Showing resiliency in spite of the new tariffs on imported modules, the USA’s solar market added 2.5 GW of solar PV in the first quarter of the year, representing annual growth of 13 %, according to the latest US. Solar Market Insight Report from GTM Research and the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA).
The study showed that solar PV accounted for 55 % of all U.S. electricity capacity added during the quarter and added more than 2 GW for the 10th straight quarter.
Overall, the report estimates that solar’s growth in 2018 will mirror 2017’s 10.6 GW before growing more robustly in 2019 and then accelerating in the early 2020s.
“The solar industry had a strong showing in the first quarter,” said SEIA President and CEO Abigail Ross Hopper. “This data shows that solar has become a common-sense option for much of the USA and is too strong to be set back for long, even in light of the tariffs. States from California to Florida have stepped up with smart policies that will drive investment for years to come.”
According to the report, the solar industry installed 1.4 GW of utility-scale PV in Q1, the 10th consecutive gigawatt-scale quarter for the U.S.’s largest solar market segment.
GTM Research said utility-scale solar projects thus far have been relatively insulated from tariffs but analysts expect the tariffs to have a bigger impact on the segment in 2019. However, they forecast growth for the market. The report increased the forecast for utility-scale solar to 6.6 GW in 2018. That’s slightly higher than the 6.47 GW predicted in March.
The report notes that three of the top five residential solar markets in 2017 — Maryland, New Jersey, and New York — are expected to contract in 2018 for a second consecutive year as a function of the persistent customer-acquisition challenges. “The decline in some major state markets will be offset by growth in emerging markets,” Perea said.