US adds 976 MW in second quarter

According to NPD Solarbuzz’s latest North America PV Markets Quarterly report, the U.S. saw an addition of 976 MW of new solar PV capacity in 2Q13. This is a 24% increase quarter-over-quarter from 788 MW in 1Q13. California came out tops in terms of added capacity with new PV installations in the state reaching 521 MW in 2Q13, accounting for 53% of PV added in the country. This is a new record for PV added by any state for a three-month period as Finlay Colville, Vice President at NPD Solarbuzz stated, adding, "California has added 1.6 GW in the past 12 months, with a further 1.1 GW forecast for the second half of the year".

For the third quarter, solar PV demand is forecast to grow 14% quarter-over-quarter to 1.04 GW. Arizona and North Carolina are expected to add 400 MW in the second half of the year and another 500 MW will probably be contributed by New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, and Texas.

According to NPD Solarbuzz new solar PV markets outside of solar development strongholds in the U.S. are also developing. North Carolina is forecast to grow by 80% year-over-year in 2013 to reach 285 MW, with a further 30% growth in 2014. The leading project developer in the state Strata Solar completed nearly 100 MW of projects as of June 2013 over a 12-month period.

Ground-mounted dominates

Ground-mounted PV installations dominated the second quarter occupying 72% while 28% were residential and commercial rooftops. Utility-based PV projects constituted 59% of quarterly demand and 41% was split between commercial and residential installations.

PG&E recently completed several large-scale projects within California, including the California Valley Solar Ranch, phase three of Topaz Solar, phase two of Antelope Valley Solar Ranch, and Gates Solar Farm. Other large ground-mounted projects include the Arizona Public Service Agua Caliente plant and phase one of PG&E’s Copper Mountain Solar 2 in Arizona.

First Solar still has the reins

First Solar continues to hold the giant share of the US module supply market with 22% between 3Q12 and 2Q13. SunPower comes in second with 12% followed by tier-1 Chinese suppliers Yingli Green Energy, Trina Solar, Canadian Solar, and Suntech accounting for a collective 27% of the US market demand.

Strong US growth

The PV demand in the U.S. is forecast to grow 17% year-over-year to reach 4.22 GW. NPD Solarbuzz expects this figure to exceed 5.3 GW in 2014. Over the next 5 years, the U.S. is predicted to then grab 20% of global PV demand as a result of such growth.

The pipeline of commercial and utility projects currently exceeds 44 GW. This pipeline includes more than 2,300 projects of 50 kW and higher, with commercial applications accounting for more than half of the total.