How was the month of October for you? Can you still remember it after all that turkey? After reading these statistics about the solar industry, you’ll be remembering October 2013 for a long time and thinking about our energy landscape in a new way.

72.1% of All Newly Installed Energy Capacity Came From Solar In October

In the month of October, 99.3% of newly installed energy capacity in the U.S. came from renewable sources and 72.1% came from solar. A total of 12 new solar units accounted for 504 megawatts (MW) in October bringing total cumulative installed solar capacity in the U.S. to 9.4 gigawatts (GW). By the end of this year, installed solar capacity is expected to reach nearly 13 GW. The Solar Energy Industry Association (SEIA) described the significance of this best:

“This is truly astonishing, not to mention historic, and should serve as a reminder to everyone in Washington and in state capitals that smart public policies – such as the solar investment tax credit (ITC), net energy metering (NEM) and renewable portfolio standards (RPS) – are paying huge dividends for America.”


Solar Pipeline is Growing

The fun doesn’t stop there. NPD Solarbuzz reports that the pipeline for solar projects has grown 7% over the past year to 43 GW. If all 2,400 solar installations in the pipeline were to be built, the power generated from them would be the equivalent of 43 large nuclear reactors or enough to power 6 million American homes. 8.5% of the pipeline is currently being built and many projects in planning stages are being expedited before the decrease in the Investment Tax Credit (ITC) from 30% to 10% in 2016.

 

Completion Status for 43 GW US Solar PV Project Pipeline

 

Distribution of More Than 2,400 Projects in the US PV Pipeline (50 kW or Larger)

 

12 Year Trend - More Growth = Lower Costs; Lower Costs = More Growth

The chart below from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory shows the growth of solar over the past 12 years. From 2000-2012, solar grew by a factor of 21. This is due to the powerful effect of economies of scales and the relationship between growth and cost. As the solar industry continues to grow, the cost of solar continues to decline. And as the cost of solar continues to decline, the solar industry continues to grow.  


With solar photovoltaic (PV) module costs expected to drop 28% over the next four years and the demand for solar PV expected to grow 43% over the next year - it all makes me wonder - what will the solar industry look like next October?

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