The US added 4.75GW of PV in 2013 in a record-breaking year that gave the solar sector “a glimpse of the mainstream”, according to latest figures from GTM Research and the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA).
The two expect that figure to increase by 26% this year, with rapid growth in the residential sector helping to drive installations up to around 6GW this year
Booming demand for rooftop solar meant 2.1GW was added in the fourth quarter alone – making it by some distance the biggest three months for American solar, said their Solar Market Insight Year in Review 2013.
The US also added 410MW of concentrating solar power (CSP) last year, as big projects such as Abengoa’s Solana came online.
The bumper year made solar the second-largest source of newly-installed generation after gas, with a 29% share of added capacity in 2013, said the report.
Last year’s US PV addition was a 41% increase on the total added in 2012. In tandem, weighted average PV system prices fell 15% in 2013 to reach $2.59/W in the fourth quarter.
In total the US now has 12.1GW of PV and 918MW of CSP in operation, GTM/SEIA said.
The figures show how rapidly the axis of the global solar market has shifted, with the US, Japan and China now delivering big installation increases.
By contrast Germany – the world leader for new installations in 2012 with 7.6GW – added just 3.3GW last year.
Shayle Kann, senior vice president at GTM Research, claimed: “2013 offered the US solar market the first real glimpse of its path toward mainstream status.
“The combination of rapid customer adoption, grassroots support for solar, improved financing terms, and public market successes displayed clear gains for solar in the eyes of both the general population and the investment community.”