Efforts across the state of California to make energy-efficient upgrades to homes and businesses have certainly paid off, as a new study reveals that the Golden State continues to lead the country in solar panel installations.

On March 14, GTM Research and the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) jointly released a year-in-review report detailing trends in photovoltaic (PV) and concentrating solar power (CSP) markets. According to the data, 2012 was a record-breaking year for the industry, with solar panel installations across the United States increasing 76 percent from 1,887 megawatts in 2011 to 3,313 megawatts in 2012.

“There were 16 million solar panels installed in the U.S. last year, and every one of these panels was bolted down by an American,” Rhone Resch, president and CEO of SEIA, said in a statement. “We’ve brought more new solar online in 2012 than in the three prior years combined.”

In California alone, the report shows that more than 1,000 megawatts of solar panels were implemented over the one-year period, making it the first state to set this impressive record. According to the San Jose Mercury News, the Golden State’s Renewable Portfolio Standard – one of the most ambitious in the country – requests that 33 percent of electricity come from renewable sources by 2020, and California is well on its way to accomplishing this.

If you live in the Bay Area and you’re interested in learning more about residential solar energy solutions, you may want to consider contacting West Coast Solar to see which options are available for you. Not only can this kind of energy-efficient upgrade help you reduce your carbon footprint, but it will also save you money each month on your utility bills.