At the end of 2015, there was over 25 gigawatts (GW) of solar PV installed in the United States. Now, after back-to-back years of double-digit gigawatt growth (15 GW in 2016 and 10.6 GW in 2017), the solar industry has more than doubled its total installed capacity to 53.3 GW through the end of 2017.
Today’s release of the U.S. Solar Market Insight 2017 Year in Review finds the solar industry doing well, even after obstacles like the trade case to state policy actions.
The biggest market standout last year was the non-residential sector, which grew by 28 percent year-over-year, led by robust community solar pipelines in Minnesota and Massachusetts and major commercial solar procurement nationwide. Minnesota installed more megawatts of community solar in 2017 than the total of U.S. community solar installations in all of 2016!
These state gains are the real story - Florida, the Sunshine State, has overtaken New York in the top ten states for installed solar, adding nearly 750 megawatts of PV. That’s double what was installed through 2016.
This growth caused solar to account for 30 percent of new electric generating capacity brought online in the U.S. last year, second only to natural gas. Total installed U.S. PV capacity is expected to more than double over the next five years, and by 2023, more than 15 GW of PV will be installed annually, according to the projections.
Despite obstacles, solar will continue to become America’s single largest source of new electric generating capacity over the next decade. SEIA is prepared to lead the industry to those heights. There is nothing in this year’s report that suggests that we are not well on the way.