Despite competition from coal, natural gas, and wind, PV installations grew 76% in 2012, reaching a record-high of 3,313 mW. Solar is now the fastest growing energy source in the U.S.
With over 300,000 PV systems across the country, the U.S. contributed 11% of all global solar growth in 2012, according to GTM Research and the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA).
The report, U.S. Solar Market Insight: Year-in-Review 2012, also found:
- Cumulative PV capacity operating in the U.S. stands at 7,221 mW.
- This represents 16 million solar panels, with more than two panels installed per second.
- Twelve states installed over 50 mW of solar each last year, up from eight in 2011.
Despite promising numbers, growth in the commercial market was tepid at best, as 83,000 of the 90,000 solar installations in 2012 were for residential customers.
Commercial, governmental, and non-profit systems accounted for more than 1,000 mW installed.
Leading states included California, New Jersey, Arizona, Massachusetts, and Hawaii.
Building owners have a variety of incentives, rebates, and financing channels available. They can also take advantage of declining costs, as PV system prices fell 27% last year alone. Owners can expect to pay $4.27 per watt at present.
The report indicates that solar growth will continue to build on its current momentum, with a forecasted 29% increase in new PV installations for 2013.