Second-largest ever quarter for US PV industry


A report by SEIA and GTM Research has revealed that the U.S. solar industry installed 930 MW of PV capacity in the third quarter of 2013, making it the second-largest ever quarter for the industry.

The U.S. Solar Market Insight: 3rd Quarter 2013 report – which analyzed strategic state-specific data for 28 states and the District of Columbia – found that this year’s third quarter results represented a 20% growth on the second quarter, and were 35% up on the same quarter last year. It was also the largest-ever quarter for residential PV installations, with capacity growing by 186 MW – a year-on-year increase of 45%.

SEIA and GTM Research also reported that the U.S. is on course to install more PV capacity in 2013 than Germany for the first time in 15 years.

"Without a doubt, 2013 will go down as a record-shattering year for the U.S. solar industry," said SEIA president and CEO, Rhone Resch. "We’ve now joined Germany, China and Japan as worldwide leaders when it comes to the installation of new solar capacity. This unprecedented growth is helping to create thousands of American jobs, save money for U.S. consumers , and reduce pollution nationwide."

Resch added that clean and affordable solar energy is becoming increasingly key for America’s economy, confounding skeptics and defying expectations. "Frankly, we’re just scratching the surface of our industry’s enormous potential," he said.

Surging residential, flat commercial

The residential sector’s strong solar showing has been driven by increasingly attractive economics and fair net metering policies throughout the U.S. states that have actively promoted solar energy, resulting in 45% growth in just a year. However, the situation was less robust for the non-residential (commercial) market, with flat growth recorded year-on-year.

At the utility scale, installation figures remain extremely strong, with the fourth and final quarter of the year shaping up to post installation figures in excess of 1 GW. State-by-state, California has cemented its position in top spot for solar by adding 455 MW of PV capacity in the third quarter, with Arizona unmovable in second spot but Colorado ceding third-place to North Carolina, which enjoyed 23% growth in the third quarter. Nevada enjoyed the biggest rise, however, shooting up from 17th position to fifth, while Vermont also drastically increased its PV capacity, taking it from 21st place nationwide to 12th overall.

Overall, the report forecasts that 2013 will end with more than 4.3 GW of solar PV power capacity installed nationwide.

"Solar is the second-largest source of new electricity capacity in the U.S. this year, trailing only natural gas,“ said GTM president of research, Shayle Kann. "As solar continues its march toward ubiquity, the market will require continued innovation, efficiency improvement and regulatory clarity. But already, the groundwork has been laid for a mainstream solar future."

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