With its PV power market clouded by antidumping and countervailing duties, tax reform, and policy, new PV power capacity installed in the U.S. in 2017 dropped by 10% to 10.6 GW, including the new capacities of residential PV power and utilities which suffered the first decline since 2010, according to a report released by GTM Research and the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA).
Total new capacities of residential PV power plunged by 16%, which the report attributes mainly to slowdown of residential PV power markets in California and the northeastern region of the U.S. Austin Perea, analyst at GTM, pointed out that in contrast to slackened residential PV power market, new capacities of community and commercial PV power expanded vigorously, thanks to installation rush in California and the northeastern region before the expiration of subsidies, as well as 28% growth of the non-residential PV power market in Minnesota.
Perea noted that community PV power burgeoned in 2017, with new capacities even higher than total new capacities of community PV power in entire U.S. in 2016. In 2018, community PV power is expected to thrive throughout the U.S., with Maryland and New York being two major growth drivers.
Based on the concept of sharing, community PV power enables community members to access power supply of third party- or community-owned PV power facilities and is a focus of promotion, along with corporate PV power, by the SEIA. The SEIS is upbeat on outlook of U.S. PV power market, noting that total U.S. PV power capacity in 2017, despite decline, was still 40% higher than the 2015 level.
Abigail Ross Hopper, president of SEIA, expressed that given the effect of section 201 and market adjustment, performance of the U.S. PV power industry in 2017 is still laudable, adding that installation of PV power capacity was expanded further geographically, citing increased installation in the southeastern and central/western regions.
Although GTM and SEIA predict further expansion of the U.S. PV power market, annual new capacity is unlikely to return to the peak level of 15.2 GW in 2016 by 2023.
Imposition of antidumping and countervailing duties on imported solar-energy panels and passage of tax reform by the Trump administration has overshadowed outlook of the PV power market in the next several years. Consequently, GTM has revised downward forecast for new PV power capacity from 2018 through 2022 by 13%. GTM and SEIA, though, still predict that new PV power capacity in the U.S. will reach 10.6 GW in 2018 and will more than double in the next five years before increasing at annual clip of 15 GW after 2023.
(Written by Daisy Chuang; First photo courtesy of SEIA)