There now more than 22.7 gigawatts of solar photovoltaics installed across the U.S. That’s according to the latest U.S. Solar Market Insight Report by the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) GTM Research. It’s the latest sign that solar power is seeing significant growth in the U.S.
The report noted that the U.S. installed 1.4 gigawatts of solar power in the quarter and 2.7 gigawatts in the first half of the year. Overall the U.S. is expected to install 7.7 gigawatts in 2015. That’s up 24 percent from the installations made in 2014.
“The demand for solar energy is now higher than ever and this report spells out how crucial it is for America to maintain smart, effective, forward-looking public policies, like the Investment Tax Credit, beyond 2016,” said Rhone Resch, SEIA President and CEO. “At over 20 GW of installed solar electric capacity, we now have enough solar in the U.S. to power 4.6 million homes.”
Moreover the quarter showed substantial growth in the residential sector. “The residential solar market set yet another quarterly record in the second quarter. With 473 megawatts installed, the segment grew 70 percent year-over-year,” according to SEIA. “On top of that, the residential market is diversifying, with 10 states each installing more than 10 MW in the quarter. This shows significant growth from the same quarter of 2013 when only 4 states installed that much residential solar.” The organization said it anticipates continued growth in all segments, but the most rapid growth will be in the residential market.
While the residential market thrived in the second quarter of the year the commercial market, which installed less than 200 megawatts of solar power in the quarter, was down 33 percent from the same quarter in 2014. That may change, particularly as community solar power grows and markets in states continue to evolve.
Despite the growth in residential solar, utility-scale solar continues to be the largest segment of the solar market, installing 729 megawatts of solar panels—52 percent of all the solar power installed in the quarter.
“The utility PV market continues to be the bedrock driver of new installation growth. And in the second half of this year through 2016, growth will reach new heights as a higher share of what comes online stems from projects procured purely based on centralized solar’s cost competitiveness,” said Shayle Kann, Senior Vice President at GTM Research.
The report anticipated that the utility side of the solar industry will explode in the rest of 2015 and through 2016 as utilities and developers attempt to install solar before the Investment Tax Credit (ITC) ends in 2016. In all, more than 5 gigawatts of utility-scale solar power are under construction in the U.S.
“Since the ITC was passed in 2006, U.S. solar growth has exploded and more than 150,000 American solar jobs have been created. By any measurement, that’s a success for both our economy and environment,” Resch said.Tweet