The growth of solar power continues in 2013, according to a new report from NPD Solarbuzz, an information and advisory group for the solar industry. In the second quarter of the year, the United States added 976 megawatts of photovoltaic solar power capacity—an increase of 24% from the first quarter of 2013.
Of the 976 megawatts added in the most recent quarter, California represented 53%. "New PV installed in California alone reached 521 MW, which is a new record for PV added by any state in the U.S. for a three-month period," said Finlay Colville, NPD Solarbuzz vice president. "California has added 1.6 GW in the past 12 months, with a further 1.1 GW forecast for the second half of the year."
The company’s report, "North America PV Markets Quarterly," also stated that 72% of solar power systems that were installed nationwide during the second quarter were ground mounted; the rest were rooftop systems installed at residential and commercial buildings.
Also, 59% of the projects were for utility plants, such as the California Valley Solar Ranch, the Topaz Solar Project, Gates Solar Farm, and Antelope Valley Solar Ranch One, all in California. The other 41% were housed at residential and commercial sites.
Other states that anticipate notable solar growth in the rest of the year are Arizona, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, and Texas. One of the strongest new markets for solar is North Carolina, with solar installations projected to grow 80% this year from last year, to 285 MW. A further 30% increase in solar is anticipated for the state in 2014.
The report also estimates that photovoltaic capacity will reach 4.22 GW in the United States by the end of the year, and increase to more than 5.3 GW in 2014. Eventually, the report states, the United States would represent 20% of the worldwide demand for photovoltaic solar during the next five years.