2016 has been a bright year for the U.S. solar industry – with almost 14 GW of newly installed solar power by the end of December, the U.S. market is expected to almost double its size compared to 2015. This capacity is enough to power 2.3 million homes, and is the equivalent of about 14 large natural gas or coal plants.
Especially the developement at the U.S. East Coast has been dynamic. Government approvals and incentive schemes are stimulating continuous industry growth. As a result, almost half of the US solar companies, i.e. approx. 3,000, are located on the East Coast. A total of 15,000 solar jobs are in Massachusetts which therefore ranks second in US solar employment statistics, followed by New York and New Jersey in fourth and fifth place respectively.
Employing about 2,500 workers, the State of New York is aggressively pushing forward the energy transition by mandating 50% of renewable energy by 2030. The Clean Energy Standard, which was approved in August 2016, requires involved stakeholders to obtain a targeted number of Renewable Energy Credits every year. The goal is to pay credits to developers to finance new projects. In its initial renewable energy procurement phase, renewable energy targets of 26.3% by 2017 and 30.5% by 2021 are set. Further remarkable developments were made in the borough of Brooklyn, where Mayor de Blasio inaugurated a new 3,152-panel rooftop solar installation at the Navy Yard as part of the 100MW of renewable energy on public buildings goal.
All these developments let New York City to rise its target for solar capacity to 1 GW of solar PV by 2030.
Further to latest developments in the solar industry, the Intersolar Summit USA East will, once again, take a close look at the emerging energy storage segment. According to experts at EuPD Research, more than a third of US installers already offer energy storage to their customers, and a further 26% are planning on including storage systems in their portfolio by the end of 2016. In the corresponding potential analysis for “storage ready country markets”, the U.S. ranks on the second place right after Germany. There is no question that demand for energy storage will also continue to increase while system prices are going further down.
As New York wants to secure investments in energy storage projects to enhance grid reliability, it just set its first energy storage deployment target to 100 MWh by 2020.