The US residential solar market reached record highs in the third quarter of 2019 with 712 MW of solar installed, according to a new report
The United States (US) residential solar market reached record highs in the third quarter of 2019 with 712 megawatts (MW) of solar installed, according to the latest US Solar Market Insight report from Wood Mackenzie Power & Renewables and the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA). The market added 2.6 GW of solar photovoltaics in the third quarter, swelling total US solar capacity to 71.3 GW.
The report has revealed that the increase in residential installations helped the US solar market grow 45 percent year-over-year and contributed to 15 states having their best quarter ever for residential solar. States with smaller solar markets such as Idaho, Wyoming, New Mexico and Iowa all saw record residential growth due to continued price declines and improvements to the economic competitiveness of solar across the country.
“This positive report makes clear that American families are demanding energy choice and solar, and that our industry is ready to deliver,” said Abigail Ross Hopper, president and CEO of SEIA. “This is the kind of growth and investment we could see going forward if we make smart policy moves, like extending the solar Investment Tax Credit and stopping additional tariffs. Failure to make these smart policy moves will limit deployment potential and cost jobs.”
California continues to be the largest residential solar market, installing nearly 300 MW in the third quarter of 2019, breaking its own quarterly record.
“While California has always led the country in solar deployment, the drivers behind that growth have shifted,” said Austin Perea, senior solar analyst for Wood Mackenzie. “This is primarily due to new-build solar demand and increased consumer interest in solar + storage solutions as a result of public safety power shutoffs that have left hundreds of thousands of utility customers in the dark.”
According to the report, power shutoffs in California and national coverage of these issues has renewed demand for solar + storage solutions in California and other states across the country.
Key findings from the report include:
- In Q3 2019, the U.S. solar market installed 2.6 GW of solar PV, representing a 45 percent increase from Q3 2018 and a 25 percent increase from Q2 2019.
- The US saw record-setting residential solar capacity added in Q3 with more than 700 MW installed.
- A total of 21.3 GW of new utility PV projects were announced from Q1 to the end of Q3, bringing the contracted utility PV pipeline to a record high of 45.5 GWdc.
- Non-residential PV saw 445 MW installed as policy shifts in states including California, Massachusetts and Minnesota continue to slow growth.
- Wood Mackenzie forecasts 23 percent year-over-year growth in 2019, with 13 GWdc of installations expected. In total, more than 9 GW were added to the five-year forecast since last quarter to account for new utility-scale procurement.
- Total installed US PV capacity will more than double over the next five years, with annual installations reaching 20.1 GW in 2021 prior to the expiration of the federal Investment Tax Credit for residential systems and a drop in the commercial credit to 10% (under the current version of the law).