The US-American solar market at a glance
Despite all the news about fracking and coal, the share of renewable energies in the USA is growing steadily. Two million solar systems are currently installed in 2019. Almost half of the PV systems are located in sunny California. But the other states are also making strong gains. Due to the closure of coal-fired power plants – 18 plants were taken off the grid in 2018 – and the expansion of renewable energies, the conversion of the electricity sector in the USA is making further progress. Renewables, including hydropower, now account for almost 18 percent of US electricity. Thereby, hydropower accounts for about half of the total and the majority of green energy. However, with almost 12 GW of new capacity added, photovoltaics is a driving force behind this growth. Prices for crystalline silicon (c-Si) solar modules fell to about 27 US cents per watt in 2018, a dramatic decline from 79 US dollars per watt (2018 US dollars) in 1976.
In addition to the low prices for modules, strategies to promote the growth of sustainable energy by setting new, ambitious targets and regulations for clean energy are also on the agenda for the coming years. Good prospects for the solar industry. The Solar Energy Industries Association expects total installed PV capacity in the US to more than double in the next 5 years. Their projections show that over 14 GW of PV capacity will be installed annually by 2023.
The American PV market
After a low in 2017, the solar industry has recovered in recent months. In 2018, around 32,000 new PV systems were installed on roofs. However, uncertainties regarding solar and metal tariffs continue to weigh on purchasing decisions. This is one reason why the US market for residential and commercial solar systems has shrunk in the past. However, there are now signs that the market is picking up again in some states, especially in the pioneering state of California. Also a groundbreaking decision by the California Energy Commission at the beginning of 2018 plays an important role. From 2020, the installation of a PV system will be required for all new houses. This decision also has a considerable impact on long-term prognosis. In addition, demand will continue to rise as a result of developments in the combination of photovoltaics and storage (PV + S). Here, California and Hawaii are clearly leading in the area of commissioned projects. The Tesla solar segment experienced a decline. In 2018, the company had to hand over its leading role in the solar market to its competitor Sunrun. Previously, Tesla built one-third of all new photovoltaic installations on residential buildings in the USA. But that could change quickly. This year, Tesla CEO Elon Musk has announced that production of the solar roof presented in 2016 will be increased and a production of 1000 solar roofs per week will be achieved by the end of the year.
A Brief Outlook
The solar industry in the USA also remained robust and stable in 2018, despite uncertainty about new tax and tariff policies. While the focus of the current US government is not exactly on expanding renewable energies, many others are filling this gap. Governments, cities, communities and businesses continue to respond with increasingly ambitious sustainability goals that drive the growth of the solar market.
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