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Warm Weather Brings Higher Bills, More Solar Interest

Posted on Friday, April 12th, 2013 at 3:04 pm by Solar Energy USA

As the weather warms up and power bills begin to rise more and more Americans are searching online for information on solar panels and solar energy systems including cost and available incentives.

For the month ending April 7, Yahoo reports that searches for solar panels increased by 36 percent from the month prior. It also found that searches on the cost of the panels are up a whopping 335 percent from the same period a year ago.


2012 was a historic year for the U.S. solar industry. There were 3,313 megawatts (MW) of photovoltaic (PV) capacity installed throughout the year, which represents 76% growth over 2011’s record deployment totals. The fourth quarter of 2012 was also the largest quarter on record as 1,300 MW came online, driven in part by unprecedented installation levels in the residential and utility markets. The Solar Energy Industry Association (SEIA) and GTM Research forecast that the solar market will continue to grow at a steady clip with over 4,200 MW of PV and 940 MW of concentrating solar power (CSP) expected to come online in 2013.

Top Solar States

1. California

2. Arizona

3. New Jersey

4. Nevada

5. North Carolina

Tennessee ranked 14th and Georgia ranked 22nd

Source: Solar Energy Industries Association data, based upon installed PV capacity in 2012

State Rankings by Installed PV Capacity in 2012


State Rankings by Cumulative Solar Electric Capacity


State Rankings by Installed Solar Electric Watts Per Capita


By the numbers

• The U.S. has over 7,700 MW of installed solar electric capacity, enough to power more than 1.2 million American households.

• Over 82,000 homes installed solar across the country in 2012.

• The commercial market installed over 1,040 MW in 2012, up 26 percent over 2011 totals.

According to the Solar Electric Power Association (SEPA), there were 200,000 distributed solar customers (aggregating 2,400 megawatts or MW) in the United States as of 2011.

An increase in utility rates such that the competitive price opportunity for PV solar is now “in the market” for approximately 16 percent of the U.S. retail electricity market where rates are at or above $0.15/kWh. In addition, projections by PV industry participants suggest that the “in the money” market size will double the share of contestable revenue by 2017 (to 33 percent, or $170 billion of annual utility revenue).

Public policies encourage renewable resource development through Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS), which are in place in 29 states and the District of Columbia and which call for renewable generation goals within a state’s energy mix.

While the immediate growth from solar PV is location dependent, if the cost curve of PV continues to bend and electricity rates continue to increase, it will open up the opportunity for PV to viably expand into virtually every region of the country. According to ThinkEquity, a boutique investment bank, as the installed cost of PV declines from $5/watt to $3.5/watt (a 30-percent decline), the market increases by 500 percent, including 18 states and 20 million homes, and customer demand for PV increases by 14 times. If PV system costs decline even further, the market opportunity grows exponentially!


While we would expect customers to remain on the grid until a fully viable and economic distributed non-variable resource is available, one can imagine a day when battery storage technology or micro turbines could allow customers to be electric grid independent. The day will come when the same electric vehicle you drive on a daily basis will also be your home’s battery storage.

To put this into perspective, who would have believed 10 years ago that traditional wire line telephone customers could economically “cut the cord?” Solar technology is developing at such a rapid pace that in the near future home owners will have the option of being connected to the utility grid. U.S. utilities are taking notice and they are very, very concerned.


Interested in a solar panel installation for your home? Request a free in-home consultation from Solar Energy USA today!