SEIA report says solar market continues healthy growth

About 723 MW of solar photovoltaic (PV) generating capacity was installed in the United States during the first quarter of 2012, which is a 33% increase over 1Q12.

That’s one of the highlights of the latest Solar Market Insight reported published June 11 by GTM Research and the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA).

“We expect that the next four years will be marked by a new solar revolution in the U.S., this time driven by the distributed generation (DG) market,” the organizations said in the report. “Whereas residential and commercial solar markets have historically been effectively capped by the availability of state- and utility-level incentives, solar has now become cost-effective in some markets with only the federal investment tax credit (ITC), accelerated depreciation and net metering.”

Cumulative domestic operating PV capacity now stands at 7,962 MW. The residential market grew 53% over Q1 2012 and 11% over Q4 2012, continuing its streak of consistent incremental quarterly growth, according to the report.

The non-residential market shrank 20% on both a quarterly and annual basis, which reflects slow demand across a number of major markets.

The utility market, however, more than doubled year-over-year, with 24 utility PV projects completed in Q1 2013, SEIA/GTM said in the report.

Meanwhile solar power costs continue to decline. The average residential PV system price fell below $5.00/Watt, while the average non-residential system price fell below $4.00/Watt, the report said.

In addition, 6 MW AC of concentrating solar capacity (CSP) was installed, including SunPower’s first commercial deployment of its C7 low-concentrating PV tracker technology; cumulative operating CSP and CPV capacity now stands at 552 MW AC.

The SEIA/GTM report said 2013 should see the most CSP commissioned in history with more than 900 MW AC expected to come on-line. BrightSource Energy’s Ivanpah project is on track to be completed in 2013; as of now, all units are more than 85% complete.

California continues to have the highest amount of installed residential solar PV with 408 MW. New Jersey is second –and tops in the East with more than 75 MW. Hawaii is third with more than 43 MW.


About Wayne Barber 4201 Articles
Wayne Barber, Chief Analyst for the GenerationHub, has been covering power generation, energy and natural resources issues at national publications for more than 20 years. Prior to joining PennWell he was editor of Generation Markets Week at SNL Financial for nine years. He has also worked as a business journalist at both McGraw-Hill and Financial Times Energy. Wayne also worked as a newspaper reporter for several years. During his career has visited nuclear reactors and coal mines as well as coal and natural gas power plants. Wayne can be reached at