The Texas solar industry has marked its strongest quarter ever with 375 megawatts of new capacity added in just three months, according to a new report.
The report also ranked Texas second among states for solar growth during the second quarter of 2017, and projected Texas to have the second largest solar market in the nation within five years.
These findings and more were included in the U.S. Solar Market Insights Report, released Monday by the Solar Energy Industries Association, a trade group.
And while the findings were generally favorable for the solar industry in Texas, nationwide they were more mixed. For instance, the report found both a record amount of solar photovoltaics installed nationwide during the second quarter, but also a significant slowdown in the home photovoltaic sector.
The researchers blamed a softening of the markets in California and other states as well as the increasing cost of acquiring new customers. “Slowdown in residential solar is largely a function of national installers scaling back operations in major state markets as they prioritize profitability over growth,” said Austin Perea, a research analyst for GTM Research that co-sponsored the report.
Nationwide, the solar industry installed 2,387 megawatts of new solar PV during the second quarter. That represents an 8 percent year-over-year gain. The Solar Markets Report also found quarter-over-quarter growth among all three U.S. solar market segments — commercial, residential and utility-scale.
But the non-residential market grew 31 percent during the second quarter, while residential solar increased only by 1 percent — and it was actually down 17 percent from the previous year.
Through the first half of 2017, 22% of all new electric capacity brought online in the U.S. came from solar, ranking it second over that time to natural gas, according to the authors. All told, the solar industry will add about 1.2 gigawatts of new capacity in 2017.
California led the nation for second quarter solar growth, with the addition of 751 megawatts in photovoltaics. Texas was second with the addition of 378 MW, and North Carolina came in third with 227 MW.
A megawatt of power is roughly that amount needed to serve 200 homes on a hot summer day. There are 1,000 megawatts in a gigawatt.
Is a policy analyst for TCAP, a coalition of cities and other political subdivisions that purchase electricity in the deregulated market for their own governmental use. Because high energy costs can impact municipal budgets and the ability to fund essential services, TCAP, as part of its mission, actively promotes affordable energy policies. High energy prices also place a burden on local businesses and home consumers.