USA’s solar installation in 2016 may surge by 119% from 2015 to 16GW and becomes the second largest solar market in the world, according to an announcement published by Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) and GTM Research.
SEIA and GTM Research expect that the solar installation in 2016 will double from 2015 to 16GW, exceeding Japan and makes USA the second largest solar market in the world. The 16GW figure is slightly higher than the two organizations’ forecast in Q3, 2015 report, which predicted at least 15GW.
The revised installation expectation is due to “a number of projects have landed (construction) agreements or commenced construction ahead of schedule, which has played a part in our upward revision to the utility scale PV forecast,” notes GTM Research Solar Analyst Cory Honeyman. The other reason is that GTM Research expects to see more small utility-scale solar projects within 1MW to 50MW to be developed and constructed in 2016. Both boost the outlook.
According to PV Magazine’s citation to GTM Research, US solar developers and contractors would build a massive amount of solar PV before the anticipated drop of the U.S. Investment Tax Credit (ITC), which has been extended by three years till 2018. GTM Research believes that many of the projects originally planned for 2016 will still be completed in this year, and 74% of nationwide solar installations will be utility-scale projects. However, the organization predicts an installation decrease in 2017 down to 10GW.
In addition, the future trend of U.S.’s rooftop PV will be related to the nation’s community solar programs, corporate procurement of off-site solar and the debate over distributed PV policies.
In contrast to GTM Research’s prediction, EnergyTrend believes that the expected installation rush in 2016 will disappear since the U.S. government has already extended the ITC from the end of 2015 to 2018. Accordingly, Patrick Lin, an analyst at EnergyTrend, projects the U.S. could install around 9GW of solar in 2016 and the scheduled projects will be gradually developed from 2016 to 2018. The U.S. solar market will also increase slightly year by year instead of seeing installation cliff, forecasted EnergyTrend.