The installation rate of new utility-scale solar projects in the US has fallen considerably so far this year as compared to 2013 — currently, the new capacity is down 31% as compared to last year, according to the Federal Electricity Regulatory Commission.
The figures show that between January and October 2014 “just” 1,801 MW of utility-scale solar projects have been installed in the country (across 208 projects) — as compared to 2,628 MW of utility-scale solar capacity installed between January and October 2013 (across 239 projects).
October 2014 saw just 31 MW of new utility-scale solar projects come online (across five projects) — not exactly inspiring numbers. (These figures were published by the Federal Electricity Regulatory Commission’s (FERC) Office of Energy Projects.)
These low numbers are calling into question the ability to achieve the forecasts set out for 2014 with regard to new utility-scale solar projects in the US.
With regard to those forecasts, ROTH Capital made the prediction at the beginning of the year that 2014 would see 6.5 GW of new solar PV capacity installed in the US. As part of that prediction, ROTH Capital predicted that the residential and commercial markets would account for about 45% of the forecast.
If this forecast is to be achieved, that means that roughly 3.5 GW of new utility-scale capacity will have to come online by the end of the year — a month or so away. Not likely to happen, to put it lightly.
With regard to solar’s comparisons to other modes of energy generation, 2014 has seen over 5.3 GW of new natural gas generating capacity come online so far. Hmm.
It’s worth noting that, when taken as a proportion of overall new generating capacity, solar energy accounts for roughly the same percentage as it did last year — 18% this year as compared to 20% last year.
Image Credit: NC Energy Center