Why 2016 Will Be Solar's Year Again

02 January 2016
Author :   FARSA Energy Jonoob

This year may not be as huge for solar as it looked before Congress extended the solar investment tax credit some projects can now relax into 2017 without losing their subsidy- but 2016 will still be bigger for sunshine than any year the United States has ever seen. And two mechanisms will roll out to support solar and wind—inexpensive utility-scale battery storage and the first plans for new carbon markets spawned by the Clean Power Plan and Paris Agreement.

Analysts at GTM Research expect 2 gigawatts of solar installation to slip from 2016 to 2017, but that still leaves 9-11 GW already queued up for installation in 2016, up from 6 GW in 2014 and perhaps 7.5 in 2015. 

Installations will continue to be driven by the falling price of solar electricity, which GTM predicts will routinely drop below 4¢ per kilowatt hour at the utility scale over the next two years—cheaper than gas or coal.

“In short, the ITC extension is a game-changer and accelerates the timeline for the next stage of solar. We’ll hit nearly 100 gigawatts of cumulative solar by the end of the decade — after starting the decade with less than 2 gigawatts,” said MJ Shiao, GTM’s director of Solar Research, in a roundtable discussion following the tax-credit extension.

 

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