations across the state. Nonetheless, Illinois finished the year strong with a cumulative installed capacity of 1,040 megawatt (MW).

Moreover, the state continued to attract some of the largest solar developers in the U.S. The table below identifies the top three developers across different solar market segments and the company’s market share in their respective category. 

Solar Segment
Developer Name
Market Share
Residential Behind-the-Meter (BTM) Solar Market Leaderboard
Q1 2021 - Q4 2021
Vivint/Sunrun 35.6%
Carbon Solutions SREC LLC 20.2%
SRECTrade, Inc. 16.0%
Non-Residential BTM Solar Market Leaderboard
Q1 2021 - Q4 2021
Carbon Solutions SREC, LLC 25.7%
SRECTrade, Inc. 23.7%
Ag Technologies Inc. 18%
Utility Front-Of-Meter Solar Market Leaderboard
Q1 2021 - Q4 2021
DESRI 26.2%
National Grid Renewables 21.2%
BayWa re 15.9%
Community Solar Market Leaderboard
All-time
Cypress Creek Renewables, LLC 10.9%
Pivot Energy 7.2%
Borrego Solar Systems 4.6%

Source: DG+ Research

New Jersey

New Jersey continues to be a frontrunner in the solar industry - and for good reason. The state approved multiple policies in 2021 that are set to further boost its installed solar capacity over the next few years.

In August of last year, the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (NJBPU) announced the Successor Solar Incentive (SuSI) program, making way for up to 3,750 MW of additional solar generation by 2026. In October, due to the success of the community solar pilot program, Governor Phil Murphy announced that the state’s three-year community solar pilot would become permanent. While the details of the program are still being finalized, there have been indications that the goal will be to build at least 150 MW of community solar capacity each year.

Another big win for the Garden State’s solar industry came when New Jersey enacted a law that requires new warehouses above 100,000 square feet to install solar on their property. Starting July 2022, each qualifying warehouse must reserve a minimum of 40% of the roof area for installation of a photovoltaic or solar thermal system.

For all these reasons, it is no surprise that New Jersey has installed more than 3,800 MW of cumulative solar capacity and continues to draw top developers. The table below shows the top three developers across solar market segments in 2021. 

Solar Segment
Developer Name
Market Share
Residential Behind-the-Meter (BTM) Solar Market Leaderboard
Q1 2021 - Q4 2021
Vivint/Sunrun 14.9%
Trinity Solar 7.7%
Vision Solar 6.5%
Non-Residential BTM Solar Market Leaderboard
Q1 2021 - Q4 2021
EnterSolar, LLC 5.2%
Distributed Solar Operations 4.4%
Smart Citizens 4.0%
Utility Front-Of-Meter Solar Market Leaderboard


Q1 2021 - Q4 2021
Trustees of Princeton University 42.8%
Goldman Sachs Renewable Power Group 40.5%
Greenbacker Renewable Energy Company 9.31%
Community Solar Market Leaderboard
All-time
Solar Landscape 36.5%
Altus Power 25.2%
CEP Renewables 7.2%

Source: DG+ Research

California

For over two decades, California has maintained its status as the number one state for solar energy in the United States. However, throughout 2021, renewable energy developers remained uncertain about the future of California’s solar market given strong indications that the state will significantly reduce its lucrative solar incentives by implementing a regressive net metering program, called NEM 3.0. The proposal came under fire from industry leaders, environmentalists, and many other Californians, and was called a “rooftop solar-killing measure”. Much to the relief of the solar community, in February 2022, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) decided to delay the NEM 3.0 proposal indefinitely

As the state saw another year of record-breaking devastating fires threatening its electricity infrastructure, many Californians are calling for additional state investments to combat climate change. Based on the state’s track record, these calls to action will most likely translate into a regulatory landscape that increasingly favors solar and other renewable sources of energy over fossil fuels. And, this is why big developers still maintain a strong presence in California. The table below shows the top solar developers in the state over 2021. 

Solar Segment
Developer Name
Market Share
Residential Behind-the-Meter (BTM) Solar Market Leaderboard
Q4 2020 - Q3 2021
Vivint/Sunrun 15.4%
Tesla/SolarCity 10%
SunPower 6%
Non-Residential BTM Solar Market Leaderboard
Q4 2020 - Q3 2021
Coldwell Solar 5.3%
SunPower 5%
Cupertino Electric 3.8%

Utility Front-Of-Meter Solar Market Leaderboard
Q4 2020 - Q3 2021
EDF Renewables 21%
SOLV Energy 14.1%
Clearway Energy 10.8%

Source: DG+ Research

Go Deeper with DG+ State Solar Reports

As local markets change dynamically and clean energy policies remain difficult to navigate, renewable energy companies are currently forced to choose between the overwhelming flow of free information and high-priced market intelligence subscriptions that are often too expensive for small- and medium-sized firms.

At DG+, we provide succinct information that cuts through the noise and gets to the point. Reports include details on current events, opportunities and challenges, policy summaries, PPA pricing analysis, and data on the top clean energy companies in each state.

Check out our suite of research reports across the solar, electric vehicle, and battery storage industries. Or, feel free to reach out to research@dgplusdesign.com to learn how we can do customized research for your company.

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