In the second quarter of 2016 the US installed 2,051 megawatts of photovoltaic (PV) solar panels, a record for the quarter and a 43 percent increase over the same quarter in 2015 and 26 percent of all the newly installed electric generation in the US. That’s according to the most recent U.S. Solar Market Insight report GTM Research and the Solar Energy Industries Association’s (SEIA) report released today (Sept. 12).
The report found that nearly 8 more gigawatts of utility-scale solar power will come online by the end of 2016 bringing the total amount of PV slated for installation by the end of the year to 13.9 gigawatts. That would represent a growth of 85 percent over 2015. The growth is largely driven by previous anticipation that the investment tax credit would end in 2016 but it was extended in late 2015.
SEIA and GTM stated that over each of the last 11 quarters more than a gigawatt (GW) of solar panels were installed. It’s also only the fourth time that the US has installed more than 2 gigawatts of solar panels in a quarter.
“We’re seeing the beginning of an unprecedented wave of growth that will occur throughout the remainder of 2016, specifically within the utility PV segment,” said Cory Honeyman, GTM Research associate director of U.S. solar research. “With more than 10 gigawatts of utility PV currently under construction, the second half of this year and the first half of 2017 are on track to continue breaking records for solar capacity additions.”
While the utility-scale sector made up the majority of new solar installations at more than 1 gigawatt (53 percent) the residential solar sector also saw impressive growth on a year over year basis with 650 megawatts of new installations, a 29 percent growth rate. While the residential sector showed strong growth on a year over year basis it only grew about 1 percent over the prior quarter.
Earlier this year SIEA reported that more than 1 million US homes have gone solar. While the largest market for residential solar power, California, remains the biggest growth in the state sagged a little while it picked up in other states like Utah and Texas.
“Solar works in all 50 states and this report proves that what many would consider non-traditional markets are now firmly a part of the clean energy movement,” said Tom Kimbis, SEIA’s interim president. “While it took us 40 years to hit 1 million U.S. solar installations, we’re expected to hit 2 million within the next two years. That record-breaking growth is made possible by solar’s cost-competitiveness and the vast benefits it provides consumers, our nation’s economy and environment.”Tweet