Spurred by large utility-scale projects and healthy growth in residential installations, the U.S. added 1.3 GW of solar photovoltaic (PV) capacity in the third quarter of 2014, according to the latest US Solar Market Insight Report published by the Solar Energy Industries Association and GTM Research.
The 1,354 MW of utility, commercial, and residential PV capacity added in July, August, and September was the second-largest quarterly growth ever, representing a 41% increase over the third quarter of 2013. Solar PV made up 36% of all new capacity added during the first three quarters of 2014.
Utility-scale PV projects accounted for 825 MW of new capacity, according to the report. Installed solar PV capacity in the U.S. has increased more than fourfold over the last two years.
Uncertainty and controversy over net metering and incentives appears to be having little impact on the residential solar PV market, which has now seen growth in 18 out of the last 19 quarters. The amount of new residential capacity added each year has continued to increase, and the 300 MW added in the third quarter was the most ever. Significantly, more than half of that capacity was added in states without any sort of solar incentive program.
The report projects that the U.S. will install about 6.5 GW of solar PV capacity in 2014, a 36% increase over 2013, bringing total installed capacity to 16.1 GW. This year was also the biggest ever for concentrating solar power, with three major projects coming online, including POWER’s Plant of the Year, the 392-MW Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating Station.
—Thomas W. Overton, JD is a POWER associate editor (@thomas_overton, @POWERmagazine).