2013 has been an impressive year for solar PV in the United States, with new solar PV installations here reaching a record-breaking 4.2 gigawatts. Since 2012, the U.S. market has grown 15%, making it the leading solar market outside the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region, according to the latest NPD Solarbuzz North America PV Markets Quarterly report. Solar PV installed in the U.S. during the last quarter of 2013 also reached a new record high of approximately 1.4GW.
Michael Barker, senior analyst at NPD Solarbuzz, commented: “Each year, the final quarter in the U.S. results in a new quarterly record for solar PV installed. The solar PV industry in the U.S. is, on average, now installing more than one gigawatt of solar PV each quarter.”
According to the report, large-scale projects dominated the U.S. market during 2013, accounting for over 80% of new solar capacity installed. The ground-mount segment, which includes most of the utility solar PV installed, reached almost 3GW in 2013, with over 1GW in Q4 2013 alone. The large rooftop market exceeded 500MW, which is similar to levels in the past few years.
Small-scale solar projects (i.e., residential and small non-residential rooftops) accounted for about 700MW in 2013, representing an increase of 10% year-over-year. More than three quarters of small-scale demand came from the residential segment, the report states.
Top 10 US States for Solar PV Capacity Added in 2013
Source: NPD Solarbuzz North America PV Markets Quarterly, December 2013
California remained the leading state for installed solar PV last year. According to Solar Industry, in 2013, the state more than doubled its entire rooftop solar installation capacity from 1,000MW to over 2,000MW.
In an article on Solar Industry's website, Bernadette Del Chiaro, executive director of the California Solar Energy Industries Association, wrote: "To put this in perspective, it took California over 30 years to build 1,000MW of rooftop solar, hitting that landmark in early 2013. Today, California is closing out the year with more than 2,000MW of rooftop solar systems installed statewide. The California Public Utilities Commission's (CPUC) latest figures report 1,917 MW of rooftop solar, but those numbers exclude basically all of Pacific Gas and Electric's 2013 installations, by far the largest market in the state, as well as a significant number of installations in other utility territories."
"By comparison, California added 500 MW of distributed solar in 2012 -- also a banner year. If California continues to grow its rooftop solar market at its 2013 pace, the state may very well top 5,000 MW in 2014 -- far exceeding the goals of the Million Solar Roofs Initiative, which aimed to install 3,000 MW of rooftop solar by the end of 2016," Del Chiaro concluded.
Strong utility-scale activity propelled North Carolina into second place, overtaking both Arizona and New Jersey in the rankings. New Mexico and New York were new entrants, displacing Maryland and Colorado from the list.