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Fitch Research Sees Massive New Solar Potential in Midwestern U.S.

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Market analysts at Fitch Solutions Macro Research are looking to the Midwestern United States to supply a large share of the 100 gigawatts of new solar capacity it sees the country adding over the next decade.

PV Magazine says [1] the prediction is based on 79 gigawatts of potential in the region’s three grid services areas—the Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO), the Southwest Power Pool (SPP), and PJM Interconnection.

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“Fitch expects that this unprecedented development will be driven by the strengthened renewable energy targets of Midwest states, cities, and utilities,” the publication states, in a post republished by the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA). “Chiefly among these targets, Fitch references Wisconsin’s 100% carbon-free electricity by 2050 goal, the 100% renewable electricity pledges made by Chicago, Illinois and Madison, Wisconsin, [power utilities] DTE’s and Xcel [3]’s plans for carbon neutrality by 2050, and the litany of renewable energy-based requests for proposals sweeping the region.”

Fitch reaches its startling conclusion without even acknowledging “the trend of large corporations increasingly adopting renewable generations to fulfill their power needs,” PV Magazine adds. “The report, however, also attributes the projected growth to year-over-year improvements in the technologies associated with solar projects, the ever-falling costs of developing and installing solar, and the expanding adoption of community solar initiatives in the region.”

The story points to new community programs getting off the ground this year in Illinois, Iowa, Missouri, and Nebraska.

PV Mag notes that Fitch’s “incredibly bullish view” goes beyond the projections from industry analysts at Wood Mackenzie and the Solar Energy Industries Association. Then again, “the 79-GW project pipeline only includes projects to be completed through 2023,” the publication adds. “So if even a third of that goes online, that would lend major credence to the optimistic projections for the region as a whole.”