Minor memos

July 09, 2015 | By Keith Martin in Washington, DC

Martin Meyers, director of research at Photon Consulting, said on a UBS conference call in May that he expects US solar module prices in the US to fall to 70¢ a watt in 2015 and to 51¢ a watt by 2019. He expects total solar installations to reach 7,800 megawatts in 2015 and 10,000 megawatts in 2016, and then fall to 7,000 megawatts in 2017, 6,000 megawatts in 2018 as California reaches saturation, and recover to 7,000 megawatts in 2019. A 30% investment credit for solar equipment expires at the end of 2016 . . . . GTM Research reported in June that there were roughly 700,000 individual installed solar systems in the US at the end of the first quarter 2015. SolarCity had approximately 218,000 customers, Sunrun had 79,000 and Vivint had 42,000. GTM says the average cost of a residential solar system in Q1 2015 was $3.48 a watt. That is a 10% reduction from Q1 2014 . . . . Wholesale electricity sales from US wind farms were down 9% in Q1 2015 compared to the year before, according to filings by 87 wind generators with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Megawatt Daily reported in June. The trade paper attributed the reduction partly to warm dry weather in California that reduced wind velocities. Wind farms in California were running at an average capacity of just 13% in the first quarter compared to 21% the year before. Wind farms in Texas were running at an average capacity of 27.9% compared to 38% the year before. Wholesale sales of solar electricity were up 68% from the year before, based on filings by 40 utility-scale solar generators. Total solar sales in the first quarter were 3.2 million megawatt hours compared to 36.5 million megawatt hours for wind.