Solar Tribune

U.S. sees record utility-scale PV installations in Q2 2012


Last quarter, a massive 742 MW of solar power was installed in the U.S., the second-largest quarterly installed capacity in history.

That’s according to the U.S. Solar Market Insight: 2nd Quarter 2012 report from GTM Research and the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA). The 742 MW installed in Q2 represents a 45 percent increase over Q1 2012 and is 116 percent more than was installed in Q2 2011.

The report credits the spike in installations to a record 477 MW of utility-scale installations, as well as an additional 98MW in the residential sector, too.

“The U.S. solar industry is rapidly growing and creating jobs across America despite the slow economic recovery,” said Rhone Resch, president and CEO of SEIA. “More solar was installed in the U.S. this quarter than in all of 2009, led for the first time by record-setting utility-scale projects.”

“With costs continuing to come down, solar is affordable today for more homes, businesses, utilities, and the military,” said Resch. “Smart, consistent, long-term policy is driving the innovation and investment that’s making solar a larger share of our overall energy mix.”

U.S. Solar PV Installations, 2010–Q2 2012 Credit: U.S. Solar Market Insight, 2nd Quarter 2012

The non-residential market – comprising commercial and government owned PV – did not experience the same level of growth as the utility sector, but instead installations fell to 196 MW in Q2, down from 291 MW in the first quarter.

The report also noted the popularity of third-party owned solar models, like solar leasing and PPAs, with California, Arizona and Colorado having over 70 percent of new residential solar under a third-party model. “We’re starting to see innovative PV business models take a substantial hold in the U.S. residential market,” said Shayle Kann, Vice President of Research at GTM Research.

“The success of third-party residential solar providers has attracted more than $600 million in new investments in recent months,” said Kann. “This influx of cash into the residential space signifies the growing acceptance of solar leases and power purchase agreements as a secure investment for project investors. We expect that third-party installations will claim even more market share in the coming quarters.”

After last quarter’s growth, the U.S. has installed solar capacity of 5,700 MW, which is enough to power over 940,000 homes. SEIA and GTM Research predict a total 3,200 MW of photovoltaic capacity to be installed in 2012, up 71 percent from 2011.

Recent Posts