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Each quarter, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) conducts the Quarterly Solar Industry Update, a presentation of technical trends within the solar industry, to the solar office staff. Each presentation focuses on global and U.S. supply and demand, module and system price, investment trends and business models, and updates on U.S. government programs supporting the solar industry.

Key updates from the 2019 Q4/2020 Q1 Quarterly Solar Industry Update presentation, released June 19, 2020:

  • At the end of 2019, global photovoltaic (PV) installations reached 627 gigawatts direct current (GWDC), an annual increase of 115 GWDC from 2018.
    • In 2019, the leading markets in terms of annual deployment were China (30 GWDC), the U.S. (13 GWDC), and India (10 GWDC).
  • Before the spread of COVID-19, analysts had projected that global PV demand would grow 14%–22% from 2019 to 2020—now they expect demand to remain flat in 2020.
  • In 2019, approximately 681 megawatts (MW) of concentrating solar-thermal power (CSP) was installed globally in Israel, China, South Africa, and Kuwait.
  • The United States installed 13.4 GWDC of PV in 2019 and 5.9 GWDC in Q4, and cumulative capacity reached 76 GWDC.
  • Since 2016, PV has represented approximately 30% of new U.S. electric generation capacity, with an estimated 34% in 2019.
  • In 2019, solar represented 5.4% of net summer capacity and 2.6% of annual generation in the United States.
    • California leads with almost 20% of generation in 2019, representing a 52 times increase from 2010 (0.4%).
  • At the end of 2019, there were approximately 2.3 million residential PV systems in the United States. 
  • The United States installed approximately 1.1 gigawatt-hours (GWh) (0.5 GW) of energy storage onto the electric grid in 2019—up 43% year over year and 22 times the annual installations in 2013.


Presentations are available for download in PDF format below.