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U.S. Solar Industry Records Second Largest Quarter Ever

published: 2013-12-13 18:06

GTM Research and the Solar Energy Industries Association® (SEIA®) released a definitive analysis of solar power markets in the US - U.S. Solar Market Insight: 3rd Quarter 2013, providing strategic state-specific data for 28 U.S. states and the District of Columbia.

U.S.’ amount of PV system installation was 930 megawatts (MW) in Q3 2013, a 20% rise compared to 2Q13 and a 35% rise compared to 3Q12. This counts as the second largest quarter in the history of the U.S. solar market and the largest quarter ever for residential PV installations. What’s more important is that 2013 is likely to be the first time US’s solar capacity exceeds Germany, the world leader, according to GTM Research forecasts.

“Without a doubt, 2013 will go down as a record-shattering year for the U.S. solar industry,” said Rhone Resch, SEIA president and CEO. “We’ve now joined Germany, China and Japan as worldwide leaders when it comes to the installation of new solar capacity. This unprecedented growth is helping to create thousands of American jobs, save money for U.S. consumers, and reduce pollution nationwide. When it comes to preparing for America’s future, clean, dependable and affordable solar energy has become the ‘Little Engine That Could,’ defying expectations and powering economic growth – and, frankly, we’re just scratching the surface of our industry’s enormous potential.”

The residential market continues to grow rapidly. Through Q3, residential PV installation increased by 45% YoY, mostly caused by increasingly attractive economics and by fair net metering policies. The non-residential (commercial) market has been through the toughest time this year with installations forecasted remaining flat over last year. The utility market’s strong installation numbers remains and is projected to exceed 1 gigawatt (GW) of installations in the fourth quarter, including Abengoa’s Solana, the world’s largest parabolic trough concentrating solar power (CSP) plant with a 6-hour thermal energy storage system,. This will be the first time any individual market segment has reached that level.

“Solar is the second-largest source of new electricity capacity in the U.S. this year, trailing only natural gas," said Shayle Kann, vice president of research at GTM. "As solar continues its march toward ubiquity, the market will require continued innovation, efficiency improvement and regulatory clarity. But already the groundwork has been laid for a mainstream solar future."

At the state-level, California continues to be the head of the solar PV charge, installing 455MW in Q13. North Carolina has become the number three spot in total PV installations with 23% growth over last quarter. Other movers and shakers on the state rankings list are Nevada (moving from 17 to 5) and Vermont (from 21 to 12).

Judging from the U.S. solar market as a whole, U.S. Solar Market Insight: 3rd Quarter 2013 projects just over 5GW of PV and CSP will be installed during 2013. While cumulative solar capacity has already exceeded 10GW, more than 400,000 solar projects will be conducting across the country by the end of the year.

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