More US solar installed in 18 months than past 30 years

6 March 2014

LONDON: A new report from GTM Research and the Solar Energy Industries Association’s (SEIA), found that by the end of 2013, US photovoltaic (PV) installations increased 41% over 2012 and now stand at 4,751 megawatts (MW).

Indeed, 2,106 megawatts of solar energy was installed in the fourth quarter of 2013 alone, a shocking 44% of America's annual total.

This unprecedented figure sets a new record for the largest quarter in the history of the US solar market, and outstrips the previous leading quarter by 60%. Furthermore, during 2013, 410MW of concentrating solar power (CSP) came online.

A contributing factor to the increase in uptake was the decline in the costs associated with the renewable energy. The solar installation cost fell throughout 2013, with the end of year figure 15% below the equivalent mark for 2012.

Of all the states, California continues to be the US’s front runner. During 2013, the sunny state installed more than half of all US solar, and last year California installed more solar panels than all of America in 2011. 

In fact, just five states: California, Arizona, North Carolina, Massachusetts and New Jersey, were responsible for 81% of all US PV installations in 2013.


These developments mean solar is now the second-largest source of new electricity generating capacity in the US, exceeded only by natural gas.

Shayle Kann, Senior Vice President at GTM Research, commenting on the report’s findings, said: “2013 offered the U.S. solar market the first real glimpse of its path toward mainstream status. The combination of rapid customer adoption, grassroots support for solar, improved financing terms, and public market successes displayed clear gains for solar in the eyes of both the general population and the investment community.”

SEIA President and CEO Rhone Resch, was keen to stress the economic benefits of solar energy: “Last year alone, solar created tens of thousands of new American jobs and pumped tens of billions of dollars into the U.S. economy.” Research shows that in 2013, 1 out of every 142 new US jobs in 2013 was in the solar energy industry.

Resch concluded his remarks by noting that “more solar has been installed in the US in the last 18 months than in the 30 years prior. That’s a remarkable record of achievement.”

solar panels usa


SEIA graphic solar

Infographics courtesy of SEIA and GTM Research.

You can download the report in full here.

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By Alana Ryan

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