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Report: PV capacity to reach 5.3 GW in 2013

Over 48 percent of all new U.S. electric capacity installed in the first quarter of 2013 came from solar.

That’s according to the latest U.S. Solar Market Insight Report, from GTM Research and the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), which finds that 723 MW of solar capacity was installed in Q1 2013. That’s 33 percent more than the same period in 2012.

This figure represents the best first quarter performance for the solar industry to date. It’s also a record capacity for the residential and utility segments, with 164 MW and 318 MW installed in Q1 respectively.

“We are on the cusp of a new solar revolution in the U.S., driven by the rapid expansion of distributed generation,” said Shayle Kann, vice president of research at GTM.

Source: U.S. Solar Market Insight

“Installations will speed up over the next four years as projects become economically preferable to retail power in more locations. However, changes to net metering and electricity rate structures could serve as the market’s primary barrier to adoption.”

The report predicts 4.4 GW of of solar to be installed by the end of 2013, a figure which will grow to almost 9.2 GW by 2016. Adding concentrating solar into the mix will see the U.S. add 5.3 GW of photovoltaic solar this year, enough to power over 960,000 homes.

The residential segment grew the most, up 53 percent from the same period last year, and third-party systems (through power purchasing agreements or solar leasing) continue to expand in some regions. In California and Arizona, third-party solar systems accounted for 67 percent and 86 percent respectively of all residential PV installed in Q1 2013.

“The U.S. now has more than 8,500 MW of cumulative installed solar electric capacity, enough to power more than 1.3 million American households,” said Rhone Resch, president and CEO of SEIA.

“This sustained growth is enabling the solar industry to create thousands of good American jobs and to provide clean, affordable energy for more families, businesses, utilities, and the military than ever before.”


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