US breaks Q2 PV installation record with 2.05GW, set for FY 13.9GW

The US installed 2.05GW of PV in the second quarter and is on track to add 13.9GW this year, nearly double the previous yearly high of 7.26GW in 2015, according to GTM Research and the Solar Energy Industries Association’s (SEIA).

Second quarter installations were a record for the period and up 43% from a year earlier, while those in the first half were 4GW, a 45% increase. The US had 31.6GW of PV generation capacity on 30 June.

More broadly, PV accounted for 26% of all new electric generating capacity brought online in the US in the first half.

“We’re seeing the beginning of an unprecedented wave of growth that will occur throughout the remainder of 2016, specifically within the utility PV segment,” said Cory Honeyman, GTM Research associate director of US solar research.

“With more than 10 gigawatts of utility PV currently under construction, the second half of this year and the first half of 2017 are on track to continue breaking records for solar capacity additions,” he added.

According to the Q2 US Solar Market Insight Report, utility-scale solar installations accounted for 53% of new PV capacity in the first half. GTM/SEIA see the segment generating more than 70% of installations this year.

Developers are signing utility-scale PPAs at between $3-5/MWh, as solar prices continue to decline – 18% during the last year through 30 June.

There was about 650MW of new rooftop PV capacity in the second quarter, up slightly from a year earlier. Residential solar has benefitted from decreasing costs, greater competition, improved consumer awareness and most importantly, an influx of new capital that has allowed companies to offer a variety of financing options.

Challenges remain, however, in providing competitive financing for smaller companies without credit ratings.

Community solar is gaining popularity in the US. Despite adding less than 10MW in Q2, installations will be a record this year – at least 100MW.