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No growth in US solar installations this year

June 13, 2018

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California: Solar technicians install solar panels on the roof of a house in Mission Viejo.—Reuters/file
California: Solar technicians install solar panels on the roof of a house in Mission Viejo.—Reuters/file

NEW YORK: New US solar installations in 2018 will stay at the same level as last year due to weakness in several major residential markets and a slowdown in big projects after a rush to beat a tax credit deadline, according to a report released on Tuesday.

The zero-growth forecast came despite a 13 per cent rise in the first quarter to 2.5 gigawatts, accounting for 55pc of total US generating capacity added, GTM Research said in the report commissioned by the Solar Energy Industries Association.

New solar installations, which surged for much of the last decade, fell almost 30pc in 2017 to 10.8 gigawatts because developers in 2016 completed a slew of projects ahead of a scheduled expiration of a key tax credit that ultimately was extended, the report said.

Government policies that supported renewable energy and a sharp fall in the price of the technology propelled expansion.

GTM raised its forecast for utility-scale installations by 2pc to 6.6 gigawatts, noting that many developers had secured panels before import tariffs were imposed by the Trump administration this year.

The tariffs will be felt mostly next year and beyond, GTM said, reducing its 2019 utility-scale forecast by 600 megawatts. This sector will grow about 5pc in 2019, but will be flat in 2021 and 2022 due to tariff-related project delays, it added.

Published in Dawn, June 13th, 2018

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