GTM/SEIA report: US solar market set for record-breaking fourth quarter

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The US is projected to install over 3GW of capacity in the fourth quarter of 2015. Image: GTM Research / SEIA

A new report from GTM Research and the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) forecasts 2015 as the biggest year ever for US solar with record-breaking estimates for the fourth quarter.

According to the report, titled U.S. Solar Market Insight Report, Q3 2015, the US installed 1361MW of PV capacity in the third quarter of 2015 — standing as the eighth consecutive quarter in which the US has installed over 1GW of capacity.

Cory Honeyman, GTM Research senior solar analyst, said: “This past quarter marked the calm before the storm. 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).”

GTM Research expects this upcoming fourth quarter to be the largest in history for US solar, with more than 3GW of capacity installed. Looking ahead, total PV installations are projected to nearly double between now and the end of 2016 — bringing the national total to 41GW.

The utility-scale market continues to lead the way for US solar, as it makes up 42% of PV installations developed in the US, while residential accounts for 41%. As a whole, the residential solar sector hit a new quarterly record as it grew 69% year over year.

The report also noted that the US solar market is expected to grow 19% over 2014 and will reach 7.4GW by the end of 2015.

Rhone Resch, president and CEO of SEIA, said: “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. “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.”

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