In a new record for annual solar growth in the U.S., solar PV installations rose 41 percent from 2012 to reach 4,751 MW in 2013.
The news comes from Solar Market Insight Year in Review 2013, a report from GTM Research and the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA).
The additional installations brought the total PV capacity to over 12,000 MW, made up of over 440,000 solar electric systems.
Plus, an added 410 MW of concentrating solar power (CSP) systems became operational last year, almost doubling the total installed capacity of CSP, now at 918 MW.
Credit: GTM Research and SEIA
According to the researchers, solar is now hitting the mainstream: second only to natural gas, solar was the second-largest source of electricity generating capacity installed in the U.S. last year – and the cost of installing solar fell by 15 percent throughout the year.
“2013 offered the U.S. solar market the first real glimpse of its path toward mainstream status,” said Shayle Kann, Senior Vice President at GTM Research. “The combination of rapid customer adoption, grassroots support for solar, improved financing terms, and public market successes displayed clear gains for solar in the eyes of both the general population and the investment community.”
“Today, solar is the fastest-growing source of renewable energy in America, generating enough clean, reliable and affordable electricity to power more than 2.2 million homes – and we’re just beginning to scratch the surface of our industry’s enormous potential,” said SEIA President and CEO Rhone Resch.
“Last year alone, solar created tens of thousands of new American jobs and pumped tens of billions of dollars into the U.S. economy. In fact, more solar has been installed in the U.S. in the last 18 months than in the 30 years prior. That’s a remarkable record of achievement.”
Almost half – 44 percent – of last year’s new solar capacity was installed in the fourth quarter, making Q4 2013 by far the largest quarter in the history of the U.S. market.
Looking ahead, GTM Research and SEIA predict 26% growth in the U.S. solar market next year, bringing annual installations up to nearly 6 GW and a cumulative total just below 20 GW.