Solar Stepping Into The Spotlight


In our previous analysis of the US renewables industry we have tended to focus on the wind sector, given the vast size of the market, the precarious nature of the subsidy scheme for wind projects and the high-levels of debate surrounding the offshore market. However, the US solar market should not be overlooked, as we are witnessing significant growth in the sector, supported by a strong pipeline of large-scale commercial projects, technology advances which are improving the viability of projects and increased numbers of high-profile corporations making plays within the solar market.

Our long-held view on the US wind industry is so far playing out, whereby we have seen a cycle of boom and bust over 2012 and 2013, in line with the country's subsidy scheme expiration - the Production Tax Credit (PTC) ( see 'Investors Warming To Renewables', December 5 2013). In 2012, wind capacity surged by 27.9% from the previous year, and then dropped to 1.8% during 2013. In recent months we have tended to focus our analysis of the US renewables industry on the wind market, owing to the sheer size of the industry, which dwarves the other renewable energy sub-sectors (wind power contributes nearly 70% to the total non-hydro renewables capacity in the country), the shifting dynamics of the PTC and the high-levels of debate and contention surrounding the US offshore wind market.

However, the solar segment is emerging as a contender for the limelight as we continue to witness high levels of growth in the industry, and numerous positive announcements over the beginning of 2014 suggest that growth will remain robust. Indeed, we are forecasting that the solar sector will register the highest growth of any renewable segment between now and 2020, highlighting that there are still ample opportunities for investment into the market.

Solar Surging
US Total Non-Hydro Renewables Capacity By Type and Growth, 2014 and 2020

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This article is tagged to:
Sector: Renewables
Geography: United States

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