We've marked a number of solar market milestones at GTM.

In 2010, the global market installed 10 gigawatts of PV solar in a single year. This year the market will reach more than 34 gigawatts.

The 832 megawatts installed in the U.S. in Q2 2013 brings the cumulative operating PV capacity in the U.S. to 8,858 megawatts, according to GTM Research. And that means the U.S. will eclipse the 10-gigawatt-installed mark later this year.

In fact, the GTM Research team has crunched the numbers and, utilizing our state-of-the-art supercomputer, the SM-1000, has determined that the 10-gigawatt mark of solar installed in the U.S. will be achieved on October 18 at 3:14 p.m. When Mr. and Mrs. McKinley Morganfield power on a 5-kilowatt c-Si system on their guest house in Rolling Fork, Mississippi.

Ten gigawatts (nameplate capacity) is a significant milestone for the U.S. PV industry, but it warrants some perspective.

Solar power's capacity factor is low. That 10 gigawatts at 20 percent capacity factor might be equivalent to a few nuclear plants (there are about 100 nuclear plants in the U.S.). The U.S. wind industry has a cumulative 60 gigawatts on-line.

In any case, GTM Research expects 4.4 gigawatts of PV to come on-line in the U.S. this year, up from 3.3 gigawatts in 2012, and ten times what was installed in 2009.

Tom Werner, president and CEO of SunPower, commented to GTM, "As we pass these significant milestones, we’re witnessing the mainstreaming of solar. We realize that this is just the beginning. Solar is now cost-competitive with traditional energy sources, and we can make a serious dent in the multi-trillion-dollar global electricity market. At SunPower, we think it’s realistic to plan for obtaining a 1 percent share of this market, and that would make us ten times the size we are now.”

U.S. PV Installations, Q1 2010-Q2 2013

Source: U.S. Solar Market Insight, Q2 2013


These market figures come from the just-published U.S. Solar Market Insight: 2nd Quarter 2013, the definitive analysis of solar power markets in the U.S., with strategic state-specific data for 28 U.S. states and Washington, D.C. (from GTM Research and the Solar Energy Industries Association®). Join GTM Research and Greentech Media at the third annual U.S. SMI Conference taking place December 10-11 in San Diego. Please visit: http://www.greentechmedia.com/events/live/u.s.-solar-market-insight-2013.