The US solar PV market is estimated to reach an installed capacity of 60 GW by 2022. The rising demand for electricity coupled with increasing consumer awareness concerning the benefits of renewable resources is anticipated to have a positive impact on the market growth. The increasing demand for solar PV panels in commercial and residential applications is expected to drive market growth.
A solar photovoltaic system generates electricity from sunlight with the help of semiconductors. The electrons in these materials are freed by sunlight and can be induced through an electric circuit to generate electricity. The growth of solar PV technology is fastest as compared to other renewable energy sources owing to free availability of sunlight.
The government subsidies and regulations are beneficial to the market growth. In addition, the growth in the number of solar panel installations mainly in California has caused a steep decline in the module prices. The decrease in the price of raw materials coupled with advanced manufacturing processes is anticipated to have a positive impact on the growth of U.S. solar PV market.
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The application segments namely, residential, utility and commercial/non-residential are anticipated to increase substantially on account of the Investment Tax Credit (ITC) subsidy till 2016. In 2016, the US solar market grew by 97% adding about 15GW of new capacity. The electricity provided by solar energy accounted for over 39% of the total installed electric capacity in 2016.
The residential segment witnessed a substantial growth in the upcoming years owing to the increasing concern of consumers regarding the protection of environment together with decreased cost of the module. In addition, the cost of maintenance of solar PV is low as compared to other sources of power generation which have led to an increase in demand for the modules.
The reduction in carbon emission during the generation of electricity as compared to other sources together with the variable sizes available in solar PV modules is expected to have a positive impact on the market growth. In addition, the availability of solar insolation across the US is anticipated to aid the demand of solar PV modules in the country.
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The utility segment contributed to over 50% of the overall U.S. solar PV market installations in 2014. The development of technology has increased the efficiency of electricity generation by solar PV modules coupled with low installation cost owing to government subsidies is expected to drive market growth.
The commercial application segment is expected to witness a growth at CAGR of around 14% over the forecast period. The shift in consumer inclination towards the utilization of renewable energy for electricity generation owing to environmental protection is likely to fuel solar PV market growth in U.S.
California contributed to over 7,815 MW power in 2014 on account of the exposure to solar radiation together with growing number of installations in residential and utility sectors. In addition, there is a sharp decline in the cost of equipment owing to large-scale installations of solar PV which is expected to lead market growth.
California accounts for over 50% of the residential segment of the solar PV system installations followed by New Jersey and Arizona. There is a significant decline in raw material prices owing to technological advancements and bulk ordering from China. The extension of federal ITC is likely to propel market demand of solar PV in the country.
The favorable energy policies in California is likely to propel growth for renewable energy leading to a rise in market demand for solar PV modules. The preference of consumers in Arizona and California towards the use of environmentally friendly renewable energy is expected to bolster the solar PV market demand.
North Carolina is likely to have an increase in the contribution towards US solar market owing to a growth in residential installations. Furthermore, the high cost of power in North Carolina as compared to other states including Louisiana, Washington, and Kentucky is likely to boost market growth in the region.
The major players in the industry include SunPower, 1Soltech, Advance Power, BORG Inc., Solar Cynergy, Zebra Energy, Lumos, First Solar, Suniva, Alps Technology, Auxin Solar, Pionis Energy, Green Brilliance, Solar World, Itek Energy.
First Solar utilizes cadmium telluride (CdTe) thin film technology which gives high efficiency as compared to monocrystalline and polycrystalline modules. Moreover, the production costs are subordinate to other modules making it advantageous among all solar PV installers.