What do we mean by owner?
The owner is the entity which owns the solar power plant once it is in commercial operation.
Owners are typically independent power producers (IPPs) or infrastructure funds, often with a number of solar power stations - sometimes as part of a broader renewable of general energy portfolio. Sometimes traditional energy utilities* also own solar generating stations, as do some community groups and property owners wanting to use the power produced.
Some project developers retain ownership of projects they have developed, either for the long term, or pending sale to a new owner.
The owner is responsible for operating the plant, and usually appoints an O&M contractor to oversee its technical performance. Normally the owner is also the selling counterparty in a Power Purchase Agreement with the power-offtaker, and the recipient of any other benefits, such as feed-in tariffs.
Basis of the data used
The data used for the analysis and the table on the left is derived from operating projects of 4MWAC+ according to these criteria.
Plant owner / IPPs are identified against 28% of the operating capacity on the Wiki-Solar Database (of which these top 20 account for 20%). The total capacity for plant owner / IPPs listed may therefore be on average up to four times that identified here (though some do confirm details of their portfolio to Wiki-Solar).
Some owners in this list also fulfil other roles in utility-scale projects. The figures quoted here apply only to operating plants of which they are the owner. Where companies have maps, however, these will show all their projects.