Solar market expected to triple over next five years

Rooftop solar panels like these atop Google HQ don't count toward the state's RPS goals

Rooftop solar panels like these atop Google HQ don't count toward the state's RPS goals

The outlook for the future of solar power The outlook for 2017 shows that 13.2 GW of solar PV will be installed in the USA, a 10 percent drop over 2016 figures. The dip will only occur in the solar utility market, following the unprecedented number of utility-scale projects that came online in the latter half of 2016 before the federal tax credit ran out. The technology is cheaper than ever, with panel prices dropping 40 percent previous year, and many utilities procuring solar on the basis of cost alone.

"With solar and storage becoming cheaper and more affordable every day it's no surprise that ordinary South Australians have looked to clean energy while South Australia's power has been in the headlines", says Solar Citizens' Dan Spencer. The index has recovered to gain almost 8 percent so far this year but remains 65 percent below its year-ago level.

Colorado's solar power capacity shot up an impressive 70 percent in 2016, but the state still lost its top 10 ranking after solar capacity across the nation almost doubled, according to the U.S. Solar Market Insight Report out Thursday.

Indeed, the solar industry report released on Thursday forecasts a slowdown in the market this year after last year's boom. That total may reach 3 percent by 2020, Baca said. The five-year extension of that credit, however, has allowed projects to be pushed into this year and beyond.

Installations from July until December 2016 jumped 21% compared to the first six months of the year, while 6,424 solar systems were installed across the state since July.

By 2019, the USA solar market is expected to resume year-over-year growth across all market segments that include PV rooftop and utility scale. Growth has slowed in major markets like California, where numerous households most interested in solar have already put up panels. But over the next five years, the nation should see its solar-power capacity triple, Baca said.

SolarCity rival Sunrun reported a quarterly profit that topped Wall Street estimates due to cost cuts, but said growth would be subtantially slower in 2016.

"While it may be slowing, it is still growing".

"The reason we are dropping is because after early Colorado leadership in solar, other states are catching up and passing us through innovative policies", said Rebecca Cantwell, executive director of the Colorado Solar Energy Industries Association. "Some of that resetting is to be expected".

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