The first quarter of 2017 was U.S. solar market’s sixth straight quarter in which more than two gigawatts of solar PV capacity added, according to the latest U.S. Solar Market Insight Report published by SEIA and GTM Research. Dropping PV price took part in the continuous demand.
"The solar market clearly remains on a strong upward trajectory," said Abigail Ross Hopper, SEIA's president and CEO. "Solar is delivering more clean energy, adding jobs 17 times faster than the U.S. economy and creating tens of billions of dollars in investment. With its cost-competitiveness, we know solar will continue to play a growing role in America's energy portfolio."
SEIA and GTM Research’s report shows that the U.S. market added 2,044MW of new solar capacity in the first three month of 2017, in which more than one gigawatt was installation of utility-scale projects. PV price for utility-scale systems have dropped below US$1 per watt for the first time.
The report also points out that many of the newly constructed utility-scale PV systems comes from projects that were originally slated for completion in 2016, but ended up being pushed back due to the extension of the federal Investment Tax Credit. GTM Research expects 2017 the whole year to be benefited from those “spill-over” projects.
As for the year 2017, GTM Research forecasts a total of 12.6GW new installations to come online, decreasing by 10% from 2016.
The key findings from the report are:
- In Q1 2017, the U.S. market installed 2,044 MWdc of solar PV.
- In Q1, solar was the second largest source of new electric generating capacity additions brought on-line, responsible for 30% of new generation, second only to natural gas.
- Despite accounting for its lowest share of the residential market at 35%, California is still the largest state market for residential PV, though contraction in the state was the primary driver behind the national residential market falling 17% over Q1 2016.
- Community solar continues to be a bright spot for non-residential PV with deployments in Minnesota helping the segment grow more than 30% over Q1 2016.
- Installed system prices continue to drop across all market segments, with fixed-tilt utility-scale systems dipping under the $1/watt barrier for the first time.
- GTM Research forecasts that 12.6 GWdc of new PV installations will come on-line in 2017, down 10% from a record-breaking 2016.
- Total installed U.S. solar PV capacity is expected to nearly triple over the next five years. By 2022, more than 18 GW of solar PV capacity will be installed annually.
- Suniva's filing of a Section 201 petition to impose trade remedies on foreign-manufactured cells and modules threatens to significantly reduce PV installations across all segments if accepted in its current state. The nuances of this case are detailed in the full report.
(Photo Courtesy to SolarWorld Americas)