U.S. Solar Market: One MW every 32 minutes


The United States just broke its PV installation record again. Driven by the utility-scale sector there have been 4,143 MW installed. That means an increase of 99 % over the second quarter and 191 % over Q3 2015.

Accordings to GTM Research and the Solar Energy Industries Association’s (SEIA) Q4 2016 U.S. Solar Market Insight report there have been nearly 4,2 GW of PV been installed in the third quarter of the year. This means a rate of one MW every 32 minutes. In the last quarter of this year the rate is expected to be even higher.

The report points out that the utility-scale segment is the key driver of the growth. This segment represents 77 % of the PV installed in Q3. Additional 4.8 GW are expected to come on-line in the fourth quarter.

The non-residential segment posted its second largest quarter ever. With 375 MW installed, the segment grew 15 % over the second quarter of the year and 37 % annually. Part of this growth is attributed to a community solar pipeline that is finally beginning to materialize, a segment that accounted for a record 20 percent of the non-residential PV market in Q3 2016.

The sixth time in a row there have been more than half a GW of residential PV installed; however, the segment is experiencing a slowdown from its peak growth quarters. The segment grew just 2 % year-over-year and actually fell 10 % from last quarter’s total.

Three years ago there have been 10 GW of PV installed in total. By the end of 2016, GTM Research forecasts the U.S. to install 14.1 GW this year alone, up 88 percent over 2015’s total.

“Coming off our largest quarter ever and with an extremely impressive pipeline ahead, it’s safe to say the state of the solar industry here in America is strong,” said Tom Kimbis, SEIA’s interim president. “The solar market now enjoys an economically-winning hand that pays off both financially and environmentally, and American taxpayers have noticed. With a 90 % favorability rating and 209,000 plus jobs, the U.S. solar industry has proven that when you combine smart policies with smart 21st century technology, consumers and businesses both benefit.”

Philipp Kronsbein / SEIA

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