According to new statistics, the popularity of residential solar may be at its highest level yet. During the second quarter of 2011, a total of 314 megawatts of solar panel systems were installed, a whopping 69% more than in the second quarter of 2010.
The statistics comes from Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), the nation’s leading solar trade association and GTM Research, a Green Tech Media company specializing in market research.
SEIA predicts that residential solar leasing, which gives homeowners the option to lease solar panel systems and avoid upfront costs, will help installations continue to expand throughout the remainder of the year.
The prices on the components of solar panel systems are continuing to drop as well. Wafer and cell prices dropped 25 percent and module prices dropped 12 percent. These savings are predicted to drive a continued interest in residential solar energy systems.
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The European market for solar appears to be cooling, which is also good news for American homeowners. European companies are seeking to expand their reach into the American market, and competition for American dollars will likely continue to drive down prices. The United States is currently the strongest and most stable market for solar, according to SEIA.
Solar jobs are growing as well. In 2010, 93,500 jobs were in the solar industry, and half of the nation’s solar companies are expanding hiring this year. Adam Browning, executive director of the grassroots organization, Vote Solar Initiative, notes that market-building policies have played a role in industry growth.
“It’s time to double down on our nation’s investment in this job-creating, homegrown energy resource,” Browning said.
One area experiencing new growth is participation of conventional energy utilities. Larger players like utilities in the solar market mean larger investments in solar technology, indicating that even the most conservative players are acknowledging that solar energy is not only here to stay, but worth the investment.
Home solar is more affordable than ever
A solar contractor will inspect your roof to make sure that it’s a good candidate for solar panels, ensuring that the roof structure is sound and that the roof’s orientation to the sun is well-suited for solar. Ground-mounted solar energy systems are a great alternative option.
Once you find the right system for your home, a solar contractor will work with you to explore financing options, and make sure you take advantage of all available rebate and tax credit incentive programs.
Each quarter the partnership presents the U.S. Solar Market Insight publication, an extensive analysis of solar industry data, statistics and trends.