The U.S. solar industry had a record breaking year last year, experiencing massive growth, again. Solar photovoltaic (solar panel) installations increased 41% from the previous year, reaching 4,751 megawatts installed, the Solar Energy Association and GTM Research found in a solar market report for 2013.
Consequently, solar was the second-biggest source of new electricity capacity in the United States, second only to natural gas, and was the fastest growing source of renewable energy. Furthermore, the cost to install solar dropped 15% during the year compared to the cost at the end of 2012, while the price of natural gas has been on the rise. By the end of 2013 there were 440,000 solar electric systems running in the US. There is still a LOT of room for growth. There are estimated to be over 40 million homes in the United States capable of having solar panels installed.
More solar has been installed in the US in the past 18 months than in the past 3 decades, the Solar Energy Industries Association President has stated. Similar growth has been observed worldwide. Back in August 2013 we reported that two-thirds of the world’s solar panels were installed in the previous 2.5 years, led by countries such as Germany, China, the United States, and Italy.
The stellar growth of solar is set to continue worldwide, with another huge year tipped for 2014. Worldwide solar power capacity is expected to jump to 49 gigawatts (GW) this year, up from 36 GW in 2013. There is absolutely no reason to think this kind of growth won’t continue for many years to come.