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Monumental Year for U.S. Solar Market in 2015

Earlier this week, GTM Research and the Solar Energy Industries Association announced that the United States installed 7.3 GW of solar photovoltaics in 2015, the largest total ever and 17 percent more than in 2014.  Just as remarkable, solar beat out natural-gas capacity additions for the first time ever by supplying 29.5 percent of all new electric generating capacity in 2015.  These statistics signify a monumental year for the U.S. solar industry.  For more on overall industry trends and a breakdown of state by state developments, read on!

Since 2010, yearly U.S. solar PV installation in the U.S. has increased 8.6 times, and solar is projected to reach unprecedented heights over the next few years.  Cumulatively, installations have increased from 2 GW to 25 GW over the last five years.  This growth is led by a concentration of key states, including California, North Carolina, Nevada, Massachusetts and New York.  Overall, the top 10 states accounted for 87 percent of installed solar capacity in 2015, but widespread progress and diversification is still evident with 13 states installing more than 100 MW each and 24 of the 35 tracked states exhibiting market growth in 2015.

Segment-wise, growth was most apparent in the residential solar market as installations increased 66 percent over 2014 and topped 2 GW for the first time ever.  The residential solar segment now accounts for 29 percent of the U.S. market, its largest share since 2009.  Meanwhile, the non-residential market was relatively stagnant year-to-year but broke 1 GW for the fourth year in a row.  Finally, utility solar PV grew 6 percent over 2014 with over 4 GW installed.

Be on the lookout for the complete U.S. Solar Market Insight 2015 Year in Review, available March 9, with detailed market analysis and updated forecasts.

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Thomas R. Burton, III

Member / Chair, Energy & Sustainability Practice

Tom Burton has helped to shape the clean energy industry by drawing on his passion for innovation. As a Mintz attorney, Tom counsels investors, entrepreneurs, and Fortune 100 companies. He also guides start-up organizations and accelerators to foster the next generation of energy leaders.