In its biggest year to date, the United States solar market nearly doubled its annual record, topping out at 14,626 MW of solar PV installed in 2016. This represents a 95% increase over the previous record of 7.493 MW installed in 2015. 22 states each added more than 100 MW.
The rise in utility scale is primarily due to solar’s cost-competitiveness with natural-gas alternatives. The non-residential market also exceeded expectations, with two major growth drivers in the segment: The first is community solar, adding a record total of more than 200 MW, led by Minnesota and Massachusetts. Second, rate design and net energy metering fueled a rush in project development and installation growth across a number of major state markets, most notably in California. Residential solar growth resulted with 2,583 MW. While growth in California’s residential market has begun to level out, strong growth in markets like Maryland, New Jersey and a handful of emerging states where solar has achieved grid parity, helped the residential segment to grow 19% year-over-year.
As a result of a remarkable 2016, the U.S. is now home to more than 1.3 million solar PV installations, with a cumulative capacity of over 40 gigawatts.
Source: GTM Research / SEIA