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article imageU.S. solar market poised to grow 14 percent in 2019

By Karen Graham     Mar 13, 2019 in Business
New U.S. solar installations will grow by 14 percent this year thanks to lower equipment prices that helped to revive a slew of delayed projects, consultancy Wood Mackenzie said in its latest outlook released on Wednesday.
Utility-scale solar installations are roaring back after a tough year in 2018 when solar PV installations dropped 2.0 percent to 10.6 GW, brought on by the Trump Administration’s Section 201 tariffs.
A new report released on Wednesday by Wood Mackenzie Power & Renewables and the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) forecasts the solar market is expected to grow 14 percent this year with some 12.1 gigawatts (GW) of solar panels installed in 2019 - reaching 15.8 GW in 2021.
SEIA’s president and CEO, Abigail Ross Hopper says, “The total amount of solar installed in America is on track to more than double in the next five years, proving solar’s resiliency and its economic strength. It’s clear, this next decade is going to be one of significant growth.”
Strata Solar s 50MW Hattiesburg  Mississippi Farm
Strata Solar's 50MW Hattiesburg, Mississippi Farm
Strata Solar
Residential solar installations
According to the report, the rebound has been helped by utilities including more solar in their long-term plans and corporate customers increasingly driving procurement. Residential installations are expected to continue to grow, driven by “a more diverse mixture of national and regional installers than in previous years,” said Austin Perea, senior solar analyst at Wood Mackenzie Power & Renewables.
California and Nevada showed the biggest growth in solar PV installations, while Texas and Florida, together, added more PV than some states with the highest penetration of solar.
Wood Mackenzie Power & Renewables
Non-residential solar
In the non-residential sector, which includes businesses, the forecast is for installations to fall by 13 percent to 1.8 GW in 2019. In 2018, installations in this sector fell 8 percent to 2.1 GW - partly because of delays in opening an incentive program in Massachusetts and policy changes in California.
With the wait for the roll-out of the Solar Massachusetts Renewable Target (SMART) program, this has led to a 64 percent year-over-year decline in Massachusetts’ market.
Natural gas growth
The year 2018 was a record year for natural gas build up in the U.S. FERC’s Energy Infrastructure Update estimated that 20 GW of gas came online in 2018. Many of the new gas plants were located on the East Coast, Midwest and South, with gas largely replacing an estimated 12.9 GW of retiring coal plants during the year, according to PV Magazine.
More about solar market, wood mackenzie, SEIA, utility scale, Residential installations
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