Solar photovoltaic (PV) installations reached 930 MW in Q3 2013, up 20% over Q2 2013 and this “represents the second-largest quarter for solar installations in U.S. history,” according to a new industry report.
GTM Research and the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) released the quarterly U.S. Solar Market Insight publication Dec. 17.
The solar PV installations for the past quarter are also 35% more than Q312, the report states.
“We forecast that the U.S. will install a total of 4.3 GW of new PV in 2013, up 27% over 2012,” according to the findings.
While the full report is available for sale, a free executive summary shows that 2013 is shaping up as one of the biggest years set for solar power in the United States.
“2013 may be the first year in more than a decade in which the U.S. installs more solar capacity than Germany,” according to the report. “As we approach the end of 2013, it remains clear that this will be a banner year for solar in the United States,” say SEIA and GTM. “Installations have already surpassed the 10 GW cumulative mark, and by the end of the year, more than 400,000 individual solar projects will be operating across the country.”
“The utility market has seen consistent, strong installations through Q3 and we anticipate that the market will have a quarter with over 1 GW of installations in Q4, the first time any individual market segment has exceeded that mark,” GTM and SEIA go on to report.
The report says that “blended average PV system prices” are now at a new low of $3.00/Watt.
The report also found that 2013 has been a good year for the solar market from a legislative and regulatory perspective. The industry has achieved broadly favorable outcomes across many different areas. This includes net metering decisions in California, Arizona, Louisiana, and Idaho, as well as new solar deployment programs in Minnesota, Georgia, Massachusetts, and New York.
While the utility solar sector represented more than half of new PV capacity installed, the residential market showed significant growth and posted the segment’s largest quarter in history with 186 MW installed.
The wave of concentrating solar power installations slated for completion at the end of this year kicked off with the 280 MW-AC Abengoa Solar’s Solana project, which came online in October 2013.
The state solar PV rankings for 3Q13 were led by California with 455 MW installed during the quarter followed by Arizona (169 MW) and North Carolina (69 MW).
The three largest solar PV projects to be completed during the quarter include the 124-MW LS Power Arlington Valley Solar II, phase 2 project in Arizona; the 82-MW EDF Renewable Energy Catalina Solar – Phase II project in California; and the 81-MW Tenaska Solar Ventures Imperial Solar Energy South, Phase 2 project in California.
All three of those solar projects sell power to San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E), a Sempra Energy (NYSE:SRE) subsidiary.