The solar power industry continues to expand rapidly in America.
The Solar Energy Industries Association in conjunction with Greentech Media Research have released their report for the first quarter of 2015. The report finds that the solar industry is off to another solid year of growth. In fact, 51 percent of all new electric capacity in the first quarter of this year was from solar.
A highlight of the report concerned the residential market. Residential solar grew by 76 percent compared to the first quarter of 2014. The amount installed was 437 megawatts, an 11 percent increase from the same time last year. This is especially impressive considering much of the installations happened in snow-packed states still recovering from a harsh winter.
Here are some of the other key findings from the report –
- A total of 1,306 MW of solar PV (photovoltaics) was added in the first quarter of this year. This is the 6th quarter in a row that more than 1 gigawatt of solar was added.
- Both residential and utility solar PV have added more capacity than natural gas.
- About 5 GW of solar PV has been installed by utilities.
- Nearly 25 percent of residential solar has been installed without state incentives.
- More than a third of the total community solar installations of 68 MW have come online since 2014.
- SolarReserve’s 110 MW concentrating solar power project is expected to be completed this year.
- The report has also forecast a total of almost 8 GW of solar PV arriving by the end of 2015, with the residential segment continuing to flourish.
An amazing 700,000 solar panel systems are now online in the U.S. The first quarter of 2015 added 66,440 systems to that number.
Again, the star of this report was residential solar. This segment of the market continues to impress. While coal and other fossil fuels can still compete on price at the utility scale, homeowners are seeing sharp differences in the price for solar and conventional energy from their utilities.
Considering the fact that the residential sector is responsible for one fifth of total U.S electricity consumption, the potential for solar power to still fill that need is truly enormous.
Residential solar now makes sense in more than just a handful of select states. Not only that, but tax credits and state rebates are not as vital as they once were, as the report finds.
The report really emphasizes that we are still at the beginning of our solar powered revolution. As quickly as solar installations are showing up in America, we’ll need quite a bit more before solar is a major energy player in this country.
Finally, for a proper ending for this report full of facts and figure –
Our clean energy future is as bright as the sun!