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Solar Installation Boom Expected to Continue in 2016

In a press release last week, the analytics firm IHS predicted that the solar installation boom will continue in the United States in 2016 following the extension of the Investment Tax Credit (ITC) last December.  Photovoltaic (PV) installations are projected to increase 60 percent year-over-year, totaling 15 GW in 2016 alone, and will reach record levels primarily due to strong demand for utility-scale PV.  65 percent of the demand in 2016 will come from the Western and Southwestern US, where California, Nevada and Texas are each projected to install over 1 GW this year.  Read on for further details of the report, including the impact of the ITC extension on the US solar industry and other projections for 2016 and beyond.

The ITC extension, highlighted in a previous blog post, was praised by the energy community, solar in particular.  As Camron Barati, North America solar analyst for IHS Technology, explained, “The extension of the tax credit relieves pressure on the industry to complete projects ahead of the 2016 deadline and breathes new life into the US solar industry. Many feared the solar industry in the United States, which has experienced tremendous growth over the last several years, might collapse in 2017 without an extension of the ITC.”

The solar PV industry currently has a 50 GW pipeline of commercial and utility-scale PV projects from 2016 to 2019.  According to IHS, while all solar market segments are expected to benefit from the ITC extension, utility-scale PV will see the greatest gain and account for over half of the newly added capacity from 2016 to 2019.   Overall, the PV market is projected to decline 30 percent in 2017, because of a lower demand for utility-scale PV, but grow through the remainder of the forecast period.  Interestingly, the Northeast will not suffer the same decline as the rest of the US in 2017 thanks to its higher proportion of residential and commercial PV demand.  The future certainly looks bright for the solar community!

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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.