U.S. solar installations hit a historic high in the third quarter

The historic growth could make 2013 the first year in more than a decade in which the U.S. installs more solar capacity than Germany.
Written by Kirsten Korosec, Contributor

A record 186 megawatts of solar were installed on the rooftops of U.S. homes in the third quarter, according to a new report from the Solar Energy Industry Association and GTM Research. 

Even though the utilities installed the largest share of capacity of solar, residential is far and away the success story this year. The residential market is growing faster than any segment in the U.S. solar market and the largest number American homes in history had solar panels installed in the third quarter. Residential PV installations were up 49 percent year-over-year through the third quarter. SEIA and GTM Research expects that figure to expand to 52 percent by the end of the year. 

In all, solar PV installations reached 930 MW in the third quarter, up 20 percent from the previous quarter. The figure represents the second-largest quarter for installations in U.S. history, according to the report. 

To date, the U.S. has installed more than 10 gigawatts of solar capacity. And the SEIA and GTM Research forecast that by the end of the year, installations will have growth 27 percent relative to 2012. 


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 The historic growth in the residential market combined with installations in the utility sector could make 2013 the first year in more than a 15 years in which the U.S. installs more solar capacity than Germany, the report says.

But not every sector within the U.S. solar industry is doing well. The non-residential market has had some difficulty with installations. And while downturns in New Jersey and Hawaii have been offset by growth in other states, notably Massachusetts, Arizona and Tennessee, the report forecasts that installations will remain flat year-on-year. 

Photo: Solar panels on apartment building via Flickr user Greenbelt Alliance

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

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