It’s been a wild five years for U.S. solar power. Fast growth. Tremendous price declines. A backdrop of economic recession. Intense global competition. Messy politics. Through it all, solar customers, innovators and entrepreneurs in all 50 states kept making big inroads into one of the most entrenched industries around: energy.
Here are some of our favorite fast facts about U.S. solar success:
The U.S. had 13 GW of cumulative solar electric capacity operating in the U.S. at the end of 2013 — enough to power 2.2 million average American homes (source: SEIA & GTM Research).
The U.S. installed 4,751 MW of solar PV in 2013, up 41% over 2012 and nearly fifteen times the amount installed in 2008. Solar was the second largest source of new electricity generating capacity in America in 2013, exceeded only by natural gas (source: SEIA & GTM Research).
The average cost of a completed PV system dropped by about 14% in 2012 to $4.9/Watt for mid-sized systems. The average cost of a PV module has fallen a whopping 80% over the last 5 years (source: Berkeley National Laboratory).
As of 2013, there are more than 142,698 solar workers across all 50 states, a 20% increase over 2012 (source: The Solar Foundation).
Cash incentives and rebates from state agencies and utilities have decreased 85% over the past decade, another indicator of a maturing industry (source: Berkeley National Laboratory).
92% of American voters agree that it is important for the U.S. to develop more solar (source: SEIA).