Over the past few years the amount of new solar power coming online continues to eclipse previous growth. In keeping with what will hopefully remain a tradition the U.S. again surpassed the previous third quarter record for installed solar photovoltaics. In the third quarter of 2014 the U.S. installed 1,354 megawatts of PV that’s up 41 percent over the same period last year when 963 megawatts of new PV came on. The figures are from the quarterly U.S. Solar Market Insight Report released by GTM Research and the Solar Energy Industries Association's (SEIA) today (Dec. 9).
What’s more the quarter was the second strongest for PV—ever—in the U.S. It’s more than was installed in the previous quarter and it’s surpassed only by the fourth quarter of 2013 when 2.1 gigawatts of PV came online—the fourth quarter has historically been when the most PV comes online. In all the report anticipated that the U.S. will install 6.5 GW of PV in 2014, a 36 percent increase over 2013’s record.
The report also found that solar power is making up a larger percentage of the new electric generating capacity that’s coming online. For the first three quarters of the year solar power represented 36 percent of the new electric generating capacity that came online. That’s up from 29 percent last year.
“Solar’s continued, impressive 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),” said Rhone Resch, SEIA president and CEO. “By any measurement, these policies are paying huge dividends for America. Every three minutes of every single day, the U.S. solar industry is flipping the switch on another completed solar project, benefitting both our economy and the environment.”
With the latest figures the U.S.’s solar power production capacity has grown to a total of 17.5 gigawatts, which includes 16.1 gigawatts of PV and 1.4 gigawatts of concentrating solar power (CSP).
The growth was again dominated by utility-scale projects. Fully 825 megawatts of utility-scale PV that came online in the quarter. However, for the first time, the residential market exceeded 300 megawatts of new solar. “Impressively, more than half of this total came online without any state incentive. Residential continues to be the most reliable market segment, now growing 18 out of the past 19 quarters,” SEIA said in a release. “GTM Research forecasts it to exceed the non-residential segment in annual installations for the first time in more than a decade.”
“Residential solar has become a remarkably consistent, growing market” said Shayle Kann, Senior Vice President at GTM Research. “By the end of this year there will be more than 600,000 homes outfitted with solar, and we see no signs of a slowdown next year. By 2017, we expect the residential sector to be the largest in the U.S. solar market.” At that point residential solar growth will outpace that of utility-scale solar power.Tweet