A solar installer is pictured here on the roof of a large scale commercial installation. (JE Dunn Construction)

New U.S. solar installations in 2018 will stay at the same level as last year due to weakness in several major residential markets and a slowdown in big projects.

The zero-growth forecast came despite a 13 percent rise in the first quarter to 2.5 gigawatts, accounting for 55 percent of total U.S. generating capacity added, GTM Research said in the report commissioned by the Solar Energy Industries Association.

New solar installations, which surged for much of the last decade, fell almost 30 percent in 2017 to 10.8 gigawatts because developers in 2016 completed a slew of projects ahead of a scheduled expiration of a key tax credit that ultimately was extended, the report said.

The research firm ratcheted down its 2018 residential market outlook by 8 percent from 2.4 GW to 2.2 GW. Mature markets including Massachusetts, New York, and New Jersey are expected to decline this year, GTM said.

The report also said that residential system prices have stagnated as the cost of acquiring customers has risen steadily over the last four quarters.

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