The global solar market slowed last year, mainly due to the world’s largest PV market limiting development. In June 2018, the Chinese government cut off state-funded utility-scale solar development, which dropped the country’s total solar projects to 45 GW for the year after being forecasted to bypass 52 GW. IHS Markit expects the global market to rebound from single-digit to 25% growth this year, mostly because of markets outside of China. In fact, the United States should overtake India as the second-largest PV market this year, rebounding from its own downturn.
Policy changes and lingering uncertainty around solar panel tariffs saw the U.S. solar market drop 2% in 2018, but strong residential solar interest and a rush to get projects in before the federal ITC begins to step-down have encouraged Wood Mackenzie Power & Renewables and SEIA to predict 14% growth in 2019. The cumulative U.S. operating PV capacity stands at 62 GW, and an additional 12 GW is expected to be installed this year.
Things are looking even better for domestic power generation. The U.S. Energy Information Administration expects non-hydro renewable energy resources to be the fastest growing source of domestic electricity generation for at least the next two years. U.S. utility-scale solar will grow 10% in 2019 and then by another 17% in 2020. Fueled by wind and solar projects, EIA forecasts electricity produced by non-hydro renewables to increase from 10% of total U.S. generation in 2018 to 13% by 2020.