Cumulative operating solar panel capacity reached 13,395 MW at the end of Q1 2014 according to the latest quarterly SEIA/GTM Research U.S. Solar Market Insight report.
482,000 individual solar power systems were connected to the grid at the end of the quarter, which saw 1.3MW of solar PV installed, up 79% over Q1 2013.
The bulk of the first quarter’s installations were in the utility market; which accounted for 873MW. The period also saw the first time residential solar power installations exceeded commercial installations nationally since 2002 – and more than a third of the residential installs occurred without any state-based incentives.
“The non-residential market should see stronger growth in the second quarter, once again overtaking residential installations, but our forecast now reflects our view that the residential market will be larger than the non-residential market on an annual basis as soon as 2016,” says SEIA.
74% of new electricity generation capacity in the USA in Q1 came from solar energy systems and SEIA predicts PV installs during 2014 will reach 6.6 GW capacity.
Commenting on a statistic U.S. President Barack Obama often repeats – that a solar installation in the U.S. is completed every four minutes – the report states if forecasting is correct, the real installation rate for 2014 will be one completed installation every 2.4 minutes.
More from the U.S. Solar Market Insight report can be viewed here.
Last week, the Solar Energy Industries Association also released another report ahead of the announcement of new Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) air quality standards for coal and natural gas-fired power plants.
“All totalled, solar is now generating enough clean, reliable and affordable electricity to effectively power nearly 2.5 million homes,” said SEIA President and CEO Rhone Resch. “We’re doing our part to help fight climate change, but we can do a lot more in the future – and that’s something we will be stressing to state regulators once the new carbon rules for power plants are announced.”