The Q2 solar installation figures are out. The headline here is that growth in residential installations flatlined, leaving utility scale projects as the major growth driver. The utility scale sector put in 452 megawatts in Q2, a 42 percent increase over Q1. Sequestration is partially to blame. Think Progress notes:
One drag on the solar market worth mentioning is the reduction in government spending thanks to sequestration, which included cuts to government incentives for solar. Sequestration was originally scheduled to hit at the start of this year — part of the overall “fiscal cliff” crisis — and a lot of the massive spike in installations in Q4 2012 can probably be attributed to efforts to take advantage of the incentives before they expired. Sequestration was ultimately delayed until March. But now that it’s in effect, it is significant that solar is still steadily clawing its way upward.
The solar industry is on track to install about 5 gigawatts this year, bringing total capacity to over 10 gigawatts. Total U.S. installed electricity capacity was 1050 gigawatts in 2011 so we’re still talking about a drop in the bucket, but the growth curve is picking up. And if we see grid parity in 2020, as many models predict, we could be nibbling at the growth hockey stick.