The U.S. installed 7.3 gigawatts of solar power in 2015, a record. In all the U.S. now has 25 gigawatts of solar power online. It also marked the first time that more solar power was installed in the country than natural gas electric generation. Solar power made up 29.5 percent of all the new energy generation in the U.S. last year as well and 17 percent year-over-year growth.
The figures come out ahead of figures from the annual U.S. Solar Market Insight report by GTM Research and the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA). The organizations will release the report on March 9.
“Without a doubt, 2015 was a monumental year for the U.S. solar industry, and perhaps what’s most amazing is that we’re only getting started,” said SEIA president and CEO Rhone Resch. “Over the next few years, we’re going to see solar continue to reach unprecedented heights as our nation makes a shift toward a carbon-free source of energy that also serves as an economic and job-creating engine.”
The early results showed that the residential market experienced 66 percent growth over last year and surpassed 2 gigawatts of new installations for the first time. “The residential solar segment now represents 29 percent of the entire U.S. solar market—its largest share since 2009,” SIEA said.
“The U.S. solar market remains concentrated in key states, with the top ten states accounting for 87 percent of installed capacity in 2015,” said Shayle Kann, Senior Vice President of GTM Research. “But growth has been widespread, and 24 of the 35 states that we track individually saw market growth in 2015.”
While California and Nevada were leaders in new solar installed. Other states, like Massachusetts, New York and North Carolina were also leaders. In addition, Utah and Georgia made giant strides in the amount of solar power installed, jumping from 23rd to 7th place from 16th to 8th, respectively. The amount of solar power installed in 2015 was 8.6 times the capacity installed just five years earlier. The utility-scale sector also had a record year, installing 4 gigawatts in 2015. That’s up 6 percent from 2014. In addition 110 megawatts of concentrating solar power (CSP) came online in late 2015.Tweet