Energy Business

Americans Are Using More Solar Power

Solar’s status is brighter than ever before, according to a Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) report released today. In an industrywide sign of success, 74% of all new generating capacity installed in the first quarter of 2014 came from solar, according to the trade association’s Solar Market Insight for Q1 2014 report.

The trade association’s latest numbers showed a whopping 1,330 MW of solar capacity was installed last quarter, 79% more than in Q1 2013 (although down 37% from Q4 2013) and the second-most ever installed in a single quarter. That brings total solar capacity to 13,400 MW, spread across 482,000 separate systems.

The report notes that the “lion’s share” of growth came from utilities installations, responsible for 873 MW of the quarter’s new installations. Newer markets, such as North Carolina, got a special solar shout-out for their ability to provide a “valuable supplement” to solar stalwart states like California, Arizona, and Nevada.

Not all those new systems rely on subsidies, either. More than a third of Q1’s residential installations hit the roof without any state incentives, according to SEIA, the largest portion ever. Schools, governments, and non-profits also accounted for a respectable 100 MW of new installations.

And according to the association’s estimates, solar isn’t slowing down. SEIA expects 2014’s total installations to clock in at 6,600 MW, almost double 2012’s entire solar market.


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