“It’s setting records every quarter,” said senior vice president of GTM Research Shayle Kann.
With the growing popularity, and dropping prices, of renewable energy technology, solar power is becoming one of the fastest-growing energy sources in the U.S.
In fact, 40% of all newly installed electricity systems in the first half of this year were solar according to a report by GTM Research and Solar Energy Industries Association.
And much like the growth of energy storage, solar power’s growth is in large part due to utilities. Companies are getting federal investment tax credits for integrating solar power into their grids.
But make no mistake, this isn’t the only growth this year. Home solar systems, like those offered in the combined efforts of SolarCity (NASDAQ:SCTY) and Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) are becoming more affordable and thus more prevalent.
Even shared solar systems, wherein a community will jointly invest in a solar power source, are growing in popularity. It’s “a market that’s just emerging, and we think it has real legs,” according to Kann.
Last year, the U.S. installed about 6.2 gigawatts of solar photovoltaic systems, and another 7.7 gigawatts are expected to be installed this year. By the end of 2016, Kann expects that the current capacity of 20 gigawatts of energy could grow to about 38 gigawatts.
Now, comparatively, this isn’t particularly large. But for a new and growing industry, this kind of quick spread is fantastic.
Only the possibility of reduced tax credits looms over the blooming market. If the credits were greatly reduced or removed, companies would have less incentives to install solar power.
This isn’t expected to happen until sometime between 2017 and 2019, and even these cuts may be offset by the incentive program in 2020 that will come into play with the Clean Power Plan regulations.
However, for now, the solar energy market is looking at another record-breaking year in capacity installation.
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Until next time,
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