2016 was a great year for the solar industry market. As a matter of fact, the industry nearly doubled since 2015 with 14,626 megawatts of PV installed. Despite the success that last year’s solar energy installations were driven by utility scale projects, commercial and residential markets have also experienced solid growth throughout the US. 95% increase is due to the extension of the Federal Investment Credit and utility companies integrating solar as an energy resource. Also, with trends in community solar, which in 2016 accounts for 200 megawatts, there’s now a shift with the framework on how solar energy can be more attainable.

With a cumulative capacity of over 40 gigawatts, U.S. for the first time ever has been ranked as the #1 source of new electric generating capacity. That means that in 2016, solar energy accounted for 39% of all new generating capacity additions for all fuel types. A total of 12.6 gigawatts of small scale solar PV was installed. 56% was in residential installations, 36% in commercial, with 8% in industrial projects. Residential PV peaked last year at 2.1 billion kWh.

small scale

California is pushing towards their sustainable goals, since the state’s goals is to reduce carbon emission with electric and gas consumption. And with the advent of battery storage having a strong influence with sustainability, the state has built various infrastructure to begin storing close to 100 megawatts of clean energy. As more solar energy in installed and generated,there will also be the need for battery storage to collect and discharge energy when necessary. One example is SCE (Southern California Edison) installing 396 Tesla lithium batteries at their storage facility in Mira Loma for the purpose of improving the grid’s reliability to meet the state’s energy goals.

Strong market growth and falling costs will continue to be the driving force toward renewable energy. According to GTM Research, battery storage in the U.S. is projected to grow to 2.1 gigawatts by 2021 accounting for 50% of the storage market. Today, battery storage accounts for about 15%.

GTM Research / SEIA U.S. Solar Market Insight report