NPD Solarbuzz is reporting that the U.S. now has more than 10 gigawatts of photovoltaic (PV) power installed. Moreover, it joins just three other countries that have surpassed that mark: Germany—the overall leader—along with Italy and the world’s most populous nation, China.
Solarbuzz reports in its latest “North American PV Market Quarterly” report that the U.S. installed more than 1.8 GWs of photovoltaics, which pushes the country through the 10 gigawatt barrier. “The U.S. has now joined an elite group of maturing solar PV markets that have accumulated more than 10 GW of installed capacity,” said Christopher Sunsong, analyst at NPD Solarbuzz. “The U.S. is only the fourth country to reach the 10 GW milestone of installed PV capacity.”
“The U.S. solar PV market growth has been stimulated by an increased range of solar incentive programs at the state level,” added Sunsong. “While the Far West and Mid-Atlantic states dominate the 10 GW installed, the Southwest and Southeast regions have recently made strong contributions. Other regions however, such as the Great Plains and Great Lakes, remain largely undeveloped, creating further market upside going forward.”
The news from Solarbuzz follows relatively shortly after the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) and GTM Research’s “U.S. Solar Market Insight” report for the first quarter of 2013, which was released in early June and found that the U.S. had installed a total of 8.5 gigawatts of solar power, some of which included concentrating solar power.
The new report from Solarbuzz finds that more than 1.8 GWs of PV were installed in the U.S. during the first half of 2013. That surpasses the 1.3 gigawatts installed in the first half of 2012, according to the SEIA report. “Solar PV has been one of the fastest growing energy sources in the U.S. over the past six years, with a compound annual growth rate of over 50 percent since 2007,” Solarbuzz says. In fact, 83 percent of the 10 GWs were installed since 2010, according to the report.
The report also anticipates continued growth in the sector. “Cumulative solar PV installations are forecast to increase an additional 80 percent over the next 18 months, surpassing 17 GW by the end of 2014.”
The increased growth of solar in the U.S. market is still being driven by the rapid drop in PV prices that have been occurring since 2011. “Average installed system prices in the US have declined from around $6 per watt two years ago to approximately $4.25 per watt for residential installations and $3 per watt for large utility-scale PV projects today,” the report states. That’s still far below the $1 per installed watt that the Department of Energy’s SunShot Initiative is shooting for, but it shows significant movement in the right direction.