U.S. solar PV market is expected to witness significant growth on account of growing demand in commercial and residential segments. Subsidies and favorable regulatory framework are anticipated to drive market growth over the forecast period. Furthermore, a sharp decline in equipment cost owing to rise in installations particularly in California is expected to continue over the forecast period. Application segments including residential, non-residential and utility are expected to witness increased number of installations till 2016 owing to Investment Tax Credit (ITC) subsidy which would expire on December 31, 2016. U.S. solar PV market, being a subsidy-dependent market, is expected to witness a sharp decline in installations post-subsidy period owing to higher capital cost as compared to other forms of power generation. Residential sector has witnessed a significant upsurge over the past few years, on account of rising consumer awareness regarding environment protection coupled with subsidized module cost. In addition, low maintenance cost for solar PV as compared to other power generating units has resulted in a substantial demand for these modules over the past few years and the trend is anticipated to continue over the forecast period. Reduced carbon emission during electricity generation as compared to other sources of energy coupled with the availability of varied sizes of PV modules has led to a huge demand for solar PV over the past few years. Furthermore, availability of solar radiation across the U.S. has assisted in market growth over the past five years.
Module prices for solar PV have declined over the past few years owing to the presence of various federal subsidies and rise in module installations. Furthermore, raw material prices for manufacturing solar cells have also declined sharply owing to various technological and manufacturing improvements.
U.S. Solar PV Installed capacity, by application, 2012 – 2022 (MW)
The utility was the largest application segment for solar PV market in U.S. in 2014, followed by residential and non-residential segments. Shifting consumer preference towards renewable energy generation on account of environmental protection is expected to augment solar PV market growth. Increasing consumer awareness regarding environmental protection is expected to result in the development of sustainable energy and reduced carbon emission which is expected to augment solar PV market growth. Furthermore, technological advancements increasing electricity generation efficiency of modules and lower installation cost on account of subsidies is likely to fuel market growth. The non-residential segment is anticipated to witness a sluggish growth rate on account of incentive reduction post 2016. Few states witnessed substantial growth in a non-residential segment which was offset by installation downturns across other states including New Jersey and Hawaii.
California was the largest market for solar PV owing to growing installations particularly in utility and residential sectors. California accounted for more than 50% of market share followed by Arizona and New Jersey in 2014. California and North Carolina witnessed increased residential installations in 2014 owing to favorable subsidy policies and regulatory framework by the Federal government. Module prices are expected to witness sharp decline, particularly in California owing to large scale installations in the state over the next few years. Also, the inclination of states including California and Arizona towards renewable electricity generation is expected to propel market growth over the forecast period. California energy policies support the growth of renewable energy, which is expected to boost the U.S. solar market over the forecast period.
Key market participants include First Solar, SunPower, Suniva, 1Soltech, Alps Technology, Advance Power, Auxin Solar, BORG Inc., Pionis Energy, Solar Cynergy, Solar World, Zebra Energy, Green Brilliance, Lumos, Itek Energy. First Solar is the only manufacturer using cadmium telluride (CdTe) thin film technology which offers highest performance efficiency as well as increased yield as compared to polycrystalline and monocrystalline modules. Furthermore, production costs are lower as compared to other modules which make it favorable among solar PV installers.
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