Sunday, 28 July 2013

U.S. photovoltaic power installations rise 33 pct in 1st quarter
11 Jun 2013

New solar photovoltaic power installations in the United States totaled 723 MWs (MW) during the first quarter, up 33% over the same period in 2012, industry analysts said in a report on Tuesday.

GTM Research and Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) forecast that during 2013, the industry will install 4.4 GWs of photovoltaic power facilities-enough to power about 800,000 average American homes. That will rise to nearly 9.2 GW annually in 2016.

As the cost of solar photovoltaic panels declines, solar power is one of the fastest-growing new energy sources in United States "Installations will speed up over the next four years as projects become economically preferable to retail power in more locations", said Shayle Kann, vice president of research at renewable power information company GTM, a unit of Greentech Media.

Kann warned, however, that changes to net metering and electricity rate structures could serve as the market's primary barrier. SEIA is an industry trade group.

The report said the average residential photovoltaic system price fell below $5.00 per watt, while the average nonresidential system price fell below $4.00 per watt. The report also said concentrating solar power capacity is expected to make "major gains" by the end of the year, adding more than 900 MW of capacity.

The report looked at both photovoltaic power, which uses solar panels to generate power, and concentrating solar power, which uses mirrors to concentrate sunlight on a tower or other structure to heat liquid to produce steam to power a turbine. It said the United States now has more than 8.5 GW of installed solar capacity and is expected to add 5.3 GW in 2013.

Some of the biggest solar power companies include units of Abengoa SA, Consolidated Edison Inc, Electricite de France SA, Enel Green Power SpA, FirstSolar Inc, Iberdrola SA, NextEra Energy Resources, NRG Energy Inc, Sempra Energy and SunPower Corp.