The solar market in the USA nearly doubled its installations last year according to the country’s annual record, ranking solar energy the topmost generator of electricity capacity increases in 2016.
Based on GTM Research’s preview and the U.S. Solar Market Insight report from the Solar Energy Industries Association, the country installed 14,626 megawatts of solar systems in 2016. This accounted for a 95 per cent increase compared to the 7,493 MW in 2015 making 2016 a record breaking year.
“What these numbers tell you is that the solar industry is a force to be reckoned with,” stated Abigail Ross Hopper, the CEO and president of the SEIA. “Solar’s economically-winning hand is generating strong growth across all market segments nationwide, leading to more than 260,000 Americans now employed in solar.”
According to the new National Solar Jobs Census report for 2016, the solar power sector in the United States grew its workforce by 25 per cent in 2015.
The country’s record high solar panel installation success has been linked to the market’s utility-scale solar segment which grew by a whopping 145 per cent from 2015. This was further driven by solar PV competitiveness in relation to natural gas alternatives and a series of energy projects aimed at hedging against the federal Investment Tax Credit extension.
2016 also marked the first year when commercial installations exceeded residential solar growth since the year 2011. However, it’s worth noting that the residential segment still recorded a satisfactory installation capacity of 2,583 MW; accounting for a 19 per cent growth year after year.
Community solar power’s performance was also impressive during the year, generating above 200 MW of electricity capacity.
Solar PV made up 39 per cent of new capacity additions in all fuel forms in 2016 and at the same time 22 states recorded over 100 megawatts of capacity.
In the report preview, over 1.3 million solar panel installations with an overall capacity above 40 gigawatts have been installed across the United States.
It has taken the country decades to attain the one million solar systems mark, which was reached in 2016, despite that the second million milestone could only be a couple of few years away especially considering the new U. S President Trump’s America First Energy Plan.
Another U.S. Solar Market Insight report is scheduled for release on 9 March.
IMAGE via U.S. Army IMCOM