Your eyes are not misleading you. You are seeing more solar systems all the time and more than ever before. Solar generation in the USA has increased by ten-fold or 900% since just 2008. Now that's a boom!
Booming solar installations brought the USA within an eyelash of passing the 5,000 megawatts of solar power milestone as of March 31st. At the end of the first quarter, total solar generation in the USA stood at 4,943 megawatts and could provide power for 775,000 homes. www.seia.org/cs/research/.
Solar generation certainly passed the 5,000 megawatt mark in April, an extraordinary achievement, given the USA had a total of 500 megawatts as recently as 2008.
First quarter installations in 2012 hit record levels and grew by 85%, compared to the first quarter of 2011.
www.businessweek.com/news/2012-06-13/u-dot-s-dot-solar-grew-85-percent-in-first-quarter-seia-says. A total of 503 megawatts were installed at 18,000 projects during the quarter.
SEIA is projecting that the USA will install 3,300 megawatts of solar generation this year, of which 1,800 megawatts will be utility scale projects. If so, the USA will have about 7,700 megawatts of solar installed by the end of 2012. SEIA projects that the USA will constitute about 11% of the global solar installations in 2012.
The explosive growth is driving down pricing, with module pricing falling 47% and installed prices dropping 17% from the first quarter of 2011 to the first quarter of 2012. In turn, the fast falling prices are a key to continued growth in the global solar industry.
With interest rates at record lows, investing in a solar system for homes or business may offer attractive returns for available capital. The solar revolution has progressed far enough that getting bids for a solar system is in 2012 a wise economic and environmental action.