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U.S. Solar Industry Improves in 2013
The U.S. solar industry had a strong 2013, success that experts are hoping spills over into 2014. New solar photovoltaic (PV) installations totaled 4.2 gigawatts in 2013, according to a new report from NPD Solarbuzz.
The 4.2 GW mark also includes the 1.4 GW that was installed in the fourth quarter of 2013, the report said totals for 2013 and the fourth quarter are both records. Michael Barker, senior analyst at NPD Solarbuzz, said in a statement the U.S. solar industry is growing by leaps and bounds.
"Each year, the final quarter in the U.S. results in a new quarterly record for solar PV installed," Barker said. "The solar PV industry in the U.S. is, on average, now installing more than one gigawatt of solar PV each quarter."
Solar Industry Growing Each Year
The activity in 2013 is an improvement from 2012, which may be a signal that prosperous times are ahead for 2014. The report stated the 4.2 GW figure is a 15 percent increase from 2012.
Along with the increase in solar PV installations, the U.S. has had a flourishing year in other sections of the solar industry. Large-scale projects were the biggest player in 2013, accounting for 80 percent of new solar capacity. Small-scale projects, such as residential and non-residential property rooftops, totaled 700 megawatts for the year, a 10 percent increase from 2012.
States Improving By The Masses
Several states have vastly improved their carbon footprints by increasing their use of solar energy. California, which has been a leader in the use of solar energy, doubled its rooftop solar installations in 2013, going from 1,000 MW to 2,000 MW.
New York, which is a rising star in the solar power industry, made an announcement in December 2013 it would be investing $1 billion in new solar projects. The investment, which is part of the solar energy program NY-Sun Initiative, is hoping to produce 3,000 megawatts throughout the state. To put that in perspective, that amount solar energy would provide energy to 465,000 homes and cut carbon emission by 2.3 million tons annually.
SolarBuzz ranks states for their use of solar PV capacity every year. Texas saw the biggest increase by jumping four spots to be ranked fifth, while North Carolina leapfrogged Arizona and New Jersey to be ranked second for 2013. California ranked first.
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