Largest Quarter Ever Recorded for Solar Installations

By Editors of Power Engineering

The Solar Energy Industries Association reported the third quarter of the year shattered all previous quarterly solar photovoltaic installation records.

Approximately 4,143 MW of solar was installed in the United States during that quarter, a rate of one megawatt every 32 minutes.

However, that record might not stand long, as SEIA estimates the fourth quarter will record even higher solar installations.

“Coming off our largest quarter ever and with an extremely impressive pipeline ahead, it’s safe to say the state of the solar industry here in America is strong,” said Tom Kimbis, SEIA’s interim president. “The solar market now enjoys an economically-winning hand that pays off both financially and environmentally, and American taxpayers have noticed.”

Utility-scale solar projects represented 77 percent of the installation total. Next quarter, utility-grade installations are expected to reach 4.8 GW, which would be higher than the solar installations in all of 2015.

SEIA estimates the large pipeline of utility solar in the third and fourth quarters are due to the assumption of the expiration of 2016 tax credits.

Between the first and third quarters of this year, solar accounted for 39 percent of all new electric generating capacity brought online. In total, the U.S. should install 14.1 GW of solar through the end of 2016. Last year, 7.3 GW of solar was installed.

California became the first state to single-handedly add over one GW of solar production in the third quarter.

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