In the waning hours of 2014 it’s time to celebrate solar power in the year. With states across the U.S. seeing major solar gains of all types from installations to new legislation and an anticipated 20 gigawatts of solar power online by the end of 2014—it’s been a good year for the oldest energy source, the sun.
In the GTM Research and Solar Energy Industries Association’s (SEIA’s) most recent quarterly U.S. Solar Market Insight report, it found that 17.5 gigawatts of solar was already online in the U.S. “By the end of 2014, the U.S. should have over 20 GW of cumulative solar electric capacity, roughly the same amount that is expected to be installed just from 2015 – 2016,” SEIA observed in a fact sheet about the report’s findings. Given that the 4th quarter of each year has historically seen the most installations the figure could be realized.
The report stated that of all the new energy in the U.S. to come online in 2014 thus far, 36 percent of it was from solar sources, including photovoltaics and concentrating solar power (CSP) systems. The report also noted that residential solar power, accounted for a significant portion of the growth, with more than 800 megawatts of residential solar installed in the quarter.
The report attributed much of the growth to the continued drop in solar prices, particularly in photovoltaic solar panel prices. It stated that in less than five years the average prices of PV panels in the U.S. fell to $2.71 per watt. That’s down 63 percent since 2010, the report stated.
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