December 13 (Renewables Now) - In the third quarter of 2018, for the first time since 2015, US utility-scale solar installations dropped below 1 GW as a result of delays caused by the Section 201 solar tariff case.
In their latest US solar market report, Wood Mackenzie Power & Renewables and the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) forecast a rebound in the fourth quarter, which, with 3.5 GW of utility photovoltaic (PV) capacity additions, is expected to be the largest quarter for new installations since the end of 2016.
The weak third quarter volumes reflect uncertainty surrounding the imposition of solar tariffs in late 2017 and early 2018, which resulted in project delays.
“We did, however, see utility PV procurement outpace installations fourfold in Q3, showing that despite the tariffs causing project delays, there is substantial growth ahead for the US utility PV sector,” said Colin Smith, Senior Analyst at Wood Mackenzie. The market research company and SEIA observe a surge in utility solar procurement, with 11.2 GW direct current (DC) of projects announced so far in 2018.
In the third quarter the US solar market grew by 1.7 GW DC, down 15% year-on-year and 20% quarter-on-quarter. This is due to the fall in utility-scale capacity mainly. Residential solar installations remained flat and non-residential PV installations grew 6% on the quarter, but fell 6% on the year. Wood Mackenzie now forecast total 2018 PV installations of 11.1 GW DC.