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U.S. Solar Market Sees Q1 Record Despite COVID-19

June 16, 2020
New solar PV capacity added in Q1 2020 totaled 3.6 GW, the largest first quarter ever in the U.S.

The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), along with Wood Mackenzie, recently released its U.S. Solar Market Insight Q2 2020 report, which revealed that the U.S. solar market installed 3.6 gigawatts (GW) of new solar photovoltaic (PV) capacity in Q1 2020, representing its largest first quarter ever in the United States. Additionally, solar accounted for nearly 40% of all new electricity generating capacity added in the nation.

The report also reveals the coronavirus is having a significant impact on the U.S. solar industry – from construction being delayed, customer demand dropping and access to financing for projects being challenged. The press release notes it is important to keep in mind that Q1 2020 was largely unaffected by the pandemic, but impacts are expected to appear in Q2 findings.

Forecasts show that in 2020, the residential market will see a -25% decrease in year-over-year (YOY) installation volumes, while the non-residential market with see a -38% YOY decrease. Distributed markets will see a combined -31% less solar installed in 2020 than forecasted before the pandemic predicted.

Overall, Wood Mackenzie forecasts +33% growth in 2020 due to strong performance of the utility-scale segment, expected to account for more than 14 GW of new installations this year.

Beyond 2020, all market segments face uncertainty caused by COVID-19, resulting in a downward revision of -3.6 GW to the 2020-2025 forecasts relative to last quarter, for a total of 113 GW of solar. Growth will be dependent on economies reopening, business demand recovery, financial market stability and resumption of growth in electricity demand.

For more information, visit the SEIA’s website or read the original press release