GTM Research and the Solar Energy Industries Association® (SEIA®), Solar Market Insight: 3rd Quarter 2013 report shows that it has been a stellar year for the solar business in the United States. This quarter's report states that in 2013 Photovoltaic (PV) installations continued to rise, increasing 41% over 2012 to reach 4,751 MW. According to SEIA, there were 52 utility PV projects completed in Q3 2013, totaling 539 MW of capacity. The majority of these projects came from California with one 32 MW project that was completed in Nevada by SunEdison.
Solar was the second-largest source of new electricity generating capacity in the U.S., exceeded only by natural gas. It is the first time in over fifteen years that the U.S. installed more solar capacity than Germany, talk about the source of power!
The residential market continues to see an upswing in the U.S. solar market with PV installations up 49% year-over-year and it is anticipated further expansion up to 52% by the end of Q4. Nearly 31,000 individual residential installations were completed in the third quarter, bringing the cumulative total in the U.S. to 360,000 with California and Arizona showing the strongest in residential growth. The non-residential market continues to struggle but showed 4% growth over 2012 due to commercial, government, school and non-profit installations.
- The U.S. installed 4,751 MW of solar PV in 2013, up 41% over 2012 and nearly fifteen times the amount installed in 2008.
- There is now a total of 12.1 GW of PV and 918 MW of CSP operating in the U.S
- There were 140,000 individual solar installations in the U.S. in 2013, and a total of over 440,000 systems operating in total today.
- More solar has been installed in the U.S. in the last 18 months than in the 30 years prior.
- The market value of all PV installations completed in 2013 was $13.7 billion.
- Solar accounted for 29% of all new electricity generation capacity in 2013, up from 10% in 2012. This made solar the second-largest source of new generating capacity behind natural gas.
- Weighted average PV system prices fell 15% in 2013, reaching a new low of $2.59/W in the fourth quarter.
- SEIA forecasts 26% PV installation growth in 2014, with installations reaching nearly 6 GW. Growth will occur in all segments but will be most rapid in the residential market.
- The U.S. installed 410 MW of concentrating solar (CSP) in 2013, increasing total CSP capacity in the U.S. more than 80%
- The wave of concentrating solar power installations slated for completion at the end of 2013 into 2014 kicked off with the 280 MWac Solana project and the Genesis Solar project's initial 125 MWac phase. In early 2014, Brightsource's iconic Ivanpah project also began operating and SolarReserve's Crescent Dunes project began commissioning
President Obama Gives His Stamp of Approval for Renewable Energy
President Obama supports renewable energy stating government should lead by example, targeting 20% renewable energy use by 2020 for all 500,000 federal buildings. President Obama has urged the federal government to step up its use of renewable energy sources in order to reach a 2020 target of 20% clean energy use.
Solar Outlook for 2014
The U.S. Solar Market Insight predicts that 2014 will be about defining solutions. Solar is not bound by cost, but rather by its role in the electricity sector and as it becomes more mainstream from a technical, market and regulatory perspective will become one of the most important issues in the industry.