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U.S. solar PV demand to increase to 4.3 GW in 2013

A new report from NPD Solarbuzz finds that demand for solar PV will grow by 20 percent in the U.S. this year.

That will bring total demand for 2013 to 4.3 GW, according to the latest NPD Solarbuzz North America PV Markets Quarterly report.

The research firm forecasts that demand in the second quarter of 2013 will reach 1 GW; almost three-quarters of that will come from California, Arizona, New Jersey, and North Carolina, and 68 percent will be from utility-scale ground-mounted installations.

Residential and small commercial rooftop solar energy systems will make up 18% of demand in Q2, with another 14% from large commercial installations.

Credit: NPD Solarbuzz North America PV Markets Quarterly

Credit: NPD Solarbuzz North America PV Markets Quarterly

“The strong commercial and utility-based solar PV being deployed in the US is stimulated by state specific mandates that require solar to meet target levels, or carve-outs, of total energy production,” says Chris Sunsong, analyst at NPD Solarbuzz.

“Meanwhile, residential demand is being driven by new third-party ownership models that allow homeowners and businesses to install PV systems with minimal upfront commitments,” he continued.

But despite the positive outlook for this year, the report warns that this growth is reliant on strong demand from only a few states. In fact, over 85 percent of all demand for 2013 will come from just nine states, leaving the national market “highly vulnerable to any abrupt policy changes in the leading US PV states.”

“The success of federal incentives and aggressive renewable portfolio standards that were intended to stimulate domestic solar PV installations in the US is now coming under increased scrutiny at the state level”, added Sunsong.

The report also cites large utility-based projects in Arizona, California, New Mexico, and Texas as contributing to strong demand in the second half of 2013.

Overall, demand for solar PV is set to exceed 5 GW in 2014, growing at a compounded annual rate of 70 percent since 2009.


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