Here’s some really good news on the global solar front: According to the European Photovoltaic Industry Association’s Global Market Outlook for Photovoltaics 2013-2017, the world now has more than 102 gigawatts (GW) of installed photovoltaics. In 2012, the world added 31 GW of new solar PV capacity, despite the current sustained economic downturn.
In the U.S., growth is similarly strong. According to the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), In the first quarter of 2013, there were 723 MW of new PV installations representing a growth of 33% over last year. This strong first quarter has industry experts estimating a record year for 2013. The U.S. alone now has over 8,500 MW of cumulative installed solar electric capacity, enough to power more than 1.3 million average American homes.
In Hawai’i, high energy prices and prime conditions for solar power generation continue to drive a solar energy boom. Hawaii’s solar capacity is at 239 MW now, and almost half of that happened in the last year: In 2012, Hawai’i installed 109 MW of solar electric capacity, making it 7th in the nation for new installations. There is now enough solar energy generated in Hawai’i to power 46,900 homes and the solar industry supports some 1,600 local jobs.
Here’s how the global, national, and state solar capacity breaks down: