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Solar industry continues to surge in 2015

The non-residential market finished the quarter down 33 percent from the same period last year.

According to a new report from the Solar Energy Industries Association, the U.S. solar industry will continue to grow and break records in 2015 as solar photovoltaic installations now exceed 20 gigawatts in capacity. Growth could surpass an unprecedented 7 gigawatts this year alone, across all segments, according to the report.

The new report covers the second quarter of 2015, which set a new record for residential rooftop solar installations (a category that saw 70 percent year-over-year growth).

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On top of that, the residential market is diversifying, with 10 states each installing more than 10 MW in the quarter. This shows significant growth from the same quarter of 2013 when only 4 states installed that much residential solar.

The non-residential market finished the quarter down 33 percent from the same period last year. However, the ongoing growth of community solar across the U.S., along with improving market dynamics in several states and continued financial innovation, suggest stronger growth in this segment in the second half of 2015 and beyond. 

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According to the report, 729 MW of utility-scale solar PV came on-line in the second quarter of the year, representing more than half - 52 percent - of the nation’s quarterly total. With the federal solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC) scheduled to drop at the end of 2016, utility-scale development is at an all-time high with more than 5 GW of capacity currently under construction.

“The utility PV market continues to be the bedrock driver of new installation growth. And in the second half of this year through 2016, growth will reach new heights as a higher share of what comes online stems from projects procured purely based on centralized solar’s cost competitiveness,” said Shayle Kann, Senior Vice President at GTM Research, in the report.

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Overall, the growth boom is being fueled by a combination of declining costs, low interest rates, and a federal solar investment tax credit, the report suggests.

“For comparison, according to the Department of Energy, the wind industry in the U.S. recently reached 66 gigawatts of installed capacity, with 13 more gigawatts expected to come online by the end of 2016. Overall, the U.S. had over 1000 gigawatts of electricity capacity installed as of the year 2012, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration,” wrote The Washington Post. “So, while still a minority of all electricity generation, wind and solar are, nonetheless, growing more and more significant on a national scale.”

[SOURCE: The Washington Post]

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