Image from usatoday.com
Solar’s just a smidgen of the total energy market. It’s gaining ground fast, though. The largest solar trade show in North America opens in Las Vegas on Monday with another round of good news for the tiny but growing component of the U.S. electric power supply. Among the announcements planned for the Solar Power International 2016 is a report by GTM Research and the Solar Energy Industries Association that more than 2 gigawatts of solar photovoltaic (PV) systems were installed in the second quarter of 2016 – the 11th straight quarter that solar connections to the grid exceeded 1 gigawatt. All told, the new solar installations were roughly equal to those recorded in the first quarter of 2016. via usatoday.comSome of the highlights from the Berkeley Lab report include:
- National median installed prices dropped 5% YoY for residential and an average of 8% for non-residential
- Installed price median has fallen $1.90/W since 2010
- Installed prices can vary $.2/W to $.8W in California for least- to most-onerous permitting practices(Dong and Wiser, 2013)
- 95% to 99% of rebates were passed through to the consumer, rather than retained to increase installer margins
- California remains largely above the median figure for installed systems
- In the last decade, solar has experienced a compound annual growth rate of nearly 60%.
- Nearly 209,000 Americans work in solar – more than double the number in 2010 – at more than 8,000 companies in every U.S. state.
- The cost to install solar has dropped by more than 70% over the last 10 years.
- Nearly 32 GW of total solar capacity now installed, with 4 GW installed in first half of 2016
- In Q1 2016, hit 1 million solar installations, expected to reach 2 million within 2 years.