The World's #1 Renewable Energy Network for News, Information, and Companies.
Untitled Document

US Joins 10-GW Solar PV Club, Prepares For Liftoff

The U.S. now has more than 10 gigawatts (GW) of installed solar PV capacity, joining Germany, Italy, and China — and it's just getting warmed up, according to new calculations from NPD SolarBuzz. And watch for the next 10-GW Club member that's fast approaching.

Solar PV installations in the U.S. totaled 1.8 GW through the first six months of 2013. That isn't quite at the midpoint of SolarBuzz's forecasted 4.3 GW for the entire year, but that's still the expectation because the majority of the U.S. solar market should be realized in the second half of the year, much like we saw in 2012, plus there's a crop of large-scale solar projects coming online, noted senior analyst Michael Barker. In fact he thinks there could be about half a gigawatt of upside to that 4.3 GW depending the timing of some projects that might come in earlier than anticipated. 

(Recent data from SEIA and GTM Research ballparked about 8.5 GW of cumulative installed solar electric capacity in March of this year, with a full-year prediction of 4-5 GW in new installations, which similarly lined up for a 10-GW crossover right around now.)

With the 10-GW milestone in hand, the U.S. solar PV market isn't looking back. SolarBuzz expects the market to hit 17 GW by the end of 2014, representing 80 percent growth over 18 months.

Regional distribution of the U.S.' 10 GW of installed solar PV. (Credit: SolarBuzz)

Compared with most other countries' more centralized and nationalized solar energy support schemes, the U.S. solar market is more accurately defined, according to Barker, as a collection of "50 state-based markets with a layer of federal policy." And so credit solar incentive programs among the most solar-friendly states in the far-West and Mid-Atlantic regions, though Southwest and Southeast regions are increasing their contributions as well. And a comparative lack of ongoing solar development in the Great Plains and Great Lakes is really just "further market upside going forward," noted SolarBuzz analyst Chris Sunsong.

Besides individual state support schemes, what's driving the U.S. solar market? From one perspective, U.S. residential solar demand continues to surge, and third-party-owned solar residential in particular. System pricing declines also are playing a major role, especially driving the utility segment. SEIA/GTM numbers for 1Q13 showed system price-points for utility-scale solar at $2.14/W and residential systems at $4.93/W; SolarBuzz ballparks residential solar PV at around $4.25/W and large utility-scale PV projects at around $3/W.

Worldwide solar PV demand reached 15 GW through the first six months of this year, roughly a 9 percent increase from a year ago, and cumulative solar PV installations are about 116.5 GW, according to SolarBuzz. In each scenario, more than half (60 percent) comes from four countries: Germany, China, Japan, and the U.S.; in cumulative capacity only Japan is close to them, and Spain and France are distant at around 4.5 GW and 4 GW respectively. In the second half of this year, China and Japan should account for nearly half of the solar PV demand all by themselves. By contrast, in 2H12 Europe made up half of global demand, and three years ago China and Japan contributed less than 10 percent of second-half-annual demand, according to the firm.

Note that Japan, which is having a stellar 2013 for solar PV, is catching up fast behind the U.S. in solar PV capacity and could top 10 GW cumulative in the next couple of months. What's driving the Japanese market these days is the non-residential feed-in tariff, which is helping the utility segment really take off, Barker said. Japan has kept up a good pace of implementing projects "relatively rapidly" but there are signs that the processes are slowing a bit, he noted.

Lead image: Red carpet in desert sands, via Shutterstock

Untitled Document

RELATED ARTICLES

States Already Seek To Delay Clean Power Plan

Andrew Harris, Bloomberg Fifteen states led by coal-rich West Virginia asked a federal court to stall Obama administration rules intended to c...

Stolen Solar Panels and Sabotage A Challenge for Powering India With Renewable Energy

Anindya Upadhyay, Bloomberg Disappointment spread across Tarun Singh’s face when he saw that parts of his solar power microgrid in eastern India’...

Suntech Parent Company Buys Majority Share of US-based Suniva

Ehren Goossens Shunfeng International Clean Energy Ltd., the Hong Kong-based solar company controlled by billionaire Zheng Jianming,...

Sunrise in Pakistan as the Country Delves into Solar PV

Robert Harker Pakistan has joined the list of countries that are exploring solar power as a means to bridge critical energy generat...

PRESS RELEASES

Intersolar AWARD „Solar Projects in India“ – Applications being accepted until September 18

The Intersolar AWARD in the category Solar Projects in India honors projects in the fie...

OFS Announces Commercial Availability of InvisiLight® MDU Optical Solution for Multiple Dwelling Units

OFS, a leading-edge designer, manufacturer and supplier of innovative fiber optic netwo...

New local energy partnership brings innovative solar tracker to Washington State

A new partnership will bring the innovative AllEarth Solar Tracker solar electric syste...

30 days to GRC Annual Meeting & GEA Geothermal Energy Expo

The Geothermal Resources Council (GRC) has announced that it is only 30 days to go to t...

FEATURED BLOGS

Washington, DC Bridges the Solar Gap

The District of Columbia has enjoyed 15 years of strong economic growth. But prosperity is spread unevenly across the...

Cronimet / THEnergy study: In solar for mines size does not always matter - Reducing CAPEX with energy efficiency and load shifting

Munich, September 2015. Mining companies are constantly gaining interest in solar solutions because frequently solar ...

Final Program Now Available for GRC Annual Meeting & GEA Geothermal Energy Expo

GRC Annual Meeting & GEA Geothermal Energy Expo - Final Program from

Vacancy? No Problem!

Have you ever tried to sell an efficiency product or service to a prospect that owns or manages a building with high ...

FINANCIAL NEWS

Jim is Contributing Editor for RenewableEnergyWorld.com, covering the solar and wind beats. He previously was associate editor for Solid State Technology and Photovoltaics World, and has covered semiconductor manufacturing and related industries, ...

CURRENT MAGAZINE ISSUE

Volume 18, Issue 4
1507REW_C11

STAY CONNECTED

To register for our free
e-Newsletters, subscribe today:

SOCIAL ACTIVITY

Tweet the Editors! @jennrunyon

FEATURED PARTNERS



EVENTS

Intersolar South America 2015

Exhibition and Conference: September 1-3, 2015 Intersolar South America ...

Intersolar Europe 2016

Exhibition: June 22-24, 2016; Conference: June 21-22, 2016 Intersolar Eu...

Intersolar India 2015

Exhibition and Conference: November 18-20, 2015 Intersolar India 2015 I...

COMPANY BLOGS

How To Recruit An Internal Ally

When you’re collecting information for a proposal, the person with...

The Proof Is Not Always In The Pudding

One of the best ways to turn a skeptical prospect into a buyer is to giv...

Pushing Beyond The Cushion

Efficiency projects are all too often viewed as “optional” o...

NEWSLETTERS

Renewable Energy: Subscribe Now

Solar Energy: Subscribe Now

Wind Energy: Subscribe Now

Geothermal Energy: Subscribe Now

Bioenergy: Subscribe Now  

 

FEATURED PARTNERS