WASHINGTON — The U.S. solar industry notched its second-best quarter in history, installing 742 megawatts of solar power in the second quarter of 2012, according to a report from the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA). A record 477 MW of utility-scale installations helped the U.S. solar market expand by 45 percent over the first quarter of 2012, and 116 percent over the same period in 2011. Eight states registered utility installations of 10 megawatts or greater: Arizona, California, Illinois, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, and Texas.

According to the latest U.S. Solar Market Insight Report, the United States now has 5,700 MW of installed solar capacity — enough to power more than 940,000 households. The report expects the utility photovoltaic (PV) market to remain strong through the last two quarters of 2012, and forecasts a total of 3,200 MW of PV will be installed this year — up 71 percent over 2011 totals.

For the fourth consecutive quarter, the U.S. residential solar market grew incrementally, installing 98.2 MW. California, Arizona, and New Jersey led residential installations nationally, with the smaller-market states of Hawaii, Massachusetts, and Maryland demonstrating strong quarter-over-quarter growth.

Publication date: 9/24/2012