The U.S. solar market experienced massive growth in 2012 with installations totaling 3,313 megawatts, a 76 percent increase from the previous year, according to the U.S. Solar Market Insight report released today by GTM Research and the Solar Energy Industries Association.
Every market segment including residential, non-residential and utility showed growth over 2011 and installations expanded in most U.S. states. Falling installed prices, which dropped 27 percent during 2012, was a major driver of that growth.
That growth wasn't the only trend in the solar market in 2012. Import tariffs placed on solar cells produced in China, the ongoing consolidation within the manufacturing sector, the rise of residential solar leases and power purchase agreements and a wave of utility-scale solar projects that came online all had a considerable effect on the U.S. solar market.
Some highlights of these trends:
Analysts noted in the report that "diversification in project financing" is a new trend unfolding in 2013. Developers have already discovered some creative new ways to finance solar projects. Some of these have already been introduced, while others will become a reality this year, according to the report. Some examples include using solar real estate investment trust, crowdfunding solar projects, securitized solar assets and solar inclusion in master limited partnerships.
Graphics: GTM Research/SEIA
Photo: BrightSource Energy (Ivanpah utility solar project)
This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com