Monday, July 15, 2013

America Surpasses a Solar PV Milestone and Keeps Going

NPD Solarbuzz reports that due in part to state incentive programs, the US has installed more than 1.8 gigawatts (GWs) of solar photovoltaics (PV) in the first half of 2013, pushing the nation beyond 10 GWs. Solar PV is a semiconductor technology used for generating electricity by converting the the sun's rays into electricity. America joins Germany, Italy and China which have already produced more than 10 gigawatts of solar power.

The performance of US solar in the first half of 2013 exceeds the growth of solar in the first half of 2012 (1.8 GWs compared to 1.3 GWs). The Utility-scale market was responsible for at least 45 percent of solar PV installations.

The report forecasts ongoing growth in the solar sector, “Cumulative solar PV installations are forecast to increase an additional 80 percent over the next 18 months, surpassing 17 GW by the end of 2014.”

While we have seen strong solar performances from the Southwest and Southeast regions there are tremendous opportunities for growth in the Great Plains and Great Lakes regions.

According to the SEIA report. “Solar PV has been one of the fastest growing energy sources in the US over the past six years, with a compound annual growth rate of over 50 percent since 2007,” Most of Solar's U.S. growth (83 percent) has occurred since 2010.

The declining price of solar since 2011 is driving this growth. “Average installed system prices in the US have declined from around $6 per watt two years ago to approximately $4.25 per watt for residential installations and $3 per watt for large utility-scale PV projects today,” the report states.

The Department of Energy’s SunShot Initiative is aiming at the ambitious target of $1 per installed watt. NPD Solarbuzz states that almost 1,400 solar PV installations in excess of 500kW size have been completed across 39 different states so far. This has accounted for approximately 5.4GW of new capacity in the US. Nearly 40 percent of the new capacity has been installed in California.

© 2013, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.

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