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74% of America's new energy generation came from solar in Q1

29 May 2014
74% of America's new energy generation came from solar in Q1

NEW YORK: Today analysts reveal 74% of all new energy generation in the US came from solar in the first quarter of the year, raising confidence the nation will seize the readily available clean technology and swiftly transition to a prosperous, low carbon economy.

In the first quarter of 2014 the US installed enough solar power to provide energy for 3 million homes, amounting to 74% of the country's new power generation. This is the second-largest quarter for solar installations in the history of the market.

Rapid growth

The findings come from quarterly analysis by GTM Research and the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), which collect data on the US solar market to present trends in demand, manufacturing and costs.

According to the research, the US solar market reached a total of 1,330 megawatts, which is 79% up on 2013’s figures for the same period. The utility PV market was responsible for the majority share, installing 873 megawatts.

The report authors explain this increase will help pave the way for the rest of 2014: “We expect this segment to fuel growth throughout the year, and our forecast calls for nearly 3.8 gigawatts (GWdc) of utility PV to be connected to the grid by December 31. To put this in context, 3.8 GWdc is more utility solar capacity than was installed in the entire history of the market through 2012.”

The encouraging figures follow a positive trend, as America’s solar markets have rapidly expanded over the past year. GTM Research and SEIA’s annual report Solar Market Insight Year in Review 2013 announced solar made up almost 30% of all new electric generation capacity in 2013, and is the fastest-growing source of renewable energy in the US.

In fact, SEIA state more solar was brought online in the past 18 months than in the prior 30 years combined. 

Residential solar

Today's report also highlights this is the first quarter in recent history where residential PV beat commercial installations. The authors explain the increase reflects a steadily growing rooftop solar market that is expected to outpace the non-residential market yearly as soon as 2016.

Keen to further spur residential solar growth, The Climate Group has teamed up with the SEIA to launch a Facebook campaign designed to accelerate the adoption of household solar energy in the US.

Amy Davidsen, US Executive Director, The Climate Group, commented on the campaign: “The recent Working Group II and III reports from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) highlight the need for rapid and ambitious scale-up of low carbon technologies to reduce emissions – the good news is that 70-80% of these clean technologies are available today. Residential solar is a leading renewable energy technology that will reduce American households’ energy bills and emissions footprint.

"The ‘I Like Solar’ initiative will capitalize on the declining costs of installation, which SEIA reported as declining by 15% during 2013, and create a grassroots movement to highlight the benefits of solar to a potential audience of millions of Americans.”


Explore the data further in the new report by GTM Research and the Solar Energy Industries Association.

Find I Like Solar on Facebook.

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By Clare Saxon

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