According to Bloomberg New Energy Finance, spending on renewable energy capacity is expected to total $7 trillion over the next 20 years. Limited conventional fuel supplies, growing demand for energy, advances in technology, continuing climate change, and improving price competitiveness between traditional and renewable energy sources are expected to drive the continued growth of renewable energy for years to come.
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.)
Although the distributed generation market has grown by impressive strides, the primary backbone of US demand continues to be utility Photovoltaic (PV). More than 10 gigawatts of utility PV earned Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) between 2010 and 2012 alone, thanks to a wave of aggressive procurement driven state led Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS). This contracted pipeline is finally becoming realized, and the outlook for PV remains stronger than ever as contracted capacity continues to outpace capacity brought on-line in primary markets (California and North Carolina are leading the industry) and secondary markets as well (Georgia, Minnesota, Texas, Utah, and Colorado). Commercial markets along with residential markets will also realize a significant increase in installations.