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California sets quarterly record for solar PV in 2Q13 as US adds 976 megawatts, says Solarbuzz

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he US added 976 megawatts of new solar photovoltaic (PV) capacity during second-quarter 2013, up 24% on quarter from 788 megawatts in first-quarter 2013, according to Solarbuzz.

“In the second quarter, new PV installed in California alone reached 521 megawatts, which is a new record for PV added by any state in the US for a three-month period and 53% of PV added in the US,” according to Finlay Colville, VP at Solarbuzz. “California has added 1.6GW in the past 12 months, with a further 1.1GW forecast for the second half of the year.”

During the second quarter, 72% of solar PV installations were ground mounted, with the remaining 28% from residential and commercial rooftops. Utility-based PV projects accounted for 59% of quarterly demand, with the remaining 41% split between commercial and residential installations.

Strong demand continues to come from the ground-mount utility segment. PG&E has recently completed several large-scale projects within California, including the California Valley Solar Ranch, phase three of Topaz Solar, phase two of Antelope Valley Solar Ranch, and Gates Solar Farm. Other large ground-mount projects include the Arizona Public Service Agua Caliente plant and phase one of PG&E’s Copper Mountain Solar 2 in Arizona, said SolarBuzz.

Solar PV demand in the US is forecast to grow 14% on quarter to 1.04GW in the third quarter of 2013. During the second half of the year, Arizona and North Carolina together will add 400 megawatts and an additional 500 megawatts will come from New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, and Texas.

Outside California, Arizona, New Jersey, and other established US state markets, new solar PV markets are developing. In particular, North Carolina is forecast to grow by 80% on year in 2013 to reach 285 megawatts, with further growth of 30% in 2014. As the leading project developer in the state, Strata Solar completed almost 100 megawatts of projects during the twelve-month period ending in June 2013.

Between third-quarter 2012 and second-quarter 2013, First Solar continued to lead module suppliers to the US market, with a market share of 22%, followed by SunPower at 12%. Leading first-tier China suppliers Yingli Green Energy, Trina Solar, Canadian Solar, and Suntech filled the next four ranking positions and collectively supplied 27% of US market demand, noted SolarBuzz.

US PV demand for 2013 is forecast to increase 17% on year to reach 4.22GW. Solarbuzz expects 2014 PV demand to exceed 5.3GW. Further growth over the next five years will result in the US having 20% of global PV demand.

Confirming the strong PV growth potential of the US market, the pipeline of commercial and utility projects now exceeds 44GW. This pipeline includes more than 2,300 projects of 50kW and higher, with commercial applications accounting for more than half of the total, SolarBuzz added.

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