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Published on March 10th, 2015 | by Joshua S Hill


US Solar PV Installations Surpassed 6 GW In 2014 (Charts)

March 10th, 2015 by  

GTM Research and the Solar Energy Industries Association have released their US Solar Market Insight, 2014 Year-in-Review report, and it was “another banner year” for the US solar PV industry, installing 6,021 MW of new capacity in 2014.

Installations were 30% up on 2013’s figures, “and more than 12 times the amount installed five years earlier,” GTM Research and SEIA wrote in their report, bringing the country’s cumulative PV total to 18.3 GW of solar PV, with another 2.2 GW of concentrating solar power (CSP).

Specifically, over 600,000 homes and businesses in the US are now running on-site solar, with nearly 200,000 of these being completed in 2014, and six US states are each home to more than 500 MW of operating solar capacity.

Annual US Solar PV Installations, 2000–2014


Annual US Solar PV Installations by Segment, 2005-2014

US Solar PV installation growth by segment

Further to solar’s increase in the US, each year it has continued to grow as one of the major generators of new electricity. In 2014, solar accounted for 32% of all new electricity generation capacity in the US, second only to natural gas. It was also #2 in 2013, when it provided 29% of all new electricity generation capacity.

New US Electric Generating Capacity Additions, 2012-2014


The authors of the report highlight three “fundamental drivers” that they believe are responsible for “solar’s continued growth in the US.” Those are: Falling costs; downstream innovation and expansion; and stable policy and regulation. Subsequently, the authors of the report see several key themes to watch in 2015 if the US solar PV industry is to have another “banner year.” These include potential residential rate structure revisions; whether or not commercial solar will make a comeback, in the face of residential solar’s immense success; and whether or not the “enormous utility-scale solar pipeline comes to fruition,” with more than 14 GW of utility-scale solar projects in the US expected to be completed in 2015–2016.

US PV Installations by State and Market Segment, 2014


California again dominated the installations, ranking first since 2012, when it installed 1,046 MW. It then installed 2,621 MW in 2013, and grew again to 3,549 MW in 2014. California is now home to 8.7 GW of solar PV, but it’s not the only one making massive gains now. In fact, 20 states soared past the 100 MW mark for cumulative operating solar PV by the end of 2014. North Carolina ranked second for installation capacity in 2014, after starting at sixth in 2012 and growing to third in 2013. The state installed 397 MW in 2014.

The authors of the report predict that PV installations will reach 8.1 GW in 2015, up 59% over 2014, with growth in all segments, but most prominently in the residential solar PV market.

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  • Matt

    I find it fascinating that the rate of change in the annual install rate for utility scale has been constant the last 3 years. It as grown at just over 1GW/year. Think of it as acceleration (2nd derivative, dx/dt**2), while annual install is velocity. Or the ability(capacity) to add capacity. So while utility 3rd derivative (dx/dt**3) is zero, for residential it is still positive (acceleration is increasing). But WTF happen to non-residential after 2011?

    • Bob_Wallace

      Here’s what GMT says in their annual summary –

      “. While residential solar has soared in the U.S., commercial solar has stagnated. In 2014, just over 1,000 MWdc of commercial solar capacity was installed, down 6% from 2013 and even down 3% from 2012. Many factors have contributed to this trend, ranging from tight economics to difficulty financing small commercial installations. But 2015 will be a telling year for the commercial market. Many participants expect a pickup in demand in key states including California, New Jersey and New York, which, if proven true, could reignite the sector and bring it back on pace with the residential market.”

  • JamesWimberley

    That’s now 32 states with significant solar installation in 2014, if I read the chart correctly, covering a much higher proportion of the US population. Late starters include Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, Louisiana, Georgia, South Carolina, and Florida, with massive potential and insolation that must make solar economic without subsidies.

    Niggle: “whether or not commercial solar will make a comeback, in the face of residential solar’s immense success ..” The sectors are independent, not competitive. The reasons for optimism on commercial’s recovery are two:
    (a) the fall in costs makes it a more attractive proposition all the time, and the weirdness factor is fading fast;
    (b) some major players, notably but not only SolarCity, have been making the investments needed to break through the complexities and offer low-hassle technical and financial packages to building owners.

  • TCFlood

    For number junkies like me, if we assume an average capacity factor of 25% for PV, the average power output of PV this year in the US came very close to 1% of total average output. With the predicted increase in installed PV next year of 8.1 GW, it would be over 1.4% of actual power production.

  • Michael G

    Odd how uneven the distribution by state of who is putting in solar. Mostly utility in CA, NV, GA, NC, IN, TX and mostly non-util. in NY, PA, MA

  • Will E

    Solar is commercial.
    When 3.5 billion invested in Solar and revenue is 760 million a year, over 30 year 22.8 billion is the earnings, that is a commercial deal.
    clean solar money. and after 30 year the energy well is not dry. but again you can produce 760 million dollar every year same place. This well never runs dry.

    • Will, these numbers are compelling. Where are you getting them?

      • Will E

        I get the numbers of the article about Solar installation in Egypt, also cleantechnica this day.
        you read it and get the numbers.
        3.5 billion Solar installed and yearly revenue 760 million dollars.
        as Solar produces 30 year, it is the total revenue over 30 years. 22.8 billion.
        Facts for Solar in Egypt are the same for USA, I hope you agree.

        • Would you send me the link to the article about Egypt? I’m not seeing exactly where you pulled $760 million from…

  • Dimitar Mirchev

    2015 and 2016 will be extremely better due to ITC expiration at the end of 2016

    Prepare for huge PV growth in USA in the next two years

    • Bob_Wallace

      Correct. Then watch for a drastic fall off in early 2017 followed by a rapid drop in installed price as companies get very serious about building their businesses back up.

      • Dimitar Mirchev

        Yea. However as I understood only a drastic fall off is expected in the utility sector.

        Roof PV wont notice it

        • Bob_Wallace

          I’m pretty sure rooftop also drops from 30% to 10%.

          I’d expect the same boom/bust/recovery pattern.

  • jburt56

    Should read “2015 will be up 30.6 % over 2014.” 8.1 / 6.2 = 1.306.

    • Reto Fassbind

      it should be 34.5% (annual increase) and 44% (cumulative increase)

      • Reto Fassbind

        Just noticed the article says 6,021 MW while the chart and other sources shows 6,201 MW. This looks very much like a typo. A very stupid one, I may add.

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