Solar power installations appear to be taking off in US

A new quarterly update from the Solar Energy Industries Association in the US suggests that solar photovoltaics are booming in the US. “Boom” is a relative term: windpower still greatly exceeds photovoltaics but the gap is predicted by SEIA to begin to close as windpower subsidies end and prices of solar panels fall.

It is dropping solar panel prices that is perhaps the most significant factor. The US  government put increased import duties on solar panels from China as a result of a finding of dumping (selling below the cost of production and/or the price in the home country). Even so, as imports from China disappeared from the market, prices in the US for solar panels continued to fall. Similar price reductions are now appearing in the Canadian market.

The report found that, in the photovoltaic subsector of the solar power industry:

  • Annual U.S. PV installations grew 76% in 2012 to reach 3,313 MW.
  • The U.S. accounted for 11% of all global PV installations in 2012, its highest market share in at least fifteen years.
  • Cumulative PV capacity operating in the U.S. as of the end of 2012 stood at 7,221 MW.
  • Eight of the ten largest PV projects currently in operation in the U.S. were completed in 2012.
  • Eleven states installed over 50 MW each in 2012, up from eight in 2011.
  • There were over 90,000 PV installations in 2012 in the U.S., including 83,000 in the residential market alone.
  • The blended average sales price for PV modules for Q4 2012 was $0.68/W, a staggering 41% below the Q4 2011 price of $1.15/W.
  • Weighted average U.S. PV system prices fell 27% in 2012, to $5.04/W in the residential market, $4.27/W in the non-residential market, and $2.27/W in the utility market by the end of 2012.
  • The U.S. market is forecast to grow 30% in 2013 with 4.3 GW of new PV installations anticipated during 2013 across all market segments.

A summary of the report and a link to more information is available at

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