Lighting The Way : The USA’s Solar Boom

The amount of solar PV capacity in the United States has increased more than 120-fold in the last decade.

According to a new report (PDF) from Environment New York Research & Policy Center, the USA’s solar PV capacity has grown from 97 megawatts in 2003 to more than 12,000 megawatts at the end of last year.

Fuelling this growth have been solar-friendly policies and a rapid decrease in the cost of acquiring solar panels. The price of installed solar power systems dropped 60 percent between the beginning of 2011 and the end of 2013.

Jobs in the solar industry are also booming. Last year, there were more than 140,000 solar jobs in the U.S. and there are now more solar workers than coal miners in the USA.

The Top 10 states with the most solar electricity installed per capita at the end of 2013 were Arizona, California, Colorado, Delaware, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico and North Carolina.

A little slow on the initial uptake, New York has more recently been strutting its solar stuff – with capacity growing from 175 MW to 250 MW between 2011 and 2013.

By following the lead of the top ten states, the Center says, “the United States can work toward getting at least 10 percent of our energy from the sun by 2030, resulting in cleaner air, more local jobs and reduced emissions of pollutants that cause global warming.”

The amount of solar PV capacity in the United States has tripled just in the past two years and in the first quarter of this year, solar energy accounted for 74 percent of all the new electric generation capacity installed in the nation.

Lighting the Way : The Top Ten States that Helped Drive America’s Solar Energy Boom in 2013 can be viewed in full here (PDF).

Environment New York is a statewide, citizen-based environmental advocacy organization.