Energy I-SPARK currently details the value chains for on-shore wind and utility-scale photovoltaic (PV) solar electricity generation in the U.S. As of 2017, these methods accounted for approximately 6.3% and 1.3% of total generation (megawatt hours), respectively, and are growing rapidly in terms of capacity, generation, and impact on U.S. power markets and energy systems.[footnote ref=”eia_generation_landing_page”] In the future, we aim to add value chains for other electricity generation types (e.g., combined cycle natural gas, rooftop PV, etc.).
On-Shore Wind: In this value chain, we focus on on-shore (as opposed to off-shore) wind turbine systems. In these systems, wind rotates turbine blades, transferring energy to a generator housed, with other components, inside a nacelle. We divide the on-shore wind value chain into two main steps: 1) Turbine Manufacturing, which includes three sub-steps for critical components: Rotor Blade, Nacelle, and Tower, and 2) Project Development and EPC (Engineering, Procurement, and Construction), in which we discuss the processes involved in siting, permitting, financing, and constructing an on-shore wind facility (including construction of balance of plant infrastructure, such as access roads, foundations, substations, etc.).
Utility-Scale PV: In this value chain, we focus on utility-scale solar power generated using photovoltaic (PV) technology. Photovoltaic materials convert solar radiation to electric energy when photons (particles of light) knock electrons free from atoms, generating a flow of electricity; this process is known as the photovoltaic effect. We divide the utility-scale solar value chain into three steps: 1) Module Manufacturing, which details the processes of manufacturing crystalline silicon and thin film PV modules and their intermediate components, 2) Balance of System, which describes the processes of manufacturing other key components of a PV system, particularly inverters and racking, and 3) Project Development and EPC (Engineering, Procurement, and Construction), in which we discuss the processes involved in siting, permitting, financing, and constructing a utility-scale PV facility.
The figure below, highlights in blue the flows of energy, money, and knowledge between the actors associated with electricity generation value chains.
Select On-Shore Wind or Utility-Scale PV from the Generation Technologies drop-down menu above to bring up a page with summary information on the value chain, or follow the drop-down menu directly to a specific value chain segment (e.g., Module Manufacturing). After choosing a value chain segment, select a data category to view more detailed information (i.e., descriptive information, innovative outcomes, strategic conditions, knowledge conditions).