California Breaks Record in Q2 for Solar Installations

California breaks record in Q2 for solar installations

California breaks solar recordMore than half of the new solar energy capacity installed in the United States during the second quarter of 2013 was installed in California.

The state broke a major record in the second quarter of this year, according to a recent release from market analysis firm NPD Solarbuzz.

The state installed 521 megawatts of solar, which is the most solar ever installed in any state during a single quarter.

“California has added 1.6 GW in the past 12 months, with a further 1.1 GW forecast for the second half of the year,” NPD Solarbuzz Vice President Finlay Colville said.

The growth in the California market follows national growth in demand for solar, which NPD Solarbuzz forecasts will grow another 14 percent from the second quarter to the third. Analysts predict the country will install another 1.04 gigawatts of solar in the third quarter of 2013, with California continuing to lead the country in solar installations.

The majority of new solar installed during the second quarter was utility-scale ground-mounted solar PV. NPD reported that 72 percent of new solar was ground-mounted and the remaining 28 percent were distributed rooftop residential and commercial solar arrays.

“Strong demand continues to come from the ground-mount utility segment,” according to the release. “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.”

While California is certainly the solar market leader, other states are aggressively growing their solar portfolios and some emerging markets are rising quickly.  For example, demand for new solar is forecast to grow 80 percent year-over-year in North Carolina, which recently approved new incentives. The state will likely see 285 megawatts of solar installed by the end of 2013 and should see another 30 percent growth spurt in 2014.

Other states, including Arizona, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York and Texas are driving solar industry growth and will account for the majority of installed solar outside of California this year.