WASHINGTON, March 2, 2016 - Solar surpassed natural gas capacity additions for the first time in 2015, with solar installing 7.3 gigawatts (GW) and supplying 29.5 percent of all new electric generating capacity in the U.S., according to GTM Research and the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA). The findings will be published March 9 in U.S. Solar Market Insight report

Led by California, North Carolina, Nevada, Massachusetts and New York, the U.S. solar market experienced a year-over-year growth rate of 17 percent. The market continues to diversify geographically, with 13 states installing more than 100 megawatts (MW) each in 2015. States that made major solar advancements include Utah, which jumped in ranking from 23rd to 7th place, and Georgia, which moved from 16th to 8th, according to the report.

The residential solar market grew 66 percent year-over-year and, for the first time, surpassed two gigawatts (GW). The residential solar segment now represents 29 percent of the entire U.S. solar market, its largest share since 2009.

For the fourth year in a row, the non-residential market broke the 1 GW mark, but remained roughly flat year-over-year.

The utility-scale sector, the mainstay of the U.S. solar market, grew 6 percent year-over-year and represented more than half of all solar PV installed in 2015.

Cumulative U.S. solar PV installations have now surpassed 25 GW, up from just 2 GW in 2010. 

“Without a doubt, 2015 was a monumental year for the U.S. solar industry, and perhaps what’s most amazing is that we’re only getting started,” says SEIA President and CEO Rhone Resch. “Over the next few years, we’re going to see solar continue to reach unprecedented heights as our nation makes a shift toward a carbon-free source of energy that also serves as an economic and job-creating engine.”

“The U.S. solar market remains concentrated in key states, with the top 10 states accounting for 87 percent of installed capacity in 2015,” says Shayle Kann, senior vice president of GTM Research. “But growth has been widespread, and 24 of the 35 states that we track individually saw market growth in 2015.”

Here are some key findings from the report:

·      The U.S. installed 7,286 megawatts of direct current (MWdc) of solar photovoltaics (PV) in 2015, the largest total ever and 17 percent above 2014.

·       The 7.3 gigawatts (GW) installed in 2015 is 8.6 times the capacity installed five years earlier in 2010.

·       Residential was the fastest growing sector, installing over 2 gigawatts of direct current (GWdc) for the first time and growing 66 percent over 2014.

·       Utility solar PV also had a record year with over 4 GW installed, up 6 percent over 2014.

·       Non-residential solar was essentially flat for the third year in a row, installing just over 1 GWdc.

·       Cumulative solar PV installations reached more than 25 GWdc by the end of the year, up from just 2 GW at the end of 2010.


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