The US solar market is surging. Installations for 2014 are expected to jump to 6.6GW in 2014, a rise of more than one third from 2013, and double the rate of 2012. According to Greentech Media, that rate is expected to nearly double gain by 2016. (see graph to the right)
GTM say the solar PV is expected to rise by one third, with the fastest growth (61 per cent) in the residential sector, with California and New York performing particularly well. GTM says that in 2014 there will be a completed solar installation every 2.4 minutes in the US.
Another notable statistic is the surge in concentrated solar thermal, which is poised to have its strongest year on record. And, as this graph below illustrates, the idea that natural gas will displace renewables is something of a myth – only 4 per cent of new installation came from the shale gas industry – 95 per cent of total installations came from solar, wind and geothermal.
Below that are some other highlights of the GTM report.
- The U.S. installed 1,330 MWdc of solar PV in Q1 2014, up 79% over Q1 2013, making it the second-largest quarter for solar installations in the history of the market.
- Cumulative operating PV capacity stood at 13,395 MWdc, with 482,000 individual systems on-line as of the end of Q1 2014.
- Growth was driven primarily by the utility solar market, which installed 873 MWdc in Q1 2014, up from 322 MWdc in Q1 2013.
- Q1 2014 was the first time residential PV installations exceeded non-residential (commercial) installations nationally since 2002.
- For the first time ever, more than 1/3 of residential PV installations came on-line without any state incentive in Q1 2014.
- Q1 2014 saw school, government, and nonprofit PV installations add more than 100 MWdc for the second straight quarter.
- 74% of new electric generating capacity in the U.S. in Q1 2014 came from solar.
- We forecast that PV installations will reach 6.6 GWdc in 2014, up 39% over 2013 and nearly double the market size in 2012.
- Q1 2014 was the largest quarter ever for concentrating solar power due to the completion of the 392 MWac Ivanpah project and Genesis Solar project’s second 125 MWac phase. With a total of 857 MWac expected to be completed by year’s end, 2014 will likely be the largest year for CSP in history.
- Cumulative operating CSP capacity was 1,435 MWac as of the end of Q1 2014.