Solar Installations Reach All-time High
According to a report released by Greentech Media Research and the Solar Energy Industries Association, installations for photovoltaic and concentrating photovoltaic systems have increased 33 percent year-over-year to 729 megawatts (MW) during the first quarter of 2013 in the U.S.
Photovoltaic systems consist of solar panels, typically mounted on the roof, that absorb and convert sunlight into electricity. Photovoltaic systems rely on a semiconductor that serves as the power-generating component of the solar panel. The semiconductor – usually a type of silicon – is a unique type of conductor because it contains electrons that produce an electric current when struck by sunlight. The current is configured to flow in a particular direction either to provide direct power to your house; into an alternating current, as with electrical grids; into a battery for later consumption; or into a combination of these outlets. Due to the efficient nature of photovoltaic systems, they have become increasingly popular among residents and businesses.
The boost in installations, from January through March, represents the best-ever first quarter performance to date for the U.S. industry. This was driven in part by a shift to third-party owned systems, which represented more than 60 percent of residential sales in Arizona, California, Colorado and Massachusetts.
The nation now exceeds 8.5 Gigawatts (GW) of cumulative installed solar electric capacity, of which 7.9 GW is photovoltaic. Solar nearly makes up half (48 percent) of all new electric capacity installed in the U.S. this year.
“We are on the cusp of a new solar revolution in the U.S., driven by the rapid expansion of distributed generation,” said Greentech Media Research Vice President of Research Shayle Kann. “Installations will speed up over the next four years as projects become economically preferable to retail power in more locations. However, changes to net metering and electricity rate structures could serve as the market’s primary barrier to adoption.”
Among states, California was again by far the largest photovoltaic market with 408 MW installed. New Jersey came in a distant second with 76 MW, followed by Hawaii with 44 MW. Arizona’s rank fell to fourth place with the quarter-to-quarter decline in utility-scale photovoltaic projects.
Also climbing the ladder were North Carolina (up from 6th to 5th place, swapping with Massachusetts), Tennessee (leaping from 15th to 7th), Colorado (13th to 8th), Pennsylvania (11th to 9th), and Florida (18th to 10th). Moving down were Arizona and Massachusetts, New York (10th to 13th), Maryland (8th to 18th), and Nevada (4th to 24th).
Photovoltaic systems are becoming increasing popular in the U.S. The systems provide clean energy unlike conventional means that generate electricity related pollution. Consumers in deregulated states now have the option to select a retail energy provider allowing them to choose renewable energy plans like solar and wind. Join the green movement and use renewable means of energy!
Visit http://renewableelectricity.com/ to compare green plans in your area.