Feb 15 (Renewables Now) - The US has installed 14,625 MW of solar photovoltaic (PV) capacity in 2016, nearly doubling its previous annual record of 7,493 MW set in 2015, GTM Research and the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) said today.
With a 95% year-on-year growth of the solar market, solar power became the number one source of new electric generating capacity additions annually, accounting for 39% of new installations across all fuel types.
The US now has over 1.3 million solar PV installations with a cumulative capacity exceeding 40 GW. This data comes from GTM Research and SEIA’s latest US Solar Market Insight report, which will be release on March 9, 2017.
The utility-scale segment grew 145% on the year, which is the highest growth rate of any segment, according to the report.
"While US solar grew across all segments, what stands out is the double digit gigawatt boom in utility-scale solar, primarily due to solar's cost competitiveness with natural gas alternatives," said Cory Honeyman, GTM Research's associate director of US solar research. He noted that a record 22 states each deployed over 100 MW throughout the year.
At the same time, non-residential installation growth surpassed that of the residential solar segment for the first time since 2011, even though residential solar added a “still-impressive” 2,583 MW for a 19% year-on-year hike.
The non-residential market, in turn, expanded thanks to a record total of over 200 MW of community solar, and a rush in project development and installation growth across several major states, most notably in California.