New Projects, Solar

Solar Posts Record-Breaking Growth, Set to Triple Through 2022

By Editors of Power Engineering

The Solar Energy Industries Association reported record-breaking U.S. solar growth in 2016, with nearly double the growth of the previous record.

Utilities, commercial entities and residential projects installed 14.76 GW of solar last year, driven mostly by utility-scale developments.

Additionally, the association noted the total U.S. solar market should nearly triple in size over the next five years, though installations are expected to dip 10 percent this year to 13.2 GW. That decline still puts new solar development at 75 percent more than in 2015.

The association blamed the dip on a large number of utility-scale developments scheduled for completion before the original expiration of the federal Investment Tax Credit, which has been extended.

The cost of solar photovoltaic systems fell 20 percent in 2016, the biggest yearly decline since GTM Research started tracking data.

“It would be hard to overstate how impressive 2016 was for the solar industry,” said Abigail Ross Hopper, SEIA’s president and CEO. “Prices dropped to all-time lows, installations expanded in states across the country and job numbers soared. The bottom line is that more people are benefitting from solar now than at any point in the past, and while the market is changing, the broader trend over the next five years is going in one direction – and that’s up.”