Quarterly Solar Industry Update

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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 Q1/Q2 Quarterly Solar Industry Update presentation, released August 6, 2019:

  • In June 2019, the United States Trade Representative granted an exclusion from the Section 201 solar tariffs for bifacial modules.
  • In Q2 2019, Maine and New York joined California, Hawaii, Nevada, Puerto Rico, Washington state, and Washington D.C. in committing to 100% carbon-free electricity.
  • The United States installed 2.7 gigawatts-DC of photovoltaics (PV) in Q1 2019, the largest amount of solar deployed in Q1 in U.S. history and 10% above Q1 2018.
  • SEIA reported that in 2018 the U.S. community solar market installed 543 megawatts-DC of community solar installations—a 5% reduction, year-over-year.
  • The United States installed approximately 271 megawatt-hours (149 megawatts) of energy storage onto the electric grid in Q1 2019—up 110%, year-over-year.
  • Performance of solar companies declined, on average, in Q1 2019, as average selling price of modules and cells fell. However, the companies that reported Q2 2019 earnings indicate an improvement, quarter-over-quarter, as global demand has increased and prices have stabilized.
  • In the first half of 2019, the United States imported $1.2 billion in PV modules (4.3 gigawatts) and $162 million in PV cells (1.1 gigawatts).
  • Cell and module prices were relatively flat in Q2 2019, while polysilicon pricing rebounded 6% to $9.20/kilogram and multi crystalline silicon wafers fell 5% to $0.05/watt.
  • Residential inverter pricing in the United States increased in Q1 2019 due to tariffs imposed on Chinese inverters.
  • From 2017 to 2018, average battery pack prices dropped 18%.
  • Solar stocks have performed significantly better than the rest of the market since the beginning of 2019, outpacing the broader market significantly in Q2.

Presentations

Presentations are available for download in PDF format below.

2019

2018

2017

2016