WASHINGTON and BOSTON — GTM Research and the Solar Energy Industries Association® (SEIA®) has released U.S. Solar Market Insight: 3rd Quarter 2013, which indicates the U.S. installed 930 megawatts (MW) of photovoltaics (PV) in the third quarter, up 20 percent over the second quarter, and 35 percent over the third quarter of 2012. This represents the second largest quarter in the history of the U.S. solar market and the largest quarter ever for residential PV installations. Also, 2013 is likely to be the first time in more than 15 years that the U.S. installs more solar capacity than world leader Germany, according to GTM Research forecasts.

“Without a doubt, 2013 will go down as a record-shattering year for the U.S. solar industry,” said Rhone Resch, SEIA president and CEO. “We’ve now joined Germany, China, and Japan as worldwide leaders when it comes to the installation of new solar capacity. This unprecedented growth is helping to create thousands of American jobs, save money for U.S. consumers, and reduce pollution nationwide. When it comes to preparing for America’s future, clean, dependable, and affordable solar energy has become the ‘Little Engine That Could,’ defying expectations and powering economic growth — and, frankly, we’re just scratching the surface of our industry’s enormous potential.”

The residential market continues its rapid growth. Through the third quarter, residential PV installations were up 45 percent year-over-year, driven largely by increasingly attractive economics and by fair net metering policies. The commercial market has seen the most difficulty this year with installations forecasted to stay flat compared to last year. The utility market continues its consistently strong installation numbers and is forecasted to exceed 1 gigawatt (GW) of installations in the fourth quarter, including Abengoa’s Solana, the world’s largest parabolic trough concentrating solar power (CSP) plant with a 6-hour thermal energy storage system. This will be the first time any individual market segment has hit that mark.

“Solar is the second-largest source of new electricity capacity in the U.S. this year, trailing only natural gas,” said Shayle Kann, vice president of research at GTM. “As solar continues its march toward ubiquity, the market will require continued innovation, efficiency improvement, and regulatory clarity. But already the groundwork has been laid for a mainstream solar future.”

At the state-level, California continues to lead the solar PV charge, installing 455 MW in the third quarter. North Carolina moved into the number three spot in total PV installations with 23 percent growth over last quarter. Other big moves in the state rankings were made by Nevada (moving from 17 to 5) and Vermont (from 21 to 12).

Looking at the U.S. solar market as a whole, the report forecasts just over 5 GW of PV and CSP will be installed during 2013. Cumulative solar capacity has already surpassed the 10 GW mark, and by the end of the year more than 400,000 solar projects will be operating across the country.

For more information, visit www.seia.org.

Publication date: 12/16/2013

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