The U.S. reached a total capacity of 1,330MW of solar PV installations in Q1-2014. Independent research by GTM and the Solar Energy Industry Association (SEIA) confirm an installed 232MW residential PV within this capacity.

This exceeds the non-residential market’s 225MW — which is a big deal!

What Happened?

The utility and residential PV market growth has been the driving force for solar PV installations for years now. The reason being an uncertainty and volatility in the non-utility; non-residential market.

Specifically financial issues – which creates the largest barriers to the adoption of non-residential PV, and is partly responsible (coupled with policy changes) for the slow growth in the market seen in this report.

“Solar energy is now generating enough clean, reliable and affordable electricity to effectively power 3 million American homes, while creating thousands of new jobs nationwide and pumping nearly $15 billion a year into the U.S. economy,” said SEIA President and CEO Rhone Resch.

Non-the-less, the utility PV market dominated as usual with more than 171% growth between Q1 2013 and Q1 2014 –with about 873MW justifying two-thirds of total Q4 installations.

“Solar accounted for 74% of all new U.S. electric capacity installed in Q1 2014, further signaling the rapidly increasing role that solar is playing in the energy market,” said Shayle Kann, Senior Vice President at GTM Research. “Expect to see a resurgence in the non-residential market, combined with continued incremental residential growth, throughout the rest of this year.”

Analysts state with certainty that despite the drop in the rate of commercial PV installations — it is expected to rebound and exceed the residential market in 2014 annual PV installations.

Derick Lila
Derick is a Clark University graduate—and Fulbright alumni with a Master's Degree in Environmental Science, and Policy. He has over a decade of solar industry research, marketing, and content strategy experience.

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