The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) is out with its "Solar Market Insight Report 2012 Q2," and overall, it's excellent news. A few highlights include:
- "U.S. solar achieved its second-best quarter in history, having installed 742 megawatts of solar power, and the best quarter on record for the utility market segment."
- "System prices continue to fall, bringing the market ever closer to the point where residential and non-residential demand is driven more by solar radiation and retail electricity prices than state-level incentives."
- "Quarter-over-quarter, the national weighted-average system price fell by 22 percent, from $4.44/W to $3.45/W. Year-over-year, average installed costs declined by 33 percent."
- "Third-party ownership has taken the residential solar space by storm, particularly in the last year and a half. The promise of lower energy bills with little to no upfront payment has spurred tens of thousands of homeowners to install solar systems through a PPA or lease agreement."
- "PV installations totaled 742 megawatts (MW) in Q2 2012, up 45% over Q1 2012 and 116% over Q2 2011."
- "There is now a cumulative 5,161 MW of PV capacity spread amongst nearly 248,000 individual systems operating in the U.S. as of the end of Q2."
- The forecast is that "3.2 GW of PV will be installed in the U.S. in 2012, up 71% over 2011."
- "As the U.S. solar industry progresses toward 2016, it is becoming increasingly clear that system prices will fall significantly. This will enable a substantial volume of installations in some states to be built using only federal incentives."
- "Midway through 2012, it is also time to begin to consider the landscape of the U.S. market in 2017, at which point the Investment Tax Credit may no longer be in place. While this is not a foregone conclusion, prudent solar businesses will begin preparing for the possibility today."
Again, this is excellent news, especially considering that the solar industry has been under relentless attack, as "[p]oliticians and pundits are pushing falsehoods about solar technologies and suggesting our jobs aren't real." Reports like the one highlighted above help demolish those falsehoods. They also demonstrate clearly and convincingly that solar isn't just "real," it's a vibrant and rapidly growing source of U.S. power generation and jobs. Even more exciting is that in coming years, particularly with smart energy policies in place, that trend will only accelerate.