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U.S. Solar Industry on Course to Have Record-Shattering Year

Energy

Solar Energy Industries Association

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

Green Tech Media Research (GTM) and the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) today release U.S. Solar Market Insight: 2nd Quarter 2013, the definitive analysis of solar power markets in the U.S., with strategic state-specific data for 28 U.S. states and the District of Columbia.

Showing continued growth in the solar market, this quarter’s report finds that the U.S. installed 832 megawatts (MW) in the second quarter (Q2) in 2013, representing 15 percent growth over the first quarter of this year. It was solar’s second best quarter ever.

The largest share of photovoltaic (PV) installations came from the utility sector, with 38 completed projects totaling 452 MW, a jump of 42 percent over last quarter. The residential market experienced a slight hiccup in Q2 2013, breaking its streak of incremental quarterly growth with a flat quarter, and in the non-residential (commercial) market, only 13 out of the 28 states tracked in the report showed quarterly growth. However, the report forecasts a resumption of growth in the second half of 2013, with 4.4 GW of PV expected to come online this year, up from 3.3 GW in 2012, an overall annual growth rate of thirty percent.

As always, the solar market experienced significant variability across states in Q2 2013. California installations increased seven percent over Q1 2013 despite the end of incentives in some states—an indicator of solar’s increasing competitiveness. Overall, 20 of the 28 states tracked in the report are on pace to increase their annual installation of solar energy over 2012.

“Distributed generation is the big story in the U.S. solar market this year,” said Shayle Kann, Vice President of Research at GTM. “We expect significant growth, especially in the residential sector, but the future will be dictated by the increasingly-complex nexus between the solar industry and utilities.”

Looking at the U.S. solar market on the whole, U.S. Solar Market Insight: 2nd Quarter 2013 forecasts more than five gigawatts (GW) of PV and concentrating solar power (CSP) will be installed by the end of 2013. At that time, cumulative solar PV capacity will surpass 10 GW.

“America’s solar energy industry remains on course to have another record-shattering year,” said SEIA President and CEO Rhone Resch. "Today, there’s more than 9,370 megawatts (MW) of total solar electric capacity across the U.S.—enough to power more than 1.5 million American homes, including the White House." 

"We’re helping to create new jobs, grow the U.S. economy, strengthen our nation’s long-term energy security and fight climate change," Resch concluded. "That’s a win-win in anyone’s book.”

Key Report Findings:

  • PV installations totaled 832 MW in Q2 2013, up 15 percent over Q1 2013
  • Cumulative operating PV capacity in the U.S. now stands at 8,858 MW
  • 4,372 MW of PV are forecast to be installed in 2013, up from 3,366 MW in 2012, a 30 percent growth rate
  • The utility market completed 38 projects totaling 452 MW; there are currently 4.1 GW of utility-scale projects in construction
  • The residential market was flat quarter-over-quarter, breaking its streak of incremental quarterly growth
  • The non-residential market was down in Q2, continuing a relatively light year for the segment
  • BrightSource Energy’s 392 MWac Ivanpah CSP project is on schedule to deliver electricity to the grid in late 2013

 

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