Small-scale Photovoltaic Generation Growing, Dwarfed by Utility-Scale Solar

  July 12, 2017

By Naomi Millán

Small-scale photovoltaic (PV) systems generated about 37 percent of the annual generation from all U.S. solar PV installations in 2016, according to recent analysis from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA).

The small-scale PV generator category includes commercial, industrial, and residential systems that have less than one megawatt (MW) of generating capacity. The average commercial PV system is around 200 kW, while the average residential system is 5 kW. California leads the nation, with 43 percent of the nation's total small-scale PV output in 2016.

While small-scale PV generation nearly doubled between 2014 to 2016, driven largely by a 52 percent increase in the residential sector, the small-scale PV contribution to total solar PV generation has decreased as utility-scale solar takes off, says EIA. The average size of utility-scale solar coming online in 2016 was 17 MW.

This Quick Read was submitted by Naomi Millán, senior editor, Building Operating Management. One way to install solar in commercial facilities is in a canopy system. Learn more about how one company did it at https://www.facilitiesnet.com/16381bom


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