The solar industry is doing very well, according to the U.S. Solar Market Insight 2012 Year in Review report produced by the Solar Energy Industries Association (SCIA) and GTM research.

The report was covered during a Google Hangout news conference on March 14th. Panel members included voz Rhone Resch, President and CEO of SEIA; Arno Harris, the CEO of utility-scale solar company Recurrent Energy, and Shayle Kann, Vice President at GTM Research.

As a whole, the solar industry exhibited 76% growth last year over 2011, making solar the fastest growing source of new electricity and one of the fastest growing industries in the in the U.S.

Research credits the strong growth of solar to stable fiscal policies, especially pointing to the federal investment tax credit Last for solar energy, which was granted an 8 year extension in 2008.

U.S. solar industry trends identified during the hangout included:

  • Solar has become an accepted technology: 9 out of 10 Americans – including both Democrats and Republicans – now support the development and use of solar energy. Americans recognize that solar represents independence through domestic energy and jobs.

On the corporate scale, major companies such as Apple, FedEx, GM, Macy’s, and Wal-Mart – as well as the U.S. military – are making repeated investments in solar infrastructure.

  • Solar is expanding geographically. 12 states installed more than 50 mW each in 2012, compared to only 5 in wholesale mlb jerseys 2011. California is still the country’s largest market for solar, but it no longer dominates. Ohio and North Carolina in particular were cited as having made huge strides recently, with a pipeline of over 400 MW of projects slated to be developed in North Carolina alone in 2013.
  • More people are investing in solar. The industry has matured and diversified in terms of size and business models, and is now attracting larger and more diverse Kentuckyinvestors. The technology is especially attractive to American investors because it represents energy independence and domestic job growth as well as being a clean energy source.
  • Solar has become affordable: The cost of solar panels has declined 60% since the beginning of 2011. The cheap nfl jerseys average price of a completed system has dropped 27% since this time last year. Residential systems now cost an average of $5/watt (installed), commercial is at $4/watt, and utility solar systems have attained an unheard-of $2/watt.

You constantly hear people saying, “Solar is too wholesale mlb jerseys expensive,” said Resch. “Well, you can’t make that argument anymore because we’re continuing to see the cost come down cheap mlb jerseys as the industry expands our scale.”

Panel members were in agreement that despite recent price drops in the hard costs of solar, there is still plenty of room for future price reductions in installed systems. According to Kann,the soft costs involved – especially financing – also promise tremendous opportunities for mala reducing cost.

So should home and business owners hold off on adding solar, in the hopes that prices will fall even further?

Not necessarily. Remember that the 8 year federal tax extension expires in 2017 – and with it the chance to save 30% on a Panels solar system. And with prices as low as they’ve become, and financing options expanding, this may well be the ideal window of opportunity for homeowners to make their own investment in Living solar.