Photo by Michael Mazengarb, CC BY 2.0.
Photo by Michael Mazengarb, CC BY 2.0.

The Solar Energy Industries Association and GTM Research report that in 2015, for the first time ever, solar beat out natural gas electricity generating capacity additions, with solar supplying 29.5 percent (equaling 7,286 MW) of all new electric generating capacity in the U.S.

U.S. Solar PV Installations, 2000-2015 (Source: GTM Research / SEIA)
U.S. Solar PV Installations, 2000-2015 (Source: GTM Research / SEIA)

The residential solar market grew 66 percent year-over-year and, for the first time in history, annual installation eclipsed two gigawatts (GW). Cumulative U.S. solar PV installations have now topped 25 GW, up from just 2 GW in 2010.

Share of U.S. PV Installations by Segment, 2000-2015 (Source: GTM Research / SEIA)
Share of U.S. PV Installations by Segment, 2000-2015 (Source: GTM Research / SEIA)

“The U.S. solar market remains concentrated in key states, with the top ten states accounting for 87 percent of installed capacity in 2015,” said Shayle Kann, Senior Vice President of GTM Research. “But growth has been widespread, and 24 of the 35 states that we track individually saw market  growth in 2015.”

On March 9, GTM Research and SEIA will release the complete U.S. Solar Market Insight 2015 Year-in-Review with detailed market analysis and updated forecasts.

Key Findings:

  • The U.S. installed 7,286 MW (DC) of solar photovoltaics (PV) in 2015, the largest total ever and 17% above 2014
  • The 7.3 GW installed in 2015 is 8.6 times the capacity installed five years earlier in 2010
  • Residential was once again the fastest growing sector, installing over 2 GW (DC) for the first time and growing 66% over 2014
  • Utility solar PV also had a record year with over 4 GW installed, up 6% over 2014
  • 110 MW (AC) of concentrating solar power (CSP) capacity came online in late 2015 when SolarReserve’s Crescent Dunes project began sending electricity to the grid
  • Non-residential solar was essentially flat for the third year in a row, installing just over 1 GW (DC)
  • Cumulative solar PV installations reached over 25 GW (DC) by the end of the year, up from just 2 GW at the end of 2010

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New Solar Capacity Exceeds New Gas Capacity