Solar power has been one of the leading technologies in renewable energy growth. Recently, the industry broke yet another record with residential photovoltaics (PVs) leading the way.
According to the most recent U.S. Solar Market Insight report from Wood Mackenzie Power & Renewables, a market research analyst, and the Solar Energy Industries Association, the third quarter of 2019 was a boom for solar installations.
The industry added 2.6 gigawatts (GW) of solar photovoltaics in July, August and September. This growth expanded total existing U.S. solar capacity to 71.3 GW. That represents a year-over-year growth rate of 45%, and a 25% increase from the second quarter of 2019.
This expansion was fueled by record breaking growth in the residential solar market, which saw 712 megawatts (MW) of solar installed. That represents a 10% increase from the previous quarter and 18% growth from the same quarter in 2018.
The study projects this trend to continue, with growth rates in the residential PV sector ranging from 8-18% over the next two years.
Other sectors of the industry are also experiencing growth. The report notes that utility-scale PVs maintained the largest share of installed capacity in the United States during the third quarter. A total of 1.4 GW of utility PV capacity was installed, which represents 55% of all solar capacity added during the third quarter of 2019.
This trend is expected to continue and expand. According to the report, a record high of 10.4 GW of utility-scale solar projects are currently under construction. Another 8.1 GW of new projects were announced in the third quarter. With 21.3 GW of new projects announced through the end of the third quarter, the contracted pipeline now stands at 45.5 GW, which is the highest level it has ever been in the history of U.S. utility-scale solar.