US solar market set to grow

The analysis has stated that the current 1.4 gigawatts of installed power capacity in the U.S. can grow to 44 gigawatts by 2020 should the industry attract enough investment into the sector. The forecasted capacity from the large-scale solar thermal projects is projected to increase from 0.4GW to 14GW by 2020 and for photovoltaics, an annual 34 percent growth to 30GW by the same year.

The research shows that although the cost of a standard PV module has dropped by more than half in the last two years, solar power in comparison to other sources is still expensive. Bloomberg places the unsubsidized costs of best-in-class PV and solar thermal electricity generation at just below US$200 per megawatt hour which is four times the cost of a coal power plant at US$56 per megawatt hour. Nevertheless, the analysts believe that the policy measures will drive the solar sector and sink the costs.

“Policy, rather than sunshine, will remain the US’s greatest solar resource

for the next few years," stated Milo Sjardin, Bloomberg New Energy Finance’s U.S.

head of research. "By the middle of this decade, however, the U.S. retail solar

market will be driven by fundamental, unsubsidized competition, which should

transform the US into one of the world’s most dynamic solar markets.”