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Growth of Small Solar PV Continuing

Analysis of EIA data for the first four months of 2017 and for year-end 2016 show continuing strong growth in installations of small-scale solar facilities, and even stronger increases in the output of these facilities.

The ramp-up of solar capacity continued in the first four months of this year, as shown by newly released data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA).

The agency’s June 28, 2017, release of its “Estimated Small Scale Solar Photovoltaic Net Generation and Capacity” shows interesting results, along with a review of the annual data released for 2016.

For these small-scale solar facilities — which EIA defines as facilities sized below 1 MW — installed capacity increased 459 MW from January to February, and a similar amount between then and the end of April.


While January through April are not the best months for such installation work in snow-covered parts of the country, these monthly growth rates in the 1% to 3% range were exceeded by the monthly output of solar capacity during the same the first four months of this year, with double-digit increases each month, exceeding the growth seen in the prior year’s first four months.

Fully 40% of the U.S. total of 14.3 GW of this small solar PV capacity is installed in California, but two states in the northeastern U.S. have strong installed bases of these facilities, given their much smaller geographical footprint — New Jersey with 9% of the total and Massachusetts with 7%.

The EIA data that was used to deduce these findings can be found here. ♦



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