GTM Research Highlights Top 2016 US Solar Trends To Watch

GTM Research’s quarterly Solar Executive Briefing lays out several noteworthy trends to watch for in the solar industry this year.

The US solar industry had an impressive 2015, allowing its marked hockey-stick growth to continue — and that growth is only expected to continue through 2016.


According to GTM Research, the US solar industry will install more than 10 GW of solar PV in 2016 for the first time ever, pushing the number of homeowners with solar installed past the 1 million mark.

Furthermore, GTM research predicts that, following the long-awaited extension of the Investment Tax Credit (ITC) — approved in December after long months of deliberations in the US Congress — the 10 GW annual capacity addition mark won’t be a one-time thing, and GTM Research is predicting that solar installations could reach 20 GW per year by 2020.


With the US Government approving the extension of the ITC, GTM now predicts that the policy risk will shift down to state and utility levels, with “net-metering and rate-design reform debates” expected throughout even more states countrywide.

GTM is also predicting a shake-up in the second and third positions in the residential solar installer market. SolarCity will unsurprisingly keep its top position, but Sunrun and Sungevity are likely to be compete with Vivint Solar and NRG Home Solar for the remaining top spots.

The US non-residential solar market will remain fighting for financing solutions and development bottlenecks, and with the ITC extension, these issues will be put off until 2017.

Looking beyond the US for a moment, the Solar Executive Briefing expects emerging markets in South and Southeast Asia to gain prominence throughout 2016, while Latin America is expected to build on the impressive momentum that started in 2015. “Overall,” GTM noted, “global module supply and demand will be in balance” in 2016, though PV module component prices will continue to fall.

Joshua S Hill

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6 thoughts on “GTM Research Highlights Top 2016 US Solar Trends To Watch

  • Why the fall in 2017 and 2018?

    • The ITC was originally slated to expire in 2016. Everyone tried to deploy as much as they could prior to its expiration. Because of the ITC’s extension, many of those projects were pushed into 2017 instead. Still, not many projects were originally slated to be built in 2017 due to the schedule ITC drop.

      • If you closely look at the graph, you can see there is almost no effect on the residential and non-residential markets. This makes sense, as these are smallish sized projects whose planning and execution pipeline is only a few months at most, i.e. they could pretty quickly adapt to the “new” tax environment. Utility projects are typically larger, with project pipelines taking a couple of years, so the dearth of projects for 2017,2018 completion can’t quickly fill in.

    • I don’t buy it either. Solar farms can be put up in three months – it’s been beaten in Germany (link). The extra time is planning and permitting, and these can be speeded up if you really mean it. US solar developers are busy revising their 2017 and 2018 plans as we write. Without the ITC shutoff, schedules will smooth out from market forces.

      • Agreed.

  • What are thé développent bottkenecks referred to hère?

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