GTM Research and the Solar Energy Industries Association are predicting another strong year for the US PV market in 2015, with installations expected to reach over 8 GW.
Concluding their US Solar Market Insight, 2014 Year-in-Review report, the authors from GTM Research and the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) predict that installations will increase 31% in 2015, reaching 8.1 GW by the end of the year, with fastest growth coming from the residential sector. Non-residential solar will fit in second, with utility PV expected to be the grow the slowest compared to 2014, but still accounting for 59% of all installations brought online throughout 2015.
2015 and 2016 are the last years set to take advantage of the 30% federal investment tax credit (ITC), which is scheduled to drop to 10% for commercial projects under section 48 of the tax code, while the credit will expire entirely for individuals under section 25d. “Businesses across the solar energy industry have begun preparing for the worst while hoping for the best,” write the authors of the report.
Subsequently, 2015 and 2016 are predicted to be big, with solar business trying “to bring as much capacity online as possible before the scheduled stepdown.”
As can be seen in the graphs below, 2017 is predicted to hit the industry hard.
US PV Installation Forecast, 2010-2020E
US PV Installation Forecast by Segment, 2010-2020E
All market segments will shrink post-2016, and “some states will fall off the solar map entirely,” with “resumption of growth at a national level” set to rely solely on “several states with strong economies.”
The utility-scale market will suffer the most, thanks primarily to the challenges posed by the lower ITC, “but also because project developers have largely turned their attention to bringing their contracted projects online before the end of 2016 in order to capture the full 30% credit.”