Big increase for US solar in 2016: Report

Anmar Frangoul | Special to
Ethan Miller | Getty Images

The U.S.'s solar power capacity continues to grow after more than two gigawatts (GW) of solar photovoltaic (PV) installations took place during the second quarter of 2016, according to a report released on Monday.

The latest U.S. Solar Market Insight Report from GTM Research and the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) stated that the installations represented a 43 per cent increase compared to the second quarter of 2015.

"We're seeing the beginning of an unprecedented wave of growth that will occur throughout the remainder of 2016, specifically within the utility PV segment," Cory Honeyman, associate director of U.S. solar research at GTM Research, said in a news release.

Solar is becoming an increasingly important part of the world's renewable energy mix. In 2014 the International Energy Agency stated that the sun could be the planet's biggest source of electricity by 2050.

"With more than 10 gigawatts of utility PV currently under construction, the second half of this year and the first half of 2017 are on track to continue breaking records for solar capacity additions," Honeyman added.

The report found that utility scale installations represented 53 percent of all installed PV in the first half of 2016, with an extra 7.8 GW set to come online in 2016.

"Solar works in all 50 states and this report proves that what many would consider non-traditional markets are now firmly a part of the clean energy movement," Tom Kimbis, SEIA's interim president, said.

"While it took us 40 years to hit 1 million U.S. solar installations, we're expected to hit 2 million within the next two years," Kimbis added. "That record-breaking growth is made possible by solar's cost-competitiveness and the vast benefits it provides consumers, our nation's economy and environment."