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Electrician Mario Rojas with 1 Sun Solar inspects solar panels in Las Vegas on Tuesday, March 28, 2017. (Jeff Scheid/The Nevada Independent)

The volume of solar energy projects in the works in the U.S. has reached historic high levels, a trend that is driven in part by high activity in Nevada and that has forced the five-year solar installation forecast to be rewritten.

A market report released Tuesday by Wood Mackenzie and the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) shows that 11.2 gigawatts the U.S. utility solar projects were announced in the first half of 2019, bringing the “pipeline” of future projects to 37.9 gigawatts. Nevada’s solar market has grown 29.9 percent since this time last year and it ranks as the state with the fourth-highest installed solar capacity.

“It’s no surprise that the U.S. solar pipeline is surging as costs continue to fall and solar becomes the lowest cost option for utilities, corporations and families,” said Abigail Ross Hopper, president and CEO of SEIA. “However, as we push for solar to represent 20 percent of U.S. electricity generation by 2030, smart policies like an extension of the solar Investment Tax Credit will be critical to reach this goal.”

SEIA, the national trade association for the U.S. solar industry, said that utility-scale solar prices are at their lowest point ever. Forecasts by Wood Mackenzie, an analytics business for natural resources, show that prices could continue to drop while more solar energy installations come online across the country.

With 6,680 solar jobs at the end of 2018, Nevada had the tenth highest number of employees working in the solar energy sector. As the production of solar energy is set to double in the next five years, that number is expected to grow.

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