American utility solar enjoys building boom, while residential slows

American solar installations edged up 43% during the second quarter, as steep revenues in large projects for utilities compensated struggling growth in residential systems in top solar market California.

During the second quarter, the United States installed up to 2,051 megawatts of photovoltaic solar, according to a report issued by research firm GTM Research as well as the Solar Energy Industries Association trade group. Systems for utilities made up approximately 53% of the market during the first half of 2016, due to sharply lower system prices, competitive with fossil fuels as well as state mandates to source more electricity from renewable sources.

A federal tax credit worth 30% of the cost of a solar system has also backed the utility market's growth. The credit had been supposed to expire at the end of 2016, thus leading to a building boom in 2016. However, the credit was extended by Congress for five years at the end of the previous year.

It means that 5.7 gigawatts of projects expected to come on line in 2016 will spill over into next year. Approximately 8 GW are supposed to come online later this year.

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