Solar Juggernaut Keeps Rolling in US
June 13, 2014
Peter Kelly-Detwiler in Forbes
The U.S. installed 1,330 megawatts (MW) of solar photovoltaics in the first three months of 2014. Numbers from GTM Research and the Solar EnergyIndustry Association (SEIA) came out recently showing the second highest quarter in market history. These figures were almost 80% above Q1 of last year.
The cumulative number for solar PV – as of March 31 – is just under 13,400 MW, comprised of 482,000 separate stand-alone systems. The majority of new installed capacity came from the utility sector, with over 800 MW.
GTM Research and the SEIA predict a total of 6,600 MW will be installed by year’s end. Early next year, the country should pass the 20,000 MW mark for total installed capacity – a figure which would have been undreamt of just a few years ago.
Two facts which may surprise the average observer:
1) 76% of new U.S. generating capacity in Q1 came from solar;
2) Over a third of residential PV systems were installed without the benefit of state incentives.
The latter demonstrates that we are inching closer to grid parity in many states. Of course, the 30% federal investment tax credit still supports the industry. But if panel costs remain relatively stable, and balance of systems continue to fall, we start to get within striking distance in more markets.
Meanwhile, third-party financing continues to oxygenate the blood of the commercial and residential on-site solar market. Mercom Capital indicated in its most recent newsletter that over $1 billion was raised for third-party financing in the first quarter.