U.S. Solar Jumps 30% as Residential Installs Exceed 1 Gigawatt

(Bloomberg) — Demand for U.S. solar power increased 30
percent in 2014 as residential installations for the first time
surpassed 1 gigawatt, according to the Solar Energy Industries
Association
and GTM Research.

Developers installed a record 6.2 gigawatts of panels last
year, including about 1.2 gigawatts atop homes, the Washington-based trade group said today in a statement. About 3.9 gigawatts
of utility-scale and 1 gigawatt of commercial solar power were
added.

The residential market remained the fastest-growing
segment, gaining at least 50 percent in each of the past three
years, as cheaper panels and growing consumer awareness of
climate change spurred interest among homeowners. The market is
swelling as demand climbs in new regions, said Cory Honeyman, a
solar analyst with Boston-based GTM.

“Geographic diversification is something that’s becoming
more evident in 2015 — the fourth quarter of 2014 was the first
time California didn’t account for more than half of the
residential market,” Honeyman said in a telephone interview
Monday.

Solar generation in the U.S. accounted for almost one-third
of new capacity last year, topping wind and coal for the second
straight year, according to the report. Natural gas provided the
most new power.

GTM Research expects solar demand this year will grow 31
percent to about 8.1 gigawatts.

To contact the reporter on this story:
Justin Doom in New York at
jdoom1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story:
Reed Landberg at
landberg@bloomberg.net
Will Wade, Steven Frank

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