A record number of U.S. homes went solar in the third quarter

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The largest number of American homes in history had solar panels installed on their rooftops in the third quarter of this year, according to a new report from the Solar Energy Industry Association and GTM Research. That record quarter delivered 31,000 new solar panel home installations, and means that the amount of solar panels installed on residential homes rose by 49 percent from the year earlier.

Austin's 's Pecan Street Project. Photo courtesy of Pecan Street Inc.

Austin’s ‘s Pecan Street Project. Photo courtesy of Pecan Street Inc.

Many of the individual solar panels installed in the U.S. are for projects owned by utilities and companies, not homeowners. For the third quarter it was no different. Together, between homes, companies and utilities, there were 930 MW worth of panels installed in the quarter (186 MW just for homes), and that represents the second largest quarter for U.S. solar panel installations ever.

The amount of solar panels installed in the U.S. this year could be large enough to surpass the amount installed in Germany — long the world solar leader — for the first time ever in 15 years. That’s also a reflection of the mature solar market that’s emerged in Germany. By the end of 2013, there could be 400,000 individual solar projects total in the U.S., and more than 10 GW worth of solar power capacity. The top state markets for solar panels are California, Arizona, North Carolina, Massachusetts and Nevada.

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