Last updated December 2014. For up to date facts and figures, check out the Solar Market Insight 2014 Year in Review.
36% of All New Electric Capacity in 2014 From Solar
Q3 2014 represented the second largest quarter ever for solar installations in the U.S., with installed photovoltaic (PV) capacity topping the gigawatt mark for the fourth consecutive quarter to settle at 1,354 megawatts (MW). This performance represents 41% growth over Q3 of last year and brings cumulative installed solar capacity to 17,500 MW. With nearly 600,000 solar installations through Q3, the U.S. solar industry is on pace to complete its 1 millionth installation in 2015. Through Q3, 36% of all new electric capacity installed in 2014 has come from solar. (All data from SEIA/GTM Research “U.S. Solar Market Insight: Q3 2014” unless otherwise noted.)
Installations Continue to Boom
- There are now over 17,500 MW of cumulative solar electric capacity operating in the U.S., enough to power more than 3.5 million average American homes.
- With over 49,000 installations in Q3, nearly 600,000 U.S. homes and buisnesses have now gone solar. Through Q3, a new solar project has been installed every 3 minutes in 2014.
- Growth in Q3 was led by the residential sector, which grew 58% over Q3 2014, and the utility-scale sector, which installed over 800 MW for the 3rd time in 12 months.
Solar More Affordable Than Ever
- Year-over-year, the national average PV installed system price declined by 11% to $2.71/W in Q3.
- Since the third quarter of 2010, the average price of a PV panel has dropped by 63%.
Record Growth to Continue
- Roughly 6,500 MW of PV is forecasted to come online in 2014, representing 36% growth over 2013’s record installation levels.
- 2014 will be a record year for CSP as 767 MW is expected to be commissioned by years end.
- By the end of 2014, the U.S. should have over 20 GW of cumulative solar electric capacity, roughly the same amount that is expected to be installed just from 2015 - 2016.
Solar Helps Fortune 500 Companies Save Money
Data from SEIA's annual Solar Means Business report show that major U.S. corporations, including Walmart, IKEA and Macy's, are going solar at an incredible rate. The top 25 corporate solar users in America have installed more than 569 MW of capacity at 1,100 different facilities across the country as of August 2014.
- 129 million people - 41 percent of Americans - live within 20 miles of at least one of the solar installations reviewed for the report (see the map below).
- The average price of a completed commercial PV project in Q2 2014 has dropped by 14 percent year over year and by more than 45 percent since 2012.
- The top 25 corporate users have more than doubled their solar capacity since 2012.
For SEIA Members, there are even more resources available. Have all the industry data right at your fingertips with our handy cheat sheets, the Solar Means Business and Solar Market Insight Cheat Sheets are meant for you to print out and have at your desk. It summarizes top-line data from the full reports. Download them now.
In addition, SEIA compiles all of the Major Solar Projects across the U.S. into an ongoing list. Members have access to a sortable Excel file of the MSP list. Click here to download a copy.
As the solar industry grows, so does its benefit to the economy. According to The Solar Foundation, there are now nearly 174,000 solar workers in the U.S., a more than 20% increase over employment totals in 2014. These workers are employed at 6,100 businesses in every state. The increasing value of projects has injected life into the U.S. economy as well. In 2013, solar installations were valued at $13.7 billion, compared to $11.5 billion in 2012 and $8.6 billion in 2011.
Solar Companies Across the United States from
SEIA's National Solar Database