According to a new report from Solarbuzz North America PV Markets Quarterly, in 2013, the United States reached a record 4.2 gigawatts (GW) powered by solar photovoltaic (PV) installations. The country's reliance on PV is growing quickly and, since 2012, the solar power market in the US has grown an impressive 15 percent, making it the largest solar market outside of the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region. Solar PV installation in quarter four of 2013 was about 1.4 GW, which is equivalent to over 1 megawatt of solar panels being set up in each hour of daylight over the last three months of the year.
"Each year, the final quarter in the U.S. results in a new quarterly record for solar PV installed. The solar PV industry in the U.S. is, on average, now installing more than one gigawatt of solar PV each quarter," Michael Barker, a senior analyst at Solarbuzz, said in a statement.
This is good news for renewable energy activists, who are facing pushback from conservative members of both the federal and state governments, as well as utility companies whose profits are being damaged as a result of the more affordable ways for individuals to power their homes. Though small-scale residential projects only accounted for 20 percent of new solar capacity deployed in 2013, with the majority being made up of larger-scale projects, such as commercial spaces.
California was the leading state for solar panel activity, and the report ranked the top ten states that have embraced this form of energy source. The list was rounded out by North Carolina, Arizona, New Jersey, Texas, Massachusetts, Hawaii, New Mexico, Nevada and New York.