New utility solar installations in the US so far this year are down 31% on last year, according to the country’s Federal Electricity Regulatory Commission (FERC).

Figures published by FERC’s Office of Energy Projects reveal that between January and October this year, 1,801MW of utility solar has been built across 208 projects.

This is significantly down on the same period last year, when some 2,628MW were built across 239 projects.

October this year was a particularly slow month, with only 31MW across five projects coming online.

The lower installation rate raises questions over the achievability of the US' 2014 solar forecasts.

At the start of the year, when ROTH Capital forecast 6.5GW of new PV installations in the US in 2014, the analyst firm predicted that the residential and commercial sectors would account for 45% of this figure.

That leaves around 3.5GW for the utility sector to realise, meaning the 1.8GW achieved so far this year will have to be almost doubled by the end of 2014.

As was also the case last year, natural gas has seen the most new capacity additions so far in 2014 – over 5.3GW. But as a proportion of overall new installations this year, solar accounts for almost the same as last year – 18% compared to 20% last year.