2014 was a record-breaking year for the solar power industry around the world, and here in the U.S. we were installing new solar systems at a faster rate than ever before. New data from GTM Research shows a new solar system was powered on every 2.5 minutes last year—which is, if nothing else, a huge leap from past numbers, such as one system installed every two hours in 2004.
According to GreenTech Media, the high rate of solar power installations is the result of $15 billion of investment, with the largest growth seen in the residential sector. GreenTech notes that “200,000 systems were affixed to rooftops around the country. That’s up from 50,000 residential systems in 2011 — fourfold growth in the span of three years.”
In the first three quarters of 2014, 3,966MW of PV came online, bringing the total generating capacity of PV in the US to 16.1 gigawatts, alongside 1.4 gigawatts of concentrated solar power capacity. As of the end of the third quarter, the U.S. is home to a whopping “578,000 individual solar installations on rooftops, parking lots, landfills, deserts and fields”
Significant growth was also seen in utility scale installations, while the non-residential market (i.e., commercial, industrial, government and nonprofit) remained largely flat for the second year in a row. But there are signs of growth for 2015, and “[a]t the current pace, the U.S. will likely hit 900,000 cumulative installations across all sectors this year, and well over 1 million in 2016.”
Via GreenTech Media