US solar sector boomed in 2013, growing trend expected to continue through 2014

US solar sector boomed in 2013, growing trend expected to continue through 2014

United States solar industry boomed last year with a record breaking volume of new solar capacity added, almost 5 000 MW. U.S. has installed more solar in last 18 months than in the previous 30 years combined and the growing trend is expected to continue through 2014. 

According to GTM Research and the Solar Energy Industries Association’s (SEIA) Solar Market Insight Year in Review 2013, photovoltaic (PV) installations continued to proliferate, increasing 41% over 2012 to reach 4,751 megawatts (MW). In addition, 410 MW of concentrating solar power (CSP) came online. Solar was the second-largest source of new electricity generating capacity in the U.S., exceeded only by natural gas. Additionally, the cost to install solar fell throughout the year, ending the year 15% below the mark set at the end of 2012.

California continues to lead the U.S. market and installed more than half of all U.S. solar in 2013. The state installed more solar last year than the entire United States did in 2011. 

GTM Research and SEIA forecast another strong year in 2014 with 26% growth in the U.S. solar market. This will bring annual installations up to nearly 6 gigawatts and the cumulative total will be just shy of the twenty gigawatt milestone.

Report key findings:

  • The U.S. installed 4,751 MW of solar PV in 2013, up 41% over 2012 and nearly fifteen times the amount installed in 2008.
  • There is now a total of 12.1 GW of PV and 918 MW of CSP operating in the U.S
  • There were 140,000 individual solar installations in the U.S. in 2013, and a total of over 440,000 systems operating in total today.
  • More solar has been installed in the U.S. in the last 18 months than in the 30 years prior.
  • The market value of all PV installations completed in 2013 was $13.7 billion.
  • Solar accounted for 29% of all new electricity generation capacity in 2013, up from 10% in 2012. This made solar the second-largest source of new generating capacity behind natural gas.
  • Weighted average PV system prices fell 15% in 2013, reaching a new low of $2.59/W in the fourth quarter.
  • We forecast 26% PV installation growth in 2014, with installations reaching nearly 6 GW. Growth will occur in all segments but will be most rapid in the residential market.
  • The U.S. installed 410 MW of concentrating solar (CSP) in 2013, increasing total CSP capacity in the U.S. more than 80%
  • The wave of concentrating solar power installations slated for completion at the end of 2013 into 2014 kicked off with the 280 MWac Solana project and the Genesis Solar project’s initial 125 MWac phase. In early 2014, Brightsource’s iconic Ivanpah project also began operating and SolarReserve’s Crescent Dunes project began commissioning.

Source: SEIA

Featured image: Solar cells by http://www.flickr.com/photos/36692429@N00/6625488207


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Tags: solar energy

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