Residential solar rebounds and sets new US record in Q3 with 712 MW installed

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The U.S. residential solar market hit record highs in the third quarter of 2019 with 712 megawatts of solar installed, according to the U.S. Solar Market Insight report from SEIA/WoodMac Power & Renewables.

Key takeaways from the report:
  • The U.S. installed 2.6 GWdc of PV in Q3, a 45% increase year-over-year.
  • The U.S. added a record 712 MW of residential solar capacity in Q3.
  • California added almost 300 MW of residential PV.
  • The contracted utility PV pipeline hit a record high of 45.5 GWdc.
  • Total installed U.S. PV capacity will more than double over the next five years.

New growth drivers in California

Perennial solar leader California installed a record 300 MW of residential PV in Q3, although the “growth drivers have shifted,” according to Austin Perea, senior solar analyst for Wood Mackenzie.

Perea suggests that it’s “new- build solar demand” and  “consumer interest in solar + storage solutions as a result of public safety power shutoffs” that are driving this record growth.

Non-residential PV is the one bit of bad news

According to WoodMac, policy reforms continued to hobble development in the key non-residential markets of California, Massachusetts and Minnesota. And it’s positive policy developments in New York, Maryland, Maine and New Jersey that could boost the non-residential space in the next few years.

2019 US solar forecast

The U.S. solar market added 2.6 gigawatts of solar photovoltaics in the third quarter, growing total U.S. solar capacity to 71.3 gigawatts. The increase in residential installations helped the U.S. solar market grow 45% year-over-year and contributed to 15 states having their best quarter ever for residential solar.

Wood Mackenzie is sticking with its previous 2019 U.S. solar forecast of 13 gigawatts (a 23% annual growth rate) although the staid analysts at WoodMac have tended towards the conservative side in these matters.