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US PV installations increased by 41% in 2013, according to the latest Solar Market Insight Review published by the market analyst GTM Research and the US Solar Energy Industry Association (SEIA).
A record 4.75GW of solar PV was installed during 2013, and a further 410MW of concentrated solar power (CSP).
GTM and SEIA previously predicted in the third quarter of 2013, that a lower total of 4.3GW would be installed over the course of the year. More than 440,000 solar systems are now operational in the US, adding to a cumulative total of 12GW of PV, and 918MW of CSP installed.
The report concludes solar was the second largest contributor to new electricity supply, second only to natural gas; solar accounted for 29% of all new electricity generation in the US – up from 10% in 2012.
The largest portion of new installations came online in the final quarter of 2013, when more than 2GW was installed.
Overall PV prices still dropped considerably, with a 15% decrease in the average installation price.
GTM Research and SEIA predict 26% growth for US solar in 2014, reaching a 6GW annual installation rate, nearing the 20GW total installed capacity mark. A number of factors could impact the industry throughout 2014 however. Ongoing debates with utilities over net metering, new financial mechanisms such as crowd funding, the planned closure of the solar investment tax credit (ITC) and the SolarWorld vs China trade dispute.
California is still the leading state, with North Carolina, Massachusetts and Georgia catching up to New Jersey and Arizona in the state solar race.
Shayle Kann, senior vice president at GTM Research said a mixture of rapid customer adoption, grassroot support, improved financing terms and public market successes boosted solar in both public and investor opinion. Kann said that 2013 “offered the US solar market the first real glimpse of its path toward mainstream status".
SEIA President and CEO Rhone Resch said solar is now powering more than two million US homes, creating thousands of jobs and boosting the economy by billions with more solar installed in the last 18 months than in 30 years. “We’re just beginning to scratch the surface of our industry’s enormous potential,” Resch said.
This story has been ammended to reflect the contribution of CSP accurately.