US solar hits another record

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10 December 2014

NEW YORK: The US continues its clean energy power boom with 1,354 megawatts (MW) of solar photovoltaics (PV) installed between July and September this year, totaling 17.5 gigawatts (GW) cumulative PV capacity.

The figure marks a sharp increase from the same period last year, with a surge of 41% - the second highest all-time figure on record for PV installations.

The data is part of the just released report US Solar Market Insight, compiled by GTM Research and the Solar Energy Industries Association, which demonstrates the continuing surge of renewable energy in the US.

Analyzing the period between January and September 2014, solar energy accounts for more than a third of all capacity installed, with 36% of the energy mix. This is an increase of 29% compared to the same period last year and almost 10% more than the corresponding figure for 2012.

“Solar’s continued, impressive growth is due, in large part, to smart and effective public policies,” said Rhone Resch, SEIA president and CEO. “By any measurement, these policies are paying huge dividends for America. Every three minutes of every single day, the U.S. solar industry is flipping the switch on another completed solar project, benefitting both our economy and the environment.”

The growth is also led by utility-scale PV, which has always been strong in the US. In fact, this sector has accounted for more than half of the total PV installations for more than a year and a half.

Earlier this month, the US Energy Information Administration showed in its electricity generation monthly report that in September, utility-scale PV generated 12.3 GWmore than double compared to the same month last year. However, this encouraging figure still accounts only for 0.4% of the total US energy generation.

But from July to September, the US installed utility-scale projects with a total capacity of 825 MW, another big increase from the 540 MW installed in the same period last year. The residential PV market hit another record, passing for the first time the milestone of 300 MW deployed in three months.

“Residential solar has become a remarkably consistent, growing market,” underlined Shayle Kann, Senior Vice President, GTM Research. “By the end of this year there will be more than 600,000 homes outfitted with solar, and we see no signs of a slowdown next year. By 2017, we expect the residential sector to be the largest in the US solar market.”

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