Solar installations surging in 2013

Solar panels accounted for nearly half of all electric generation capacity installed in the first three months of 2013, a report from a solar trade group said this week.

Solar installations made up 723 megawatts of new generation in the first quarter of the year, amounting to 48 percent of all new capacity, said the report from the Solar Energy Industries Association and GTM Research.

Solar panels are being installed at a faster rate in 2013 than in years past, with 33 percent more capacity installed in the first three months of the year than in 2012, which was a record year for the industry, the report said.

Forecast: U.S. solar panel demand to surge 20 percent in 2013, report forecasts

In 2012 alone, U.S. utilities installed 1.8 gigawatts of solar power generating capacity, 59 percent more than had been installed in all prior years, the report said.

Much of the 2013 growth has so far come from utilities, which installed 318 megawatts of solar capacity, the organization said. But homeowners also installed a lot of photovoltaic panels, adding 164 megawatts of solar capacity, a 53 percent increase from the installations in the same period a year ago.

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