U.S. Market Installs 3,300 Megawatts in 2012; Driven by Record Fourth Quarter
2012 was a historic year for the U.S. solar industry. There were 3,313 megawatts (MW) of photovoltaic (PV) capacity installed throughout the year, which represents 76% growth over 2011’s record deployment totals. The fourth quarter of 2012 was also the largest quarter on record as 1,300 MW came online, driven in part by unprecedented installation levels in the residential and utility markets. SEIA and GTM Research forecast that the market will continue to grow at a steady clip with over 4,200 MW of PV and 940 MW of concentrating solar power (CSP) expected to come online in 2013. (All data from SEIA/GTM Research “U.S. Solar Market Insight 2012 Year-In-Review” unless otherwise noted.)
Workers install a 5.5 kW solar PV system in Williston, VT.
(Photo Courtesy of Andrew Savage, AllEarth Renewables)
U.S. Solar Industry Continues to Boom
- The U.S. now has over 7,700 MW of installed solar electric capacity, enough to power more than 1.2 million American households.
- 11 states installed 50 MW or more in 2012.
- Over 82,000 homes installed solar across the country in 2012. Third party ownership models continue to support consistent growth of the residential market.
- The commercial market installed over 1,040 MW in 2012, up 26% over 2011 totals.
- There were 1,781 MW of utility installations in 2012. 874 MW came online in Q4 alone, the segment’s largest quarter on record.
Falling Costs Make Solar More Affordable Than Ever
- The average cost of a completed PV system dropped by 27 percent over the past year.
- The average price of a solar panel has declined by 60 percent since the beginning of 2011.
- While these price drops are beneficial for solar consumers, the sharp fall in prices, due in part by a global oversupply, has put a serious strain on solar manufacturers worldwide.
Solar Energy Is An Economic Engine
As the solar industry grows, so does its impact on the economy. According to The Solar Foundation's Solar Job Census 2012, there are more than 119,000 solar workers in the U.S., a 13.2 percent increase over employment totals in 2011. These workers are employed at 5,600 businesses operating at over 6,500 locations in every state. The increasing value of solar installations has injected life into the U.S. economy as well. In 2012, solar electric installations were valued at $11.5 billion, compared to $8.6 billion and $6 billion in 2010.
National Solar Database
SEIA is collects detailed information on solar companies across the U.S. to help support our advocacy efforts. The information collected includes company name, contact name, addresses of each company location, type of business, product or service, and solar employment statistics.
Solar Companies Across the United States from
SEIA's National Solar Database
The list below outlines the top 25 states plus DC by 2012 annual installed PV capacity.
State Rankings by Cumulative Solar Electric Capacity
State Rankings by Installed Solar Electric Watts Per Capita