The fourth quarter is shaping up to be the United States solar market’s biggest quarter on record, according to new projections published Wednesday.
A new report from GTM Research and the US Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) published on Wednesday looked back at the third quarter, and ahead to the fourth, and its projections mean big news for the industry to finish off the year with.
The US Solar Market Insight Report for Q3 2015 reported that the US installed 1,361 MW of solar PV capacity in the third quarter, making it the eighth consecutive quarter that the US solar PV industry has installed more than a gigawatt of solar PV capacity. 30% of all the new electric generating capacity brought online in the US through the first three quarters of 2015 was from solar, and as of the end of the third quarter, more than 50% of US states have more than 50 MW of solar PV installed.
Impressively, the current utility-scale solar PV pipeline stands at 18.7 GW — greater than all US solar PV installations brought online through to the end of 2014.
“This past quarter marked the calm before the storm,” said Cory Honeyman, GTM Research Senior Solar Analyst. “The one-gigawatt mark for quarterly capacity additions will serve as a distant floor as project developers ramp up installations in the next five quarters before the planned step down of the 30 percent federal Investment Tax Credit (ITC).”
As Cory Honeyman suggests, it’s the fourth quarter that is set to explode, however.
GTM Research is predicting that the fourth quarter of 2015 will see over 3 GW of new solar PV installed, bringing the year’s total up to a predicted 7.4 GW — up 19% over 2014. This will be led by utility-scale solar PV installations looking to take advantage of the (potentially) last days of the country’s Investment Tax Credit.
2016 is expected to continue the trend of big solar PV capacity installs, with GTM Research predicting cumulative PV installations will nearly double between now and the end of 2016, and should see the US finish 2016 with a total cumulative capacity of 41 GW of solar PV.
“Year after year, we’re seeing the demand for solar energy in America skyrocket, and the benefits that brings to both our nation’s economy and environment are staggering,” said Rhone Resch, SEIA President and CEO. “As we gear up for what’s expected to be an unprecedented year for our industry, and nation, this report reveals just how important it is to maintain smart, effective, forward-looking public policies, like the ITC.”