The U.S. solar market is expected to see record 119-percent growth this year, according to GTM Research.
In the U.S. Solar Market Insight Report 2015 Year in Review, published in conjunction with the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), GTM projects 16 GW of solar will be installed in the U.S. in 2016, more than doubling the record-breaking 7.3 GW installed in 2015.
Utility-scale installations are expected to represent 74 percent of the year’s installations.
The federal Investment Tax Credit (ITC) was originally set to expire at the end of the year, prompting developers to pursue a number of projects that would come online in 2016. The ITC, which provides a 30-percent tax incentive on all solar projects, was extended in December.
According to GTM’s report, new community solar programs, utility-led efforts enabling corporate procurement of offsite solar and ongoing debate over the value of rooftop installations are three key trends that will drive solar demand in 2016.
Colorado, Massachusetts and Minnesota are expected to install more than 100 MW of community solar this year.
The report forecasts year-over-year growth in 2017 for both the residential and non-residential photovoltaic (PV) markets but cautions that U.S. solar is expected to drop on an annual basis due to the pull-in of utility PV demand in 2016.
By 2021, GTM expects the U.S. solar market to surpass 100 cumulative GW, with an annual install rate of 20 GW or more.