SEIA announces solar PV installations running 43% over 2015, expects record results in 2016

Written By: Stratton Report
September 12, 2016


On September 12, Solar Energy Industries Association announced that the U.S. saw 2,051-MW of solar PV installed in the second quarter of 2016. This represented an increase of 43 percent year over year, per GTM Research’s data published in SEIA’s latest U.S. Solar Market Insight report.

Cory Honeyman, GTM Research associate director of U.S. solar research noted: “We’re seeing the beginning of an unprecedented wave of growth that will occur throughout the remainder of 2016, specifically within the utility PV segment. With more than 10 gigawatts of utility PV currently under construction, the second half of this year and the first half of 2017 are on track to continue breaking records for solar capacity additions.”

Per SEIA, utility-scale solar installations accounted for 53 percent of all installed PV in the first half of this year. With an additional 7.8 GW under construction, SEIA anticipates that more solar capacity will be installed in the second half of this year than in any previous year.

The report noted that California’s solar market has experienced a bit of a slowdown, but other state markets, including Utah and Texas, have helped pick up the slack. Residential PV installations grew 1 percent over the first quarter of the year and 29 percent annually.

Tom Kimbis, SEIA’s interim president observed:

“Solar works in all 50 states and this report proves that what many would consider non-traditional markets are now firmly a part of the clean energy movement. While it took us 40 years to hit 1 million U.S. solar installations, we’re expected to hit 2 million within the next two years. That record-breaking growth is made possible by solar’s cost-competitiveness and the vast benefits it provides consumers, our nation’s economy and environment.”

According to the report, the non-residential market experienced constraints in the second quarter of the year due to expiring incentives in the Northeast and growing net-metering debates nationwide, with the U.S. non-residential market segment growing by 5 percent over the first quarter and 50 percent year-over-year.

GTM research predicts that by 2021, more than 30 states in the U.S. will add more than 100 MW of annual capacity, with 20 of those states becoming home to more than 1 GW of total operating solar PV.

The report also highlighted that in the first half of 2016, solar accounted for 26 percent of all new electric generating capacity brought on-line in the U.S.; there was a continuing a trend of geographic demand diffusion, with 11 states adding more than 25 MW in 1H2016; more than 7.8 GWdc of additional projects is expected to come online in 2016; and solar prices continue to drop across all market segments, with prices overall being18 percent lower than they were in 2015.

GTM Research forecasts that 13.9 GWdc of new PV installations will come on-line in 2016, up 85 percent over 2015, with utility PV driving the majority of demand and accounting for over 70 percent of new installations.