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Records broken as US solar installations surge

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The U.S. solar market has "shattered" records for quarterly solar photovoltaic installation, according to a new report.

In the third quarter of 2016, 4,143 megawatts of solar PV were installed, equivalent to one megawatt every 32 minutes, according to the Q4 2016 U.S. Solar Market Insight report from GTM Research and the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA).

"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," Tom Kimbis, the SEIA's interim president, said in a statement on Tuesday.

GTM Research forecast that 14.1 gigawatts of new PV installations would come online in 2016, up 88 percent compared to 2015.

The potential of solar power as a clean energy source is significant. In 2014 the International Energy Agency stated that the sun could be the planet's biggest source of electricity by 2050.