US Solar Installs Fall to Their Lowest Level Since 2015 According to GTM Research & SEIA Report
In Q3 2017, the U.S. solar market installed 2,031 megawatts direct current (MWdc). Of that total, 51% came from the utility PV segment, which added more than 1 GWdc for the eighth consecutive quarter.
- In Q3 2017, the U.S. market installed 2,031 MWdc of solar PV, a 51% decrease year-over-year from Q3 2016. Through the end of Q3, installations are tracking 22% behind the pace set through the same period during a record-breaking 2016.
- Through the first three quarters of 2017, 25% of all new electric generating capacity brought on- line in the U.S. has come from solar, ranking second over that period only to natural gas.
- In the Section 201 safeguard case, the U.S. International Trade Commission (U.S. ITC) failed to achieve a formal recommendation of trade relief on foreign-manufactured crystalline silicon cells and modules. Rather, individual commissioners suggested to the Trump administration three sets of remedies at levels below the petitioners’ requests. President Trump has until January 26 to decide the outcome of the case.
- Q3 2017 saw price increases across all market segments for the first time since this report series’ inception, stemming from increases in module costs due to a global shortage of Tier 1 module supply and the Section 201 petition.
- The residential PV sector fell 10% quarter-over-quarter. Declining growth is driven by weakness in California and major Northeast markets, which continue to feel the impact of pull- back from national providers.
- In contrast to residential PV, the non-residential sector grew 22% year-over-year, primarily driven by regulatory demand pull-in from looming policy deadlines in California and the Northeast in addition to the continued build-out of a robust community solar pipeline in Minnesota.
- Voluntary procurement continues to be the primary driver of new utility PV procurement, in 2017 accounting for 57% of new procurement through Q3.
- GTM Research forecasts that 11.8 GWdc of new PV installations will come on-line in 2017, down 22% from a record-breaking 2016. Our forecast has been adjusted downward from 12.4 GWdc last quarter to reflect continued challenges in the residential market and a push back in utility- scale completion timelines due to uncertainties surrounding the trade case.
- Total installed U.S. PV capacity is expected to more than double over the next five years and by 2022, nearly 15 GW of PV capacity will be installed annually.
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