NPD Solarbuzz: Rapid growth of U.S. solar PV market threatened by policy changes

The United States has seen sharp growth in both the utility-scale and DG segments
The United States has seen sharp growth in both the utility-scale and DG segments

NPD Solarbuzz (Santa Clara, California, U.S.) predicts that cumulative installed solar photovoltaic (PV) capacity in the United States will near 20 GW by the end of 2014, representing a 50% annual growth rate since 2006.

However, the company warns that there are threats to the sector, including efforts to roll back renewable portfolio standard (RPS) and net metering policies at the state level. The most urgent threat identified is the uncertainty related to the trade investigation of PV products from China and Taiwan.

“If state-level policies were dramatically scaled-back, or the supply of PV modules was severely restricted, this could prompt a decline in demand or an increase in pricing,” said NPD Solarbuzz Senior Analyst Michael Barker.

“While policy changes would typically take some time to filter through to the demand profile at the state level, any change on the trade cases could have a much quicker – and countrywide – impact.”

The United States installed 4.34 GW of PV in 2013 to reach 12.1 GW by the end of the year, according to an analysis by GTM Research (Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.).


Utility-scale segment growing the fastest

NPD Solarbuzz notes that all U.S. market sectors are growing, but that utility-scale PV is growing the fastest. The company expects utility-scale PV to represent roughly 2/3 of installed capacity by the end of 2014.

The company cites an influx of new capital for both centralized and distributed generation (DG), noting that the third-party ownership model is providing a boost to the DG segment.

“With solar PV systems being recognized as a source of (relatively) low-risk long-term revenues, this asset class is proving increasingly attractive for installers and utility companies, as well as institutional investors and private owners/municipalities,” notes Barker.


2014-05-21 | Courtesy: NPD Solarbuzz; Image: NRG Energy | © Heindl Server GmbH

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