GTM Research is out with its "Solar Market Insight" report for the second quarter of 2016, and there's a lot of good news for the U.S. solar industry. Here are a few highlights from the report's executive summary.
- The first three months of 2016 were the largest non-Q4 quarter for solar in U.S. history: "The U.S. installed 1,665 MWdc of solar PV in Q1 2016, increasing 24% over Q1 2015. This quarter is the largest non-Q4 in U.S. the history of the U.S. solar industry."
- U.S. now over 1 million solar installations. "In Q1 2016, the cumulative number of U.S.solar installations brought on-line eclipsed 1 million, representing 27.5 GWdc in operating capacity."
- Solar is increasingly the top new power generation option in the U.S. "In Q1 2016, solar accounted for 64% of all new electric generating capacity brought online in the U.S."
- Big increase in new solar PV in 2016 expected. "GTM Research forecasts that 14.5 GWdc of new PV installations will come on-line in 2016, up 94% over 2015. Utility PV is expected to drive the majority of demand, accounting for nearly three-fourths of new capacity."
- Hardware and "soft costs" reductions are driving solar PV prices lower. "In Q1 2016, overall system pricing fell by up to 8.8%,depending on the market segment, with the largest declines in the utility tracking sector. On a quarterly basis, pricing continues to trend downward across all market segments. After a relatively stagnant 2015, residential system prices fell 8.3% in Q1 2016.This decrease is due to continued hardware cost reductions and an increased focus on tackling soft costs."
- U.S. solar PV installations will surpass 20 GWdc in 2021. See the graphic below, which shows a decline in new installations in 2017-2018, followed by a sharp ramp-up in 2019-2021. In sum, for U.S. solar, there are exciting times ahead!