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Solar Market Trends

The U.S. added 13.3 GW of solar in 2019, achieving 23% growth

March 25, 2020 PV InfoLink

According to the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), the U.S. added 13.3 GW of solar capacity last year, 23% more than in 2018. The newly added capacity included 2.8 GW of residential solar, 2 GW of non-residential solar, and 8.4 GW of utility-scale PV.

Residential solar addition grew by 15% year-on-year to the pre-2016 growth level; the 2.8 GW of added capacity indicated a new record high. By contrast, capacity installed in the form non-residential solar decreased. New generation capacity came from utility-scale PV represented a 37 % growth on the previous year.

2019 was a remarkable year for the U.S. residential solar market. It not only achieved a record-setting total of new installations but also saw established and emerging markets secure the top positions in the rankings that compare states in light of installed capacity. Residential solar growth is projected to range from 9% to 17% between now and 2021, then slow in 2022, but pick up in 2023 and hold up until 2024.
Residential solar installation

New capacity coming from the non-residential solar continues to drop due to state-level policy reform and interconnection delays. However, as policymakers and business leaders increasingly consider energy storage in their decision-making processes, the growing adoption of solar-plus-storage systems can drive up non-residential demand in the U.S. By 2025, around 30% of non-residential solar generation capacity in the U.S. will come from community solar, and one out of every four non-residential solar systems is expected to couple with storage.
Non-residential installation

Utility-scale PV became the foundation stone for the U.S. solar market in 2019, representing 63% of total solar additions in the year. The cumulative installed capacity of utility PV stood at 45.7 GW, accounting for 60% of all U.S. solar PV capacity. Over the next five years, 82 GW of utility-scale solar is predicted to come online, nearly double the volume installed over the last 10 years.   
Utility PV contracted pipeline
U.S. PV installation forecast
U.S. PV installation forecast by segment


Analysis by PV-perspective

As the demand for mono PERC modules continues to grow, PV-perspective will—starting with the 2019 annual review report—introduce a hybrid module pricing mechanism covering module prices in non-residential and utility solar markets. This pricing mechanism takes into account the weighted average of not just prices for multi modules but those for mono PERC modules. Created in Q4 last year, it does not apply when comparing system costs in non-residential and utility PV segments in that quarter with those in earlier quarters. Since mono PERC modules are more expensive than multi ones, estimating system costs based on this pricing mechanism will yield higher costs.
average system costs in U.S.

Global spot prices for all major solar products were lower in Q4 2019 than the earlier quarter. Polysilicon prices were down by 3.5%, prompting a corresponding dip in mono-Si and multi-Si wafer prices. Multi-Si cell prices declined for the second consecutive quarter in response to falling demand. A similar trend occurred in the multi module market. Mono-Si cell prices remained stable in in the second half of 2019 thanks to increased production volumes in Q4. Although mono module prices fell by USD 0.02/W in the same quarter, this suggested a well-balanced supply/demand equilibrium.

In the U.S., multi modules prices were down to USD 0.22/W in Q4, suggesting that demand for such modules has been declining. Mono PERC module prices bucked the upward trends observed in Q4, decreasing by USD 0.02–0.42/W for C&I projects. Meanwhile, bifacial modules prices showed some variations over the same period amid worries over trade wars.
supply chain prices

Source: PV-perspective

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