Another Record Quarter for Solar PV Installations
The US solar energy market continues to charge ahead. US Solar Market Insight: 1st Quarter 2013, a report compiled by GTM Research and the Solar Energy Industries Association, reveals the largest first quarter addition to U.S. solar photovoltaic (PV) power ever as a whopping 723 megawatts were installed, a 33 percent increase since Q1 2012. This continues a constantly positive trend since Q1 2010; each quarter, compared to corresponding quarters in the previous year, has shown an increase in installed PV power. Additionally, the Report forecasts continued sizzling growth, 4.4 gigawatts of PV to be installed by the end of 2013, and get this, nearly 9.2 gigawatts annually in 2016. It's all too sobering to look at how much solar electricity the U.S. generates per year. According to the US Energy Administration, .195 percent of the 2013 projected U.S. Total Generation of Electric Power is solar. That's just a fifth of 1 percent, so the baseline is still very low. The price per watt of solar panels is projected to continue dropping over the next few years. If the record numbers for quarter one are any indication, utilities recognize this price is approaching parity with other forms of energy. With residential solar PV installations growing at a slow pace, it will be up to utilities to find a balance between large installations, distributed residential projects, and other solutions to help solar bite out a larger percentage of the country's total electricity generation.