The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!
Record Year Pushes U.S. to Second-Strongest Solar Market in the World
Last year ended in record-setting fashion for new solar photovoltaic (PV) installations in the U.S., but that's not exactly a surprise to some.
“Each year, the final quarter in the U.S. results in a new quarterly record for solar PV installed,” Michael Barker, a senior analyst at NPD Solarbuzz, said. “The solar PV industry in the U.S. is, on average, now installing more than one gigawatt of solar PV each quarter.”
According to NPD Solarbuzz's latest report, a record 1.4 gigawatts (GW) of new solar PV energy were installed during the last three months of 2013. That amount is equivalent to more than 1 megawatt (MW) of solar panels being installed during each hour of daylight for three months.
The U.S. also set a record for the entire calendar year with 4.2 GW of installations. That pushes the country to the strongest solar market in the world behind only the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region.
More than 80 percent of the solar energy installed last year were for large-scale projects. Those ground-mounted and large roof projects accounted for 3.5 GW. The remaining 700 MW were for small residences and businesses and represented a 10-percent increase from 2012.
However, reports from Mercom Capital Group and GTM Research and the Solar Energy Industries Association believe residential projects are driving solar growth in the U.S. According to Mercom, residential and commercial lease funds combined for solar projects totaling $3.34 billion last year.
A report from The Los Angeles Times saw things in a different light than all three organizations. While each entity might define "large-scale" differently, the Times report states that only three large projects went online last year—two in California and one in Nevada. The leader of a solar institute agreed that it was a slow time for larger initiatives.
"I would say we are in an assessment period," said Amit Ronen, director of the George Washington University Solar Institute. "Nobody's going to break ground on any big new solar projects right now—utilities want to see how farms coming online this year fit into the grid, and developers are waiting for more certainty about state policies and federal tax credits."
APAC countries are expected to install more than 23 gigawatts (GW) of solar PV in 2014, which would set a new record for solar PV installed annually within any region, according to NPD Solarbuzz. Eighty percent of module production also coming from the region.
Visit EcoWatch’s RENEWABLES page for more related news on this topic.
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
The annual Arctic thaw has kicked off with record-setting ice melt and sea ice loss that is several weeks ahead of schedule, scientists said, as the New York Times reported.
'This Should Scare the Hell Out of You': Photo of Greenland Sled Dog Teams Walking on Melted Water Goes Viral
By Jon Queally
In yet the latest shocking image depicting just how fast the world's natural systems are changing due to the global climate emergency, a photograph showing a vast expanse of melted Arctic ice in Greenland — one in which a pair of sled dog teams appear to be walking on water — has gone viral.
By Tia Schwab
It has been almost a year since Hurricane Florence slammed the Carolinas, dumping a record 30 inches of rainfall in some parts of the states. At least 52 people died, and property and economic losses reached $24 billion, with nearly $17 billion in North Carolina alone. Flood waters also killed an estimated 3.5 million chickens and 5,500 hogs.
'Huge Victory' for Grassroots Climate Campaigners as NY Lawmakers Reach Deal on Sweeping Climate Legislation
By Julia Conley
Grassroots climate campaigners in New York applauded on Monday after state lawmakers reached a deal on sweeping climate legislation, paving the way for the passage of what could be some of the country's most ambitious environmental reforms.
Tens of Thousands Flee Extreme Heatwave in India as Temperatures Topping 120°F Kill Dozens Across Country
By Julia Conley
Nearly 50 people died on Saturday in one Indian state as record-breaking heatwaves across the country have caused an increasingly desperate situation.
By Will J. Grant
In an ideal world, people would look at issues with a clear focus only on the facts. But in the real world, we know that doesn't happen often.
People often look at issues through the prism of their own particular political identity — and have probably always done so.