Solar energy has accounted for over a third of new electricity capacity generated in 2016. The future of solar looks very bright!
Renewable energy policy faces a future of uncertainty with a new fossil fuel-friendly administration set to take office, but the U.S. solar industry just marked its best quarter to date. In the third quarter, the U.S. saw 4,143 megawatts of new solar PV installations, blowing past the previous record set in 2015, according to new data from GTM Research and the Solar Energy Industries Association.
That breaks down to one megawatt installed on average every 32 minutes in the third quarter. “Coming off our largest quarter ever and with an extremely impressive pipeline ahead, it’s safe to say the state of the solar industry here in America is strong,” Tom Kimbis, SEIA’s interim president, said in a statement. “The solar market now enjoys an economically-winning hand that pays off both financially and environmentally, and American taxpayers have noticed.
This year has been exceptionally strong because solar developers expected a key investment tax credit to expire by the end of 2016, so they rushed projects online in order to qualify for the benefit. As such, about 77 percent of third quarter installations came in the form of utility-scale solar projects.
But the fourth quarter promises to be even stronger than the third. GTM Research projects that a tidal wave of 4.8 GW of utility-scale PV will be completed between October and December, which is more than the entire solar industry installed in all of 2015. Analysts expect the strong pace of new utility-scale projects to continue into 2017.
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