March 9 (UPI) -- The solar market in the United States had its best year on record in 2016, according to researchers with the Solar Energy Industries Association.
In a study published by the industry group, researchers note the solar market nearly doubled its previous record, and added more electric generating capacity than any other source for the first time in history.
The report, called the U.S. Solar Market Insight 2016 Year-in-Review, says the market is set to triple over the next five years, a trend SEIA president and CEO Abigail Ross Hopper calls good news for solar energy producers.
"It would be hard to overstate how impressive 2016 was for the solar industry," she said in a press release. "Prices dropped to all-time lows, installations expanded in states across the country and job numbers soared. The bottom line is that more people are benefiting from solar now than at any point in the past, and while the market is changing, the broader trend over the next five years is going in one direction – and that's up."
According to the report, more than 14 gigawatts of solar power were installed throughout the United States, with an additional 13.2 gigawatts set to be installed in 2017. While this marks a 10 percent drop from the year before, the authors note this is still 75 percent higher than it was in 2015. Researchers say the drop is contained in the utility-scale market.
The SEIA expects year-over-year growth to continue.