US solar market added more than two gigawatts in first quarter of 2017, new study shows

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The solar market in the U.S. added 2,044 megawatts – just over two gigawatts (GW) – of new photovoltaic capacity in the first quarter of 2017, according to the latest U.S. Solar Market Insight Report.

The report, from GTM Research and the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), said that total installed capacity hit 44.7 GW, enough to power more than 8 million homes. In addition, utility-scale prices fell below $1 per watt for the first time.

While this was the sixth straight quarter where over 2 GW of solar PV was installed, it nevertheless represented a two percent decline "year-over-year."

Nevertheless, over the next five years, total installed solar PV capacity was expected to almost triple.

Commenting on the report, the SEIA's president and CEO, Abigail Ross Hopper, maintained a positive attitude. "The solar market clearly remains on a strong upward trajectory," she said in a statement on Thursday.

"Solar is delivering more clean energy, adding jobs 17 times faster than the U.S. economy and creating tens of billions of dollars in investment," she added. "With its cost-competitiveness, we know solar will continue to play a growing role in America's energy portfolio."