Solar represented 74 percent of all new capacity installed in first quarter, SEIA reports
Solar accounted for 74 percent of all new electricity generating capacity installed during the first quarter of 2014, with a total of 1,571 MW, according to a new report by GTM Research and the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA). Photovoltaic (PV) installations reached 1,330 MW, up 79 percent over the same quarter in 2013, the report said. The utility PV market was responsible for the lion’s share of this growth, installing 873 MW in the first quarter of 2014, up from 322 MW in the same period in 2013. GTM and SEIA forecast that 6.6 GW of photovoltaics will be installed in the U.S. by the end of this year, a 39 percent increase over 2013 and nearly double the market size in 2012.
In the distributed solar market, the first three months of 2014 was the first quarter in recent history in which residential PV installations exceeded commercial installations, the report said. "While this is partially due to the rough winter slowing construction activity in the commercial-heavy Northeast, it is also emblematic of an ongoing trend in rooftop solar; the residential market has been slowly, steadily gaining steam for years, while the non-residential market has shown more irregular growth." SEIA expects the residential market will be larger than the non-residential market on an annual basis as soon as 2016.
"The downside risk in the residential market remains net energy metering and electricity rate structure reform," the SEIA report said. "Although early outcomes in these battlegrounds have been largely favorable for the solar market, we would be remiss to assume that the future will resemble the past. There are more than twenty states with some form of net energy metering legislation or regulation currently in process, and we will be monitoring each one closely."
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