GTM, SEIA: U.S. solar market grows 95% in 2016; 14.6 GW of solar PV capacity installed last year

U.S. solar PV installations, 2010–2016. Source: GTM Research / SEIA U.S. Solar Market Insight Report
U.S. solar PV installations, 2010–2016. Source: GTM Research / SEIA U.S. Solar Market Insight Report

In its biggest year to date, the United States solar market nearly doubled its annual record, topping out at 14,625 megawatts of solar PV installed in 2016, according to previewed data published by GTM Research and the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) in advance of their upcoming U.S. Solar Market Insight report, set to be released on March 9th.

The 14.6 GW of solar PV installed in 2016 represents a 95 percent increase over the previous record of 7,493 megawatts installed in 2015.

For the first time ever, U.S. solar ranked as the number one source of new electric generating capacity additions on an annual basis. In total, solar accounted for 39 percent of new capacity additions across all fuel types in 2016.

“What these numbers tell you is that the solar industry is a force to be reckoned with,” said Abigail Ross Hopper, SEIA’s president and CEO.

“Solar's economically-winning hand is generating strong growth across all market segments nationwide, leading to more than 260,000 Americans now employed in solar.”

 

“A banner year for U.S. solar”

“In a banner year for U.S. solar, a record 22 states each added more than 100 megawatts,” added Cory Honeyman, GTM Research’s associate director of U.S. solar research.

“While U.S. solar grew across all segments, what stands out is the double digit gigawatt boom in utility-scale solar, primarily due to solar's cost competitiveness with natural gas alternatives.”

 

Community solar, rate design and net metering fueled the market

The non-residential market also exceeded expectations with two major growth drivers in the segment. The first is community solar, adding a record total of more than 200 megawatts, led by Minnesota and Massachusetts. Second, rate design and net energy metering fueled a rush in project development and installation growth across a number of major state markets, most notably in California.

For the first time since 2011, non-residential installation growth surpassed residential solar growth, which posted a still-impressive 2,583 megawatts.

While growth in California’s residential market has begun to level out, strong growth in markets like Maryland, New Jersey and a handful of emerging states where solar has achieved grid parity, helped the residential segment to grow 19 percent year-over-year.

As a result of a remarkable 2016, the U.S. is now home to more than 1.3 million solar PV installations with a cumulative capacity of over 40 gigawatts.

On March 9th, GTM Research and SEIA will release the complete U.S. Solar Market Insight 2016 Year in Review, the industry’s definitive source of state and segment-level solar data, analysis and forecasts.

 

2017-02-15 | Courtesy: GTM Research | solarserver.com © Heindl Server GmbH

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