The United States’ solar market hit a major milestone in the second quarter of this year, with more than half a million homes and businesses now generating solar energy. According to GTM Research and the Solar Energy Industries Association’s (SEIA) Q2 2014 U.S. Solar Market Insight Report, the U.S. installed 1,133 MW of solar photovoltaics (PV) in the second quarter of this year.
The residential and commercial segments accounted for nearly half of all solar PV installations in the quarter. The residential market has seen the most consistent growth of any segment for years, and its momentum shows no signs of slowing down.
Across the United States, cumulative PV and concentrating solar power (CSP) operating capacity has eclipsed 15.9 GW, enough to power more than 3.2 million homes.
“Solar continues to soar, providing more and more homes, businesses, schools and government entities across the United States with clean, reliable and affordable electricity,” said SEIA President and CEO Rhone Resch. “Today, the solar industry employs 143,000 Americans and pumps nearly $15 billion a year into our economy. This remarkable growth is due, in large part, to smart and effective public policies, such as the solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC), net energy metering (NEM) and renewable portfolio standards (RPS). By any measurement, these policies are paying huge dividends for both the U.S. economy and our environment – and should be maintained, if not expanded, given their tremendous success, as well as their importance to America’s future.”
Showing continued strength, the utility PV segment made up 55 percent of U.S. solar installations in the second quarter of the year. It has accounted for more than half of national PV installations for the fifth straight quarter. In just two years, the utility segment has quadrupled its cumulative size, growing from 1,784 MW in the first half of 2012 to 7,308 MW today.
“Solar continues to be a primary source of new electric generation capacity in the U.S.” said Shayle Kann, Senior Vice President at GTM Research. “With new sources of capital being unlocked, design and engineering innovations reducing system prices, and sales channels rapidly diversifying, the solar market is quickly gaining steam to drive significant growth for the next few years.”
GTM Research and SEIA forecast 6.5 GW of PV will be installed in the United States by the end of this year, up 36 percent over 2013.
The U.S. installed 1,133 MW of solar PV in Q2 2014, up 21 percent over Q2 2013, making it the fourth-largest quarter for solar installations in the history of the market.
Cumulative operating PV capacity has now eclipsed the 15 GW mark thanks to three consecutive quarters of more than 1 GW installed.
As of the first half of 2014, more than half a million homeowners and commercial customers have installed solar PV.
53 percent of new electric generating capacity in the U.S. in the first half of 2014 came from solar.
Growth remains driven primarily by the utility solar PV market, which installed 625 MW in Q2 2014, up from 543 MW in Q2 2013.
For the first time ever, more than 100 MW of residential PV came online without any state incentive.
We forecast that PV installations will reach 6.5 GW in 2014, up 36 percent over 2013 and more than three times the market size just three years ago.
Q1 2014 was the largest quarter ever for concentrating solar power, due to the completion of the 392 MWac Ivanpah project and Genesis Solar project’s second 125 MWac phase. While Q2 2014 was dormant for CSP, a total of 857 MWac is expected to be completed by year’s end, making 2014 the largest year ever for CSP.
— Solar Builder magazine